Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine practice that uses needles or other tools to stimulate specific points on the body. Acupuncture has been used for centuries to treat many conditions, including pain relief, muscle spasms, migraines and even cancer. There are two main types of acupuncture: Traditional (or “acupressural”) and Western (or “acupoints”). Both types of acupuncture have their benefits and risks.
The most common type of acupuncture involves inserting small metal objects called acupoints into specific locations on the body. These points are located along major meridians, which carry vital energy from one part of the body to another. For example, the point on your neck known as C6 runs through several meridian lines, including those that supply blood to your brain and heart.
These acupoints are usually placed on the skin directly over these meridian lines. They may also be inserted into muscles or joints. Most acupoints are made up of tiny metal needles, but some acupoints contain ceramic beads or pieces of glass. Acupuncture points are typically placed in the same direction as the flow of energy flows through them; therefore, they work best when they’re located near where energy is flowing most freely.
There are more than 2,000 recognized acupoints in the human body. While most acupoints are located on the arms and legs, others can be found on the face, tongue, torso, palms, or feet. The majority of acupoints cannot be felt through normal touch. They are usually located where bones meet, such as joints and muscles.
Many common ailments respond well to traditional acupuncture. For example, arthritis pain is commonly treated with traditional acupuncture. It may also be used to relieve pain caused by tension in muscles. Some people have also had success treating severe back pain and other types of persistent pain.
It’s important to note that some people experience side effects after receiving traditional acupuncture. These side effects range from bruising and soreness at the needle location to nosebleeds and fainting. Although rare, some people have also reported developing leukemia after receiving traditional acupuncture.
Acupoints work by stimulating the body’s natural painkillers and stress-relievers. Acupuncture can increase the amount of endorphins and encephalins (natural painkillers produced by the body), serotonin (a mood-lifting chemical) and dopamine (another mood-lifting chemical) in the body. Acupuncture can also lower the amount of cortisol (a stress hormone) in the body.
These beneficial effects can help relieve pain, improve mood and increase relaxation. Acupoints are typically used to treat conditions such as:
Fibromyalgia (muscle pain)
Although relatively safe, acupoints do have some risks. As with any invasive medical procedure, there is a very small chance of infection. There is also the possibility of bruising or bleeding (usually at the site of the needle insertion).
Some people may experience side effects after receiving acupressure. These side effects are usually minor and temporary, although they can be somewhat serious in rare cases. Some common side effects include bruising or soreness at the site of the needles, nosebleeds, and feelings of dizziness.
It’s also important to note that some people may experience a worsening of their condition immediately after receiving acupressure. This effect is rare and is typically only seen in cases of epilepsy. If you have epilepsy or suffer from seizures of any kind, tell your doctor before receiving traditional acupuncture.
Other Ways to Access Acupoints
While there are many different types of acupressure, the most common include:
Acupressure: In this method, pressure is applied to the skin overlying an acupoint with the ball of your finger or knuckle.
Acupuncture: Tiny needles are inserted into acupoints to access the energy meridians beneath the skin.
Shiatsu: Similar to acupressure, pressure is applied to the skin overlying an acupoint. The difference is that your fingers are used to apply pressure in a uniform motion mimicking that of thumb and forefinger.
While acupressure is generally safe, you should speak with your doctor before trying it.
How Acupuncture May Help Your Fibromyalgia
Acupuncture is a popular form of traditional Eastern medicine. It involves the insertion of thin needles into acupoints, which are points in your skin that correspond to various other parts of your body. The purpose of this is to allow a free flow of energy (or “qi,” pronounced “chee”) within the body. This process is thought to promote healing and improve health.
Acupuncture has been shown to reduce pain in some people. Certain points on the body will alleviate specific types of pain. For example, the point for eliminating chest pain is located at the center of the eyebrow. Acupuncture may also help restore the balance of energy in your body.
This might be useful for people with conditions like fibromyalgia (FM) and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), which are thought to be caused by a long-term energy deficit.
Acupuncture has been found to be most effective when used alongside other treatments. This is in line with traditional Eastern medicine, which views the body as a system that can only be treated as a whole.
The Needles Used in Acupuncture
Acupuncture might be a strange concept to someone not familiar with it. Despite this, the process is relatively safe and rarely has serious adverse effects. Acupuncture needles are much finer than those used for injections and do not necessarily cause any pain when inserted into your skin.
Sources & references used in this article:
Health benefits of cobblestone-mat walking: preliminary findings by F Li, P Harmer, NL Wilson… – Journal of Aging and …, 2003 – journals.humankinetics.com
Convertible acupressure treadmill belt and treadmill by J Osime – US Patent 9,039,579, 2015 – Google Patents
Helping your health with pointed pressure therapy by RE Bean – 1975 – pdfs.semanticscholar.org
Combination acupuncture/acupressure device and method of application by A Abramov – US Patent App. 11/212,968, 2006 – Google Patents
Auricular acupuncture versus sham acupuncture in the treatment of women who have insomnia by M Sjöling, M Rolleri, E Englund – The Journal of Alternative and …, 2008 – liebertpub.com
Silk Hats and Silk Lined Baseball Caps by S Hats – au.whitelotusbeauty.com