Questions to Ask Regarding Acupuncture Part One

Before you even consider starting acupuncture treatments it is essential to ask some basic questions and make sure you completely understand all of the answers before you consider the practice even further. Let’s look at some very practical questions and the subsequent answers that everyone must learn about acupuncture in order to decide if it is right for them or not.

How widely used in acupuncture in the United States?

Acupuncture as a form of alternative medicine has grown by leaps and bounds in the United States over the past 20 years. It is now widely practiced by many doctors of a variety of disciplines including physicians, dentists, physiotherapists, massage therapists and others. Many have incorporated acupuncture as a part of their medical practices. In that way acupuncture is well on its way to becoming a mainstream type of medical treatment, working in tandem with modern Western medicine. According to a study conducted in the year 2002 by the National Health Interview Survey (the largest study of its kind related to alternative medicine), approximately 8.2 million adults in the United States had made use of the practice of acupuncture in that year alone and an estimated 2.1 million adults had made use of acupuncture in 2001.

What does a treatment of acupuncture feel like and will it cause a great deal of pain?

Acupuncture needles are basically three things- they are practically as thin as a piece of hair; they are solid and they are metallic. Everyone’s experience of acupuncture is not the exact same however most individuals report experiencing little if any pain as the needles are being placed in the skin. It is important to note that the needles used for acupuncture are not inserted very far into the skin. It is not the same as having a blood test or getting a shot. Some individuals report feeling very energized during their acupuncture treatments while others report feelings of calm and relaxation. Acupuncture is a very individual kind of experience. Soreness and slight pain can sometimes occur during an acupuncture treatment. This can often be minimized or alleviated all together if you find a practitioner who is qualified and has been doing acupuncture for a lengthy period of time.

Is acupuncture deemed a safe practice or not?

In 1996 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave approval for needles to be used in the practice of acupuncture by those who are licensed to practice it. The FDA states that only sterile non-toxic needles are allowed to be used and that they must be aptly labelled for single use by those qualified to use them. Very few complaints have been received by the FDA regarding acupuncture needles and the complications that do occur usually result from improper delivery of the treatments or needles that were not sterilized properly. A new set of disposable needles should always be used for new patients and each should be taken from a sealed package. The skin should always be swabbed with some form of disinfectant or alcohol before needles make contact with the skin. If acupuncture is not done properly it can cause serious damage to the human body including punctured organs and a host of infections.