What is medical acupuncture?
Acupuncture is an ancient form of treatment that originated in China where it is used in about 4,000 years. In Sweden, acupuncture has been used by a licensed health professionals since 1984, when it was approved as a treatment by the National Board for the treatment of painful conditions. Nowadays, the method can also be used in disease states where there is scientific evidence and proven experience.
How does acupuncture work?
The treatment of pain can have effects in different parts of the body. Acupuncture activate our body’s own pain-inhibiting system in a similar way as with physical exercise. Increased levels of the substance endorphin, among other things, measured both after treatment with both acupuncture and physical exercise. Treatment with acupuncture may also affect muscle tension and increased level of alertness, which is commonly found in different pain conditions. Acupuncture does reducing the displeasure associated with the pain. In the area that the needles are placed, you will get a better blood circulation, thereby improving the healing capacity of the treatment.
Sometimes supplemented treatment with electrical stimulation of a few needle points. This can lead to enhanced efficacy of the treatment.
Acupuncture needles used are disposable needles which are very thin (typically 0.2 to 0.4 mm thick) and sterile packaged . The needles can be placed in the area where you have pain, but can also be placed in the points below the elbow and knee to enhance performance the local location pins.
After each needle are insurted the therapist are stimulating each needle by rotating it back and forth to induce a specific needle sensation, termed Deqi. Deqi may feel different at different needle points but is often described as dull, aching, tingling, or as soreness or heaviness. Deqi experience will subside after needle stimulation and should therefore not persist between needle stimulation. The Deqi feeling are separated from the experience that the needling provides.
What effects can be achieved?
Some of the effects can be seen immediately after a treatment, but it may take up to 6-8 treatments before a more pronounced effect can be experienced. To have a lasting effect, treatment should be repeated regularly with 1-3 sessions per week. The total number of treatments usually range between 8 and 12. Initially, treatment is often more intense toward the end of the treatment period are depleted. Each session usually lasts between 20 and 40 minutes.
What side effects are there?
Acupuncture is a very safe treatment with few side effects. After the first few treatments, you can respond with increased fatigue. This is normal and mostly good when it can affect sleep positively. Do not drive longer distances after the first treatments. Also remember to limit your intake of alcohol these days. Some individuals react instead with increased energy and you should then think about taking it slow because otherwise you can aggravate your pain.
A bruise may occur due to puncture of a smaller vessel but is harmless and temporary. You may also feel the slight dizziness and nausea after treatment. This is usually in a few hours. Serious side effects such as puncture of the lung, rare occurrence. If you’ve got needles in the chest and after treatment and feel that you have breathing difficulties, received newly cough, you should immediately contact an emergency room and where to announce that you receive treatment with acupuncture. The condition is acute, if not fatal, but treatment needs to be instituted.
If you have questions about your acupuncture treatment – do not hesitate to ask your health care provider.