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By Dr Anjali Sharma
1.

What is acupuncture?

2.

How is it done?

3.

How successful is acupuncture?

4.

Is it scientific?

5.

What all it can treat?

6.

Is it painful?

7.

Is it safe? Are needles sterile?

8.

How many sessions are required?

9.

Are there any side effects?

10.

What will happen to my other treatment? Do I need to stop other medicines?

   
Q1.

What is acupuncture?

A.

Acupuncture is a drugless treatment which is based on Traditional Chinese Medicine TCM. It is said to be about 3000 years old and today there are about three million practitioners worldwide. According to TCM, our health depends on free flow of vital energy in body and diseases are due to disorder in body’s vital energy called Qi and body’s five elements. This vital energy flows in certain channels in body which are called meridians. Acupuncture treats pain and diseases by correcting this energy & element imbalance and by stimulating body’s natural healing mechanism.

Q2.

How is it done?

A.

First part is to diagnose the sickness according to TCM. This requires complete history of sickness and its clinical presentation. Investigations are also helpful in making correct diagnosis. Once diagnosed, a treatment schedule is designed. According to TCM, the imbalance in energy and elements can be corrected by stimulation or sedation of some specific points called acupoints. This is done by techniques like needling, cupping or moxibustion.

Q3.

How successful is acupuncture?

A.

In the hands of a good acupuncture therapist, it is able to give wonderful results. The results are quick and significant even in very severe forms of pain and sickness. Many conditions which are termed hopeless by other treatments have found good help in acupuncture. For example acupuncture has been shown to improve vision in cases of retinitis pigmentosa and glaucoma. Similarly good results in cases of paralysis, parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, infertility, addictions, chronic painful conditions like sciatica backache etc have proved how successful it is in helping people. This is the reason it is so popular and in demand all over the world.

Q4.

Is it scientific?

A.

Acupuncture has been subjected to research has been proved. Only after this many important international organizations like American Medical Association, World Health Organization WHO, National Institute of Health USA accepted and recommended acupuncture as effective therapy. Neuroimaging studies like with MRI & PET scans have shown the positive effect of acupuncture on brain.

Q5.

What all it can treat?

A.

Acupuncture is a complete and holistic therapy. Its effects are on full body including both physical and psychological aspects. It is suitable in both acute and chronic complaints. See section on acupuncture for conditions it can help.

Q6.

Is it painful?

A.

Acupuncture is not painful if done by well trained and skillful acupuncturist. The sensation is less than mosquito bite. In some cases there is mild sensation of fullness or soreness which settles automatically. Unlike injection needles, acupuncture needles are very fine which does not hurt. On the contrary acupuncture gives a very relaxing sensation and that is the reason why it is so popular worldwide.

Q7.

Is it safe? Are needles sterile?

A.

It is totally safe. In many research studies it has been shown to be free from any adverse effect. In one statement it was stated to be safer than conventional medicine. Needles used are 100 % sterile and are never reused. We use international brand silver / gold needles and we never reuse any needle even on same person.

Q8.

How many sessions are required?

A.

Like any other treatment acupuncture treatment also depends on factors like age of patient, health status of patient, type and condition of sickness, body part affected etc. A recent ailment will require fewer sessions where as a chronic one will require more sessions. This is explained during initial consultation following the diagnosis of ailment.

Q9.

Are there any side effects?

A.

As mentioned, acupuncture is totally safe from adverse effects when done correctly by trained and skillful therapist. There are no side effects observed. In some patients a minor sensation of fullness or soreness may be there which too gets settled automatically. The only ‘side effect’ people observe is a relaxed, energetic and calm feeling.

Q10.

What will happen to my other treatment? Do I need to stop other medicines?

A.

It is not advisable to interfere with other treatment that you might be taking but in cases like diabetes, hypertension you might be required to reduce dosage of medicine in due course of time. This is due to good effect of acupuncture. As acupuncture starts showing its positive effect on body, you need less medicine to keep your blood sugar or blood pressure stable. In fact in many cases which were not responding to medicine, after acupuncture treatment people start responding to medicines. This is because of improvement in body immunity and various body systems like neurological & hormonal system.

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