General Practice 2022

Acupuncture: what é and what is it for

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Acupuncture: what é and what is it for
Acupuncture: what é and what is it for

Acupuncture is an ancient therapy of Chinese origin, which consists of the application of very fine needles, in specific points of the body, to improve immunity and help in the treatment of emotional problems and even some physical diseases such as sinusitis, asthma, migraine or arthritis.

Acupuncture techniques are based on the idea that the body is made up of energy, accumulated in various regions, which are called meridians. If the energy flow in these meridians is unbalanced it causes inflammation in the body, causing symptoms such as pain, tiredness and weakness.

Therefore, the aim of acupuncture treatment is to restore the body's balance, facilitating the circulation of energy, triggering analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects.However, this type of treatment must be performed by trained professionals and under the guidance of a doctor.

What is it for

Acupuncture uses several techniques that can be used to strengthen the immune system and to treat problems and diseases such as:

  • Problems in the mouth: pain after tooth extraction, gingivitis or pharyngitis;
  • Respiratory diseases: sinusitis, rhinitis, common cold, asthma or bronchitis;
  • Ophthalmological diseases: conjunctivitis and cataract;
  • Neurological problems: headache or migraine;
  • Gastrointestinal problems: excess stomach acid, duodenal ulcer and constipation;
  • Orthopedic problems: sciatica, low back pain, or rheumatoid arthritis;
  • Sleep disorders: insomnia and restlessness.

In addition to these problems, acupuncture can also be used as a complementary treatment for allergies, such as rhinitis and asthma, nausea and vomiting induced by chemotherapy and emotional disorders such as anxiety, stress and depression, for example. See more about other benefits of acupuncture.

In many cases, acupuncture is also used as an auxiliary treatment to stop smoking, especially auriculotherapy, as it helps to fight anxiety and deal with the symptoms of cigarette withdrawal. In these cases, it is usually advised to have 2 or 3 acupuncture sessions per week for 3 months or more. See 8 tips to help you quit smoking.

Types of acupuncture

There are several techniques that define the types of acupuncture and that are indicated by an acupuncturist in partnership with a doctor, depending on a person's illness or he alth problem. The most popular types of acupuncture can be:

1. Auricular acupuncture

Auricular acupuncture, also known as auriculotherapy, can be used to treat physical or emotional ailments and can be performed with or without needles. This technique consists of applying different types of fine needles, or mustard seeds, to specific points on the ears.

The benefits of this type of acupuncture is scientifically proven and is highly recommended for treating back pain, as in the first sessions it is possible to verify the reduction of pain intensity. Check out more what auriculotherapy is for and how it is done.

auricular acupuncture

Auricular acupuncture

2. Aesthetic acupuncture

Acupuncture for aesthetic purposes is used to improve skin elasticity, stimulating collagen production, and also helps in muscle recovery and growth of supporting cells, fighting wrinkles and even localized fat.

This type of acupuncture is performed through the application of small needles in the head, face and neck region. Also, the results of aesthetic acupuncture are more natural than Botox procedures, but take longer to take effect.

3. Acupuncture for weight loss

In Chinese medicine, overweight and obesity are believed to cause an imbalance in the body, causing problems with the liver, spleen, kidneys, thyroid and hormonal changes. Therefore, acupuncture can be indicated for weight loss, as it increases metabolism and reduces appetite through the application of needles in strategic points of the body.

Acupuncture can also stimulate the body's energy flow and alter levels of hunger hormones, helping with weight loss. However, it is important to maintain a he althy diet and make dietary restrictions, as in combination with acupuncture, weight loss may be more effective.

4. Electroacupuncture

Electroacupuncture is used to relieve chronic pain caused by spinal problems and fibromyalgia, for example, and helps improve sleep through the brain's release of substances linked to well-being. In this type of acupuncture, a device is used that has thin needles attached to electrodes that emit small electrical impulses through the body.

In addition to improving pain, electroacupuncture promotes relaxation, reducing stress and anxiety. of treatment.


How it's made

Conventional acupuncture involves the use of very thin, disposable needles of varying lengths and widths to be applied to different points of the skin, based on a person's symptoms, illnesses and he alth problems.

Acupuncture sessions are performed by an acupuncturist, who can be a doctor, physical therapist or occupational therapist and does not require anesthesia because the needles are extremely thin and the application is done with precise techniques.

Usually, the person lies on a stretcher for 20 to 40 minutes depending on the type of acupuncture and treatment indication and at the end of the applications, the place where the needles were introduced is not painful.

Where are the acupuncture points

Acupuncture points, better known as meridians, are the exact places where fine needles or lasers should be applied so that the flow of energy is released and symptoms such as pain, for example, are reduced. According to traditional Chinese medicine there are 12 meridians that are related to various organs such as the lung, spleen, intestine, bladder and gallbladder.

The feet have several meridians, so it is very common that when performing acupuncture this region is stimulated with needles, however, the ear is the place where most applications are made because acupuncture in this region is usually linked to pain relief.See more where other acupuncture points are.

Who can do it

Anyone can do acupuncture, even in cases where the person has no illness or complaint, as this technique can only be used to improve well-being. It can also be performed in children with he alth problems such as pain caused by sickle cell anemia, hyperactivity and stress, and the most applied technique in these cases is laser or electroacupuncture.

Acupuncture can also be used by pregnant women as it helps reduce the effects of hormonal changes during pregnancy and also helps relieve back pain and discomfort caused by belly weight.

What are the risks

Acupuncture is a very safe technique and generally does not generate he alth risks or cause side effects, however, it must be performed by a qualified professional and in certified clinics that follow ANVISA standards.Needles used in acupuncture must be disposable, as their reuse increases the chances of contracting diseases, such as hepatitis, for example.

People who use blood thinning medications should ask their doctor before performing acupuncture, as the application of needles can cause bleeding. In addition, if a person has severe pain, swelling, bleeding, and bruising at the needle application site, it is necessary to consult a general practitioner to assess these signs and indicate a more appropriate treatment.

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