NoBS Acupuncture Basics
Updated: Sep 23, 2020
Have you ever seen a picture of someone with a bunch of needles in their face and wondered what kind of torture was being applied? It may seem odd if you’ve never heard of acupuncture, but it is actually an ancient traditional Chinese medicine technique.
What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is the traditional Chinese medicine practice of inserting thin needles through the skin at specific points on the body said to balance the flow of energy through it, otherwise known as qi. The acupuncturist inserts the needles into specific points along ‘meridian’ pathways which affect different parts of the body.
Western medicine believes that the acupuncture points that Chinese medicine defines along ‘meridian’ pathways are actually points that stimulate nerves, muscles and connective tissues in specific ways to boost your body’s natural pain management.
Why get acupuncture?
The main benefits of acupuncture that have been studied and proven to be effective involve helping to relieve chronic pain – things like back and neck pain, osteoarthritis, shoulder pain, or chronic headache including migraines. Additional benefits include helping to resolve infertility issues and reducing stress.
Nicole's personal acupuncture experience
I specifically have experienced the benefits of boosting fertility through acupuncture. When my husband and I were first considering trying to have a baby, I went to get checked by my OB-gyn at the time. My periods have always been a bit sporadic, so she did some blood work to check my hormone levels and diagnosed me with PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome). I was told by some friends that PCOS can cause fertility issues, and that acupuncture was something that was supposed to help. So I went to see an acupuncturist when we were ready to take the plunge into parenthood, and through weekly appointments and an herbal supplement plan, I was pregnant within two months. It’s also been documented that those who are utilizing IVF to get pregnant and supplementing those treatments with acupuncture have found an increased success rate of conceiving.
How to get started with acupunture
If any of this sounds like something that might be useful for you, the best way to get started is to try it out. Make sure that the acupuncturist that you choose is a licensed practitioner – the most common licensing is L.Ac., which means the practitioner has obtained a degree or diploma from an ACAOM-accredited college and has passed the national certification exam. To start your search, you can research practitioners in your area online or through your insurance plan. Also, consider asking about the number of treatments required and cost of each. Some progressive insurance plans will cover treatments, but many do not. Finally, we highly recommend calling to speak with the acupuncturist before booking an appointment to make sure you feel comfortable with the practitioner. Your acupuncturist will be asking various questions, some different from what we are often used to being asked by a Western Medicine doctor, so you want to feel at ease when speaking to your acupuncturist.
Not yet convinced? To learn more before giving it a shot, check out our Podcast Episode 3: Acupuncture is Like Going to a Doctor to hear more from our guest expert, Grainne McKeown, L.Ac..
Want to learn more about acupuncture? Check out:
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) - Acupuncture Introduction
NCCIH - Acupuncture Research