What is acupuncture?
It is one of the oldest treatment methods in the world. Acupuncture, an essential component of Chinese medicine, is applied by inserting very fine needles into strategic points on your body. Although it is especially used in pain treatment, it is also used as an adjunct treatment option for many acute and chronic diseases, stress management, weight loss, alcohol and smoking cessation.
According to traditional Chinese medicine; It is a technique that allows balancing the flow of energy or life force that is believed to flow through the pathways (meridians) in your body. People who specialize in acupuncture try to rebalance your energy flow by inserting needles at specific points along these meridians. In contrast, western experts view acupoints as places to stimulate nerves, muscles, and connective tissue.
How is acupuncture applied?
Before starting the procedure, the specialist may ask you questions about your general health condition, past health problems and current illness. Then, physical examination is performed, the places where the needles will be placed are determined and the procedure is started. The procedure is performed while you are sitting or lying down. You may need to remove your clothes depending on the region where the procedure will be applied. Needles are placed in certain body parts called acupuncture points. Usually 5 to 20 needles are used.
Acupuncture needles are specially prepared
The needles are disposable, sterilized, a few centimeters long, and fairly thin. They stay in the area where they are immersed for 20-30 minutes. During this time, the applicator may move the needle slightly, applying heat or light electricity to the needles. Generally, no pain is felt during the procedure, but if you feel pain, you should inform the specialist practitioner. 6 to 10 sessions are usually sufficient for acupuncture treatment.
How does acupuncture work?
Traditional Chinese medicine argues that health is the result of the balance of life force known as "qi" (ki) and the complementary ends of "yin" and "yang". Accordingly, disease is the result of an imbalance of forces. It is said that Qi passes through pathways (meridians) in the human body. These meridians and energy flows can be accessed from 350 acupuncture points in the body. It is said that placing needles at these points in appropriate combinations brings the energy flow to the proper balance.
There is no scientific evidence that meridians and acupuncture points exist. However, numerous studies show that acupuncture works in some situations. According to Western experts, acupuncture points are seen as places where nerves, muscles and connective tissues can be stimulated. The needle stimulation process increases blood flow while at the same time increasing the production of endorphins, which work as a pain reliever in the body.
According to the acupuncture philosophy, the body has hundreds or even thousands of acupuncture points, each affecting various organs, areas or body systems. In fact, as a result of CT scans in modern medicine, micro-vessel clustering points that coincide with these points in the body have been detected. Traditional Chinese medicine practitioners believe there are at least 2,000 acupuncture points on the body. The World Health Organization (WHO) prepared a report in 1991 describing 361 acupuncture points in the body.
According to Chinese medicine, there are nearly 2 thousand acupuncture points on the body.
Types of acupuncture
Many points on the body can be treated. It can be applied on the back, head, neck, arms, legs, hands and feet. With the procedure performed, the nerves on the body are stimulated and the signals generated here are transmitted to the brain. The signals perceived by the brain are evaluated and a response is delivered to the relevant organ. The aim is to balance the energy in the relevant regions.
In acupuncture philosophy, the ear is the most important part and is the mirror of the body. There is an acupuncture point for each organ on the ear. Therefore, acupuncture points in the ear are used alone or with the body in acupuncture treatment.
Benefits of acupuncture
It helps to relieve pain without medication.
When applied with pain medication, it prolongs the pain-free time.
It provides additional support to the treatment of acute and chronic diseases and speeds up recovery.
It is effective in protecting against diseases and increasing immunity.
It makes patients feel better mentally.
It can aid weight loss.
It provides additional support in alcohol and cigarette addiction treatments.
Conventional: It is the most common acupuncture method. It is a single-use process, sterilized before the procedure, with needles of various widths and lengths. Needles are placed in acupuncture points in the body and kept there for 20-30 minutes.
Acupressure: In this method, needles are not used, pressure is applied to acupuncture points.
Laser Acupuncture: In this method, laser is used instead of needle. Acupuncture points are stimulated with laser. It is an increasingly common technique.
Moxibustion: It is a method commonly used in the Far East. It is made by burning the plant called wormwood and holding it on the skin and stimulating the acupuncture points with heat.
Electro-Acupuncture: After the needles are attached to the points on the body or ear, electrical current is applied to the ends of these needles. Although it is said to be a more effective method, there is no scientific data to support this view.
There are many acupuncture techniques used today.
Acupuncture is good for which diseases?
Studies conducted in Germany have shown that acupuncture can help reduce tension headaches and migraine pains.
Diseases supported by scientific evidence in acupuncture treatment
Allergic rhinitis, Osteoarthritis, Chronic neck, back, waist and knee pain, High and low blood pressure,
Insomnia (insomnia), Menstrual pain, Headache and migraine, Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
Stroke, Sprains and some traumas, Nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy
Some stomach disorders including peptic ulcer, Dysentery, Facial pain
Morning sickness, Rheumatoid arthritis, Sciatica, Toothache, Artificial pain at birth
Diseases Supported by Limited Scientific Evidence
Other diseases that the World Health Organization (WHO) stated that acupuncture can help but need more evidence are:
Fibromyalgia, Neuralgia, Substance, tobacco and alcohol addiction, Spine pain, Stiff neck
Vascular dementia, Whooping cough, Tourette's syndrome, WHO suggest that acupuncture can help treat many infections such as urinary tract infections and epidemic hemorrhagic fever.
Who can not be applied acupuncture?
Those with bleeding disorders: Acupuncture should be avoided in diseases where blood clotting is problematic.
Those who use blood thinners: The procedure may have many risks in patients who have to use blood thinners as a result of various ailments.
Patients with pacemakers: Small electrical pulses can be applied to needles. In this case, the pacemaker can be prevented from working.
Pregnant Women: There is a possibility that acupuncture may cause premature birth.
What are the side effects of acupuncture?
The side effects of acupuncture usually result from non-sterile needles or an inadequate practitioner. It is necessary to research well while making a decision about the clinic and the specialist.
Mild side effects of acupuncture:
Pain, bleeding, or bruising where the needles pierce
Numbness where the needles pierce
Feeling dizzy or sick
More severe side effects:
Worsening of existing diseases
Infection in punctured areas
Perforation in organs located close to the skin
Central nervous system and its damage
Slimming with acupuncture
Losing weight is possible with a holistic approach. You can lose weight thanks to diet and lifestyle changes. When you show a strong will and with the help of acupuncture applications, weight loss can be easier. Acupuncture is thought to have an effect on weight loss. According to researches, it has been shown that increasing endorphins after the procedure help to lose weight by causing fat burning.
In addition, increasing serotonin and endorphin hormone levels provide peace and calmness to people trying to lose weight. The feeling of restlessness caused by restriction of eating will be suppressed in this way.
Quitting smoking with acupuncture
The acupuncture procedure has effects on the whole body. There are various research results that it may be especially important in addiction treatments. It reduces the intense stress and nicotine cravings that occur in the first periods when individuals with cigarette addiction stop their habits. It helps individuals to quit smoking more comfortably. Thanks to its benefits for body balance, it speeds up nicotine detox.
Acupuncture session prices can vary according to the clinic and the competence of the specialist. However, an average of 1 acupuncture session is between 50 TL and 100 TL.
Home acupuncture - Acupressure
First of all, acupuncture is not a method that can be applied at home without training. It contains complex protocols that take a long time to learn in theory and practice. However, there is a home method similar to acupuncture:
Acupressure is a method that you can perform by applying pressure to acupuncture points with your fingers without using needles.
For stress: The earlobes are a very sensitive part of the body, but they are also firm and a perfect site for acupuncture. When you feel tense or restless, hold your earlobes with the second knuckle of your index finger and slowly but firmly pull them down. Breathe deeply and wait for a few minutes, and you will soon find yourself feeling better.
For memory: You can practice acupressure when trying to remember important information such as where you left your keys or the name of your spouse's father. Press and hold for a while on your forehead, just above your eyebrow, in line with your pupil. You will remember things you forgot more easily.
For nausea: You can get rid of the nausea you experience for any reason by applying acupressure to your wrist. Divide your forearm in half to determine the right area to apply compression, divide the half that is close to the wrist into 3, and apply pressure to the part that is close to the wrist from 3 parts for 1-2 minutes.
For menstrual pains: Find the area four fingers above your ankle and take it for 1-2 minutes. Massage up. Do not use this method if you are pregnant.
For head, neck, tooth and face pain: Massage the area between your thumb and index finger for 1 minute.
For nasal and sinus congestion: Gently massage between your eyebrows for 1-2 minutes. You can do this several times a week.