In Korean wellness, acupuncture is a common method for balancing the body’s Qi. In Traditional Eastern Medicine, illness and pain are a result of disrupted Qi, which makes acupuncture a critical tool for prevention and healing. The ancient practice involves inserting needles into strategic points on the body. By inserting needles into specific spots, acupuncturists are clearing stagnant energy and revitalizing the body’s Qi. “What we like to say in Chinese medicine is that if Qi is flowing smoothly in the body, there are no ailments,” explains Acupuncturist Dr. Debbie Kung.
What It Helps
Acupuncture is used to relieve a variety of illnesses and health conditions that are often a result of stress. “From a Western medicine standpoint, acupuncture helps to lower cortisol levels, the stress hormone. Once the stress hormone is lowered, the body isn’t in a state of inflammation so it can start healing itself,” Dr. Kung said. As a result of decreasing stress, acupuncture helps alleviate headaches, body pain and tension, menstrual cramps as well as improve the immune system and increase energy levels.
If working with a certified acupuncture practitioner, the risks of acupuncture are extremely low. The most common side effects include pain and bleeding from acupuncture needles. Other side effects can include skin rashes, allergic reactions, bruising, pain and dizziness, but are all very rare.
What to Expect
At the start of your acupuncture appointment, your practitioner will ask about your medical history, symptoms and your lifestyle. They will also most likely examine the shape and coating of your tongue along with the rhythm and quality of your pulse. This is to determine the specific type of acupuncture treatment that is best for you and the planned site on your body.
The acupuncturist will insert the needles into various depths at specific acupuncture points and leave them in for 5 to 30 minutes based on your treatment. Many individuals are concerned about experiencing pain during acupuncture, but the needles are very thin, making them nearly unnoticeable. During a typical session, between 5 and 20 needles can be used. Feeling relaxed and rejuvenated is common immediately following an acupuncture treatment.
Choosing a Practitioner
Asking your healthcare provider or trusted friends for recommendations can be very helpful in choosing a qualified practitioner. It is also important to check your practitioner’s training and credentials. In most states, acupuncturists are required to pass an exam by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.
Written by Grace Maeda