Acupuncture is used as an alternative therapy to relieve different types of pain.
HOW IS IT DONE? Needles are inserted for a couple of seconds and then are left in place for about twenty minutes.
HOW DOES IT FEEL? Acupuncture uses needles but they are not the same as the ones used to give injections and for blood tests. Unlike those needles, these are solid and much finer. While these needles are being used, most people generally experience a tingling or a dull sensation.
WHAT CAN IT HELP AGAINST? These days, acupuncture is used to treat a large number of conditions -- like anxiety, depression, fibrositis, high blood pressure, menstrual problems, ulcers, migraines, arthritis, and rheumatism. It is also used to help people with addiction, with smoking, alcohol or drugs.
IS IT EFFECTIVE? The jury's still out on this one as there is no conclusive scientific evidence to prove its benefits. However this is largely due to the difficulty in designing an experiment to study its benefits. But many people have found it to be useful in relieving certain kinds of pain.
I've never done acupuncture and since I loathe needles, I am loathe to try. But I've heard such good things from people who have in fact done it. What are things you should look for in terms of sanitization? Do they pull out needles from packages like the doctors? And seriously - does it hurt?
In terms of cleanliness, I think all acupuncture establishments have to follow basic standards. For example, washing hands before and after attending a client, wearing a clean gown during procedures, dressing any cuts or open wounds with waterproof bandages, earing single-use gloves during the procedure, etc. All needles should be sterilized thoroughly and cleaned before reuse, as well as thermally disinfected. I think some practioners pull needles out from packages but not always.
You know, from my experience, it sometimes hurts depending on where the needles are stuck but the hurt is more of a passing sensation and dull rather than sharp--nothing to cry about. Most of the time you really don't feel it. :)