Unlocking the Healing Powers of Acupuncture: Benefits, Risks, and Health Coverage Explained

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a therapeutic technique that entails the precise placement of extremely thin needles into the skin at specific locations across the body. As a fundamental aspect of traditional Eastern medicine, Acupuncture chiefly focuses on alleviating pain. Nonetheless, it is gaining popularity for its advantageous effects on overall well-being and stress management.

How Does Acupuncture Work?

In line with the principles of conventional medicine, Acupuncture focuses on re-establishing the harmonious movement of energy, referred to as chi or qi, that traverses the body’s channels or meridians. By inserting needles at designated points on these meridians, therapists aim to recalibrate the energy distribution within the body.

This procedure can prompt the body to discharge natural substances, such as endorphins (the body’s inherent analgesics) and neurotransmitters (compounds that regulate nerve signals), which may contribute to the relief of diverse ailments and manifestations.

What Are the Conditions that Acupuncture Can Help Treat?

Acupuncture is a widely utilized technique frequently used to mitigate discomfort related to a variety of illnesses and ailments. Below are some of the most prevalent conditions that can be addressed through Acupuncture:

  • Depression and anxiety

  • Cancer treatment side effects

  • Migraines

  • Infertility

  • Seasonal Allergies

  • Fibromyalgia

  • Menstrual cramps, hot flashes (from menopause and breast cancer)

  • Nerve issues such as sciatica, Bell’s Palsy, and neuropathy

  • Labor pain and pregnancy discomfort

  • Muscle pain, including lower back, shoulder, neck, knee, elbow, jaw, and face

  • Inflammation in the joints, such as arthritis

  • Respiratory disorders

  • Sports Injuries

  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome

  • Immune System Issues

  • Repetitive Strain Injury

Can Acupuncture Treatment Pose Risks?

Acupuncture is deemed a safe therapy choice when performed by a qualified and accredited specialist. However, minor adverse reactions may occur, including tenderness, slight bleeding, or discoloration at the needle insertion sites. To maintain safety and reduce infection risks, it is crucial for professionals to consistently utilize sterile, one-time-use, disposable needles. Nonetheless, Acupuncture may not be appropriate for everyone, so discussing it with a healthcare professional prior to undertaking treatment is essential.

What Happens During an Acupuncture Treatment?


An acupuncturist adopts a holistic approach to determine the most appropriate therapy for your health issues. They might inquire about any pain, symptoms, habits, and lifestyle choices. Additionally, they may examine your tongue, facial features, and wrist pulse to better understand your health status.

Acupuncture sessions typically last between 20 to 45 minutes, though they can occasionally be shorter. The necessary frequency and the total number of sessions depend on the nature and severity of the condition being treated. It is common for patients to be advised to attend 1 to 3 sessions weekly.

Acupuncture points can be found all over the body and may be located some distance from the area experiencing pain or discomfort. Your acupuncturist will let you know the general location where the treatment will be administered.

Pre Treatment

Depending on the specific Acupuncture points targeted for treatment, you may be required to disrobe and wear a provided clinic gown. Procedures can be performed while you are either sitting or reclining.

Inserting the Needles

Your healthcare professional will place slender acupuncture needles at specific locations on your body. These needles are so fine that they typically only induce minor discomforts, like a tingling feeling or a mild ache. Some individuals may not even notice the insertion of the needles.

Manipulating the Needles

Typically, the specialist employs around 10 or more needles during treatment. Upon reaching the proper depth, a needle might elicit a slight aching feeling. After positioning the needles, the acupuncturist may gently adjust or rotate them and, in certain instances, introduce heat or low-intensity electrical stimulation.

Retaining the Needles

The duration of needle retention can vary depending on the specific treatment, ranging from 10 to 40 minutes. But typically, needles are left in place for about 20 minutes while you rest and relax.

Withdrawing the Needles

Typically, minimal or no discomfort is experienced during the removal of the needles.

Post Treatment

After an acupuncture treatment, people may feel varying effects, such as a sense of calm and relaxation or increased energy levels. Taking it easy for a day or two following treatment is recommended to allow the body to fully adjust and benefit from the session. Enjoy it.

How Frequently Should I Receive Acupuncture Treatment?

The frequency of acupuncture treatments and the number of sessions required to achieve optimal results will depend on the severity and nature of your condition and how your body responds. Your acupuncturist will advise you on a personalized treatment schedule. However, it is important to note that the full benefits may not be immediately apparent after just a session or two. So, it is best to stick with your treatment plan. Should your symptoms fail to show progress within several weeks, it could be appropriate to consider alternative treatment approaches.

Can Acupuncture Treatments be Covered by Health Insurance or Medicare?

Health insurance policies display significant variation in their coverage for Acupuncture. While certain policies include Acupuncture benefits, others might exclude them. Presently, Medicare may provide Acupuncture coverage for conditions like chronic low-back pain, with potential limitations on the number of covered treatments. To obtain accurate information about coverage and the number of treatments included in your plan, it is best to consult your acupuncturist and health insurance provider.

Acupuncture is a form of alternative medicine used for centuries to treat various conditions. It is a time-tested practice increasingly recognized for its many health benefits. While it may not suit everyone, many have found it a safe and effective treatment option. Working with a trusted Acupuncture clinic in your community is vital to developing an effective care plan, as well as having a helping hand in navigating any concerns with health coverage.

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