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WHAT A PATIENT MAY EXPECT FROM ACUPUNCTURE

BETTER ALL ROUND HEALTH

Acupuncture treatment usually results in a feeling of well being as acupuncture has a strong homeostatic effect. This means that the acupuncture restores the body to its normal state of good health. It balances the body's functioning and as the treatment proceeds, most patient’s report that they feel much better, calmer and are more energetic. They find that creaky joints, which have not moved well for years, become free and that they are able to resume their normal activities. Most patients treated with acupuncture report an improvement in their sleep. They say they are more relaxed and that they now sleep much better than before.

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As the body returns to its normal healthy state, the person starts to feel good. The body's hormonal balance returns to normal. Hormones like insulin, corticosteroids, thyroid hormone, pituitary hormones and sex hormones return towards their normal levels. As the blood levels of the sexual hormones normalise, many patients' report an improvement their libido, sex drive and sexual performance. Diabetic patient's may achieve a better control of their blood sugar levels and are often able to substantially reduce their dosage of insulin and other anti-diabetic drugs. The levels of cholesterol, triglycerides electrolytes and acid base balance all tend to return towards physiologically normal values.

The digestion and absorbtion of food improves as well, and the functioning of the intestines improves. Bowel irregularities like constipation and diahorhoea settle down.

Regular courses of acupuncture for homeostatic purposes help to balance the body restoring good health, and allowing the body to function well again. This is akin to sending a car for regular servicing. Taken regularly this treatment helps prevent aging and promotes regeneration of the body's tissues and organs.

QUICK RELIEF FROM PAIN

Acupuncture can give instantaneous relief in acute pain. For instance in a severe migraine, acute backache or a frozen shoulder that has been immobile for many months, the acupuncturist inserts acupuncture needles into one or two acupuncture points and stimulates them strongly. The normal method of performing acupuncture is not painful. The insertion of a needle is as painful as a mosquito bite. If the patient is in a hurry to become well, or is in very severe pain, then a more painful form of acupuncture using thicker needles is carried out which almost instantaneously eases the pain.

This form of treatment is often used for acute episodes of severe low backache and sciatica where the patient is in agony. The mechanism through which it works is that the needle causes pain at the place where it is inserted, and serves to completely blank out pain from the affected area.

When patients are advised acupuncture therapy they are often apprehensive, and wonder if it will help them. Acupuncture is an effective treatment for any type of pain, be it migraine, backache, an injury, or pain due to the spread of cancer. All types of pain, irrespective of the cause, can be alleviated with acupuncture.

After the pain and muscle spasms have eased, the affected area in the shoulder and the neck are mobilised. The pain caused by the insertion and stimulation of the needle is momentary and passes off within a few minutes while the relief induced by acupuncture is long lasting.

Most acupuncturists do not use the more painful forms of acupuncture because patients become afraid of the needles and drop out from treatment. A slow gentle treatment takes longer but has a higher compliance rate as patients continue treatment till they are cured.

DURATION OF TREATMENT

People often ask if acupuncture is a slow or a quick method of treatment. The duration of treatment depends upon how long the patient has had the illness. An illness, which has been there for a long time, takes a longer time to be cured as the disease process is well established. Once the pathological changes of tissue damage have occurred, the complete reversal of these changes takes a long time. It is unreasonable for a person to expect a disease, which he has had for ten to fifteen years, to disappear in a week.

A rough guide to the time taken for an illness to be cured, is about a month for each year you have had the illness, as the reversal of longstanding damage to the organs and joints takes time. Diabetes and treatment with corticosteroids significantly slow down the body's response to treatment with acupuncture. Such patients may take twice as long to respond to treatment.

IS ACUPUNCTURE EFFECTIVE FOR EVERYONE?

Acupuncture is effective in giving relief to over ninety percent of patients.

The speed of response to acupuncture varies from patient to patient and also depends on the skill and expertise of the acupunturist. Some patients respond very quickly and may need very little treatment to achieve the desired effect while others may take varying periods of time.

About 10 per cent of patients do not show any response to acupuncture.

DON’T STOP HALF WAY

Often the patient feels better with acupuncture and then decides to stop the treatment, because he is feeling well. This is unwise, even though acupuncture has eased the pain, the illness may take longer to be cured it is advisable to continue treatment till your acupuncturist advises that you have been cured. This is because pathological changes take time to be entirely reversed. If the treatment is followed through to its conclusion you are likely to be cured. If the treatment is stopped as soon as you start to feel better it is possible that the same illness may recur.