In Western medicine, which is much more common to Americans,
acupuncture points are viewed as places to stimulate nerves, muscles, and
connective tissue. This stimulation boosts the activity of the body’s natural
painkillers and increases blood flow to certain parts of the body.
Sounds dangerous, doesn’t it? Actually, the risks associated
with acupuncture are very low. Some
possible side effects and complications include soreness, organ injury, and
infections. After the session, you might experience some soreness and minor
bleeding or bruising at the sites of needle entry. Organ injury is extremely
rare, but could occur if the needles are pushed in too deeply. Likewise,
infections are also rare, as licensed acupuncture practitioners are required to
use sterile, disposable needles.
Why is acupuncture done? Typically, acupuncture is used as a
method of pain relief. This pain can be associated with a number of different
things, including headaches and migraines, cancer, low back pain, menstrual
cramps, and arthritis.
No special preparation is necessary for acupuncture. A typical
treatment plan for a single complaint involves 6–12 half hour treatments,
scheduled over 2–3 months. During the treatment, you will experience needle
insertion, manipulation, and removal. The needles are very thin, so insertion
usually causes very little discomfort. However, a deep, aching sensation may be
felt when a needle reaches the correct depth. Your practitioner may also move
or twirl the needles after they have been placed, or he/she might apply heat to
the needles. The needles usually remain in place for 10–20 minutes while you
lie still and relax. Upon removal, you should not feel any sensation or
discomfort. Feelings after treatment depend solely on the individual. Some
people feel relaxed, others feel energized, and some do not respond to the
treatment at all.
There are many opportunities for acupuncture in La Crosse. Although
research shows mixed results, this treatment might be a good alternative to
prescription pain pills. It can be relatively inexpensive and carries with it
few side effects, so it is a good option to try to achieve pain relief.