Acupuncture is a form of traditional Chinese medicine that involves inserting thin needles into specific points on the body. Some of the potential benefits of acupuncture include:
Pain relief: Acupuncture can be an effective treatment for chronic pain, such as back pain, neck pain, and osteoarthritis.
Stress reduction: Acupuncture has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety levels, which can help improve overall well-being.
Improved sleep: Acupuncture may help improve sleep quality and duration for people with insomnia.
Reduced inflammation: Acupuncture may help reduce inflammation in the body, which can be beneficial for people with conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis.
Improved digestion: Acupuncture can help improve digestion and reduce symptoms such as bloating, constipation, and diarrhea.
Headache relief: Acupuncture has been shown to be an effective treatment for tension headaches and migraines.
Electrical stimulation is sometimes used in conjunction with acupuncture needles to enhance the therapeutic effects of acupuncture. The electrical stimulation is typically applied using a device that sends a small electrical current through the needles. This technique is known as electroacupuncture.
There is some evidence to suggest that electroacupuncture may be more effective than traditional acupuncture for certain conditions, such as chronic pain, nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy, and urinary incontinence. Electroacupuncture may also help improve muscle strength and reduce spasticity in people with certain neurological conditions, such as stroke or spinal cord injury.
The mechanism by which electroacupuncture may improve outcomes is not entirely understood, but it is thought to increase the release of endorphins, which are natural pain-relieving chemicals in the body. It may also help modulate the activity of the nervous system and promote circulation.
Acupuncture is generally considered to be a safe procedure when performed by a licensed and qualified acupuncturist. However, there are certain circumstances when acupuncture may be contraindicated, meaning that it should not be performed. Some of these include:
Bleeding disorders: Acupuncture involves the insertion of needles into the skin, which can increase the risk of bleeding. If a person has a bleeding disorder, such as hemophilia, acupuncture may be contraindicated.
Pregnancy: Some acupuncture points may stimulate uterine contractions, which can be dangerous during pregnancy. Acupuncture should only be performed by a licensed acupuncturist who has experience in treating pregnant women.
Pacemakers: The electrical stimulation used in electroacupuncture can interfere with pacemaker function, so electroacupuncture should be avoided in people with pacemakers.
Skin infections: Acupuncture involves the insertion of needles into the skin, which can increase the risk of infection. If a person has a skin infection at the site of the proposed acupuncture treatment, the treatment should be postponed until the infection has cleared.
Severe mental health conditions: Acupuncture may not be suitable for people with severe mental health conditions, such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, as it may exacerbate symptoms.
Certain medications: Some medications, such as blood thinners, may increase the risk of bleeding during acupuncture, so caution should be exercised if a person is taking these medications.
As a licensed Naturopathic Physician, Dr. Santora has many years of experience using both acupuncture and electroacupuncture to treat a wide variety of medical conditions. If you think that you might benefit from acupuncture, or would like to discuss any other forms of treatment, please give us a call at 623-925-2722.