Like most traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture Bellingham has been around for thousands of years and people who have tried it can attest to the great success for treating and healing multiple ailments. Since its inception in the United States, few reports of harmful side effects have been reported to the FDA, and licensed acupuncturists continue to practice on satisfied customers. But, the thought of needles being inserted is a scary thing to many westernized people, and many people who could benefit from treatment continue to shy away from going because they are unfamiliar and afraid of the unknown.

Acupuncture is the insertion of hair-thin filiform needles in key parts of the body that are believed to unblock pathways known as meridians to allow the flow of qi, or vital energy. It is believed that pain comes from the body being in an imbalanced state, and treating the blockages treats the imbalance through the flow of vital energy. While this theory does not jive with modern medicine, studies have been done that led the medical community to realize that acupuncture has definite health benefits and few side effects or complications. Many modern medical scientists and physicians believe that acupuncture works through stimulating nerves, muscles and connective tissue to increase blood flow and stimulate the body’s defenses. Although this list of what acupuncture can possibly treat is very long, some of the most common reasons people receive acupuncture are muscle pain, joint pain, gastrointestinal issues, respiratory problems, injuries, fibromyalgia, arthritis, menstrual problems, and headaches.

Acupuncture is associated with a holistic approach to treatment, meaning an acupuncturist will treat many ailments to get the best outcome for the whole body. So, before treatment, the acupuncturist will ask a series of questions to assess how your body and mind function so as to best treat underlying issues. The qualified acupuncturist will insert sterile, pre-packaged needles into areas that correspond to treating the problems. Most people experience little to no pain from the process, but sometimes when the needles hit the correct depth, a deep aching sensation can be experienced. Some people feel energized by the process, and many experience relaxation. The acupuncturist will leave the patient for a time to allow deeper relaxation, and then return to remove the needles. Some acupuncture sessions are followed by a brief massage by the acupuncturist to further increase blood flow to the areas treated. A series of treatments are usually necessary to get the best outcome.

Things to Consider

There are many things to consider when deciding upon acupuncture as a method of treatment. Here are a few things to make sure you know beforehand.

  • Is your acupuncturist licensed? A licensed acupuncturist will have to follow the safest standards of care, including placement of needles in only safe areas, and utilization of only needles that have not been used on previous patients. Ask about qualifications before booking an appointment.
  • Make sure you are not taking any blood thinners, and always inform the acupuncturist of any and all medications you take.
  • Is acupuncture covered by your insurance? Some insurance cover the process, some give a discount, and many do not cover the process at all, leaving the patient to assume full financial responsibility.
  • If you have a bleeding disorder, acupuncture may not be for you.
  • Discuss the process with your medical doctor before treatment. Most of the time, there will be no issues, but for some people there might be. Also, your primary care physician might be able to adjust his or her treatment in accordance with the acupuncture for maximum benefits. Many physicians find acupuncture to be a great complement to their treatment regimens.