Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese practice that has been used for centuries to support mental, emotional, and physical health. With its growing popularity as a way to improve mental wellness, many people are now considering acupuncture for their own needs. Sherief Abu Moustafa shares what to expect for those anticipating their first session with an acupuncturist.
Origins Of Acupuncture
Acupuncture involves the insertion of very thin needles into specific points in the body, known as acupoints. The needles are made of stainless steel and very thin—about the size of human hair. By stimulating the release of endorphins and other natural painkillers, acupuncture can help relieve stress and promote relaxation. It has also effectively treated ailments such as headaches, joint pain, digestive issues, and allergies.
The origins of acupuncture are steeped in tradition and lore. In Chinese medicine, practitioners believe energy flows through the body via channels known as “meridians.” Acupuncturists use needles to break up blockages or stimulate specific points along these meridians to bring balance and harmony back into the body. In ancient times, acupuncture was considered a sacred practice that shamans administered.
Modern acupuncture practices have come a long way from their origins as sacred practices administered by shamans. Today, acupuncture has evolved into a scientific and evidence-based approach recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) as an effective form of traditional medicine. Typically, a licensed acupuncturist administers acupuncture treatments in a clinical setting.
One of the most significant changes in modern acupuncture is the shift from being used primarily for pain relief to being used to treat a wide range of physical and mental health conditions. In addition to alleviating pain, acupuncture has been found to be effective in treating allergies, digestive issues, headaches, and joint pain. It has also been shown to help reduce stress and promote relaxation by stimulating the release of endorphins and other natural painkillers.
Today, acupuncture treatments are administered by licensed acupuncturists in a clinical setting, often in conjunction with other forms of traditional and Western medicine, to provide patients with the most effective, holistic care possible. As a result, acupuncture has become increasingly accepted by medical professionals in both mainstream and alternative health contexts.
How Acupuncture Impacts Mental Health
Acupuncture can be used to treat a variety of mental health concerns, including anxiety, depression, and chronic stress. Research has found that acupuncture may help reduce cortisol levels, improving mood and relaxation. Cortisol is a hormone released by the adrenal glands when we are stressed, and high cortisol levels can lead to increased anxiety, fatigue, and depression. By reducing cortisol levels through acupuncture, many people have found relief from their mental health concerns.
Acupuncture is also known to help with insomnia, which various factors can cause, such as stress, pain, anxiety, and depression. By stimulating acupoints that correspond to these issues, acupuncture can have a calming effect on the body and mind. It can improve sleep quality and an overall sense of mental well-being. Other severe disorders, such as PTSD and postpartum depression, can also benefit from acupuncture treatments.
Getting Ready For Your First Session
Before your first session, preparing is crucial. First, ensure you are relaxed and comfortable with making the treatment effective. Wear loose-fitting clothing and avoid caffeine or alcohol before your appointment. It’s also helpful to write down any questions or concerns you have so that they can be addressed during the session.
When you arrive, your acupuncturist will ask questions about your current health and any symptoms you may be experiencing. This information is vital to identify the best treatment plan for your needs. Being honest about your health and any medications or supplements will help ensure the best possible results and prevent adverse reactions.
What Happens During An Acupuncture Session
During the session, the practitioner will insert needles into specific points on your body. You may feel a slight pinch or pressure when the needles are inserted. The sensation should not be painful, but let your acupuncturist know if it becomes uncomfortable at any time. After the needles are inserted, your practitioner may use heat or electrical stimulation to enhance the effects of the treatment further. They may also supplement the treatment with other modalities like cupping or massage.
At the end of the session, your acupuncturist will remove the needles and encourage you to rest for a few minutes before getting up. They may also provide recommendations for at-home care, such as taking herbs, meditation, or other relaxation techniques. After the session, you may feel relaxed and energized. Some people experience an immediate benefit from acupuncture, while others find that results accumulate over time with continued treatments.
Sherief Abu Moustafa believes acupuncture is a safe and effective treatment for various physical, emotional, and mental health issues. With its long history of proven results and minimal side effects, it’s easy to see why more and more people are turning to this ancient healing practice. If you’re looking for an alternative form of healthcare, consider talking to your doctor or acupuncturist about the potential benefits of acupuncture. With the right practitioner, you can find relief and healing for various issues.