The Ultimate Guide to Acupuncture Treatment: Risks and Benefits

Acupuncture is a 2,000-year-old healing art first practiced by the Chinese. This ancient technique has come a long way since 1971.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave acupuncture its first seal of approval in the United States when acupuncture needles were classified as medical devices. Since then, numerous studies have shown that acupuncture works.

For instance, when you check out Morningside Acupuncture, you’ll discover that more people are becoming aware of the unique benefits of this alternative medicine. Many individuals even call it an incredible ‘Miracle Treatment’ that enhances their standard of living.

But what else is there to know about acupuncture? What are the multitudes of health issues you can treat with this ancient traditional Chinese technique, and are there any risks involved? These are many more questions are what this article addresses.

But before we go into the details, let’s start with the basics.

What Is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is an ancient, traditional Chinese practice that usually involves inserting thin steel needles into specific pressure points on the human body. It’s employed in alleviating some health symptoms and conditions, such as pain, anxiety, etc.

Numerous scientific studies conducted over several years confirm the effectiveness of this pseudoscience. This has made it one of the most popular alternative treatments used to take care of various ailments.

How Does Acupuncture Work?

According to traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture is a unique method for balancing the human body’s life force or energy flow. This is usually recognized as ‘qi’ or ‘chi,’ believed to flow in the body via 12 major routes (or meridians).

‘Qi’ or ‘chi’ may also be referred to as the blood that flows around and in the human body. An acupuncturist inserts thin, steel needles into specific points along these routes, with the goal of re-balancing and improving your blood flow or flow of energy.

These 12 energy streams or meridians have nearly 350 acupuncture points in the human body that can only be accessed via the thin, steel needles. It’s process-based primarily on the presumption that a profound lack of energy flow can trigger health issues. Hence, acupuncture is employed to resolve these health issues.

However, according to Western medicine, the needling technique in acupuncture triggers the production of endorphins in the human body, thereby increasing blood flow. Endorphins are the body’s natural pain killers and sometimes share similar effects with morphine.

In-depth studies show that acupuncture may also alter brain chemistry due to its effect on the release of neurohormones and neurotransmitters.

These significantly impact some parts of the central nervous system linked with involuntary body functions and sensation, including processes that regulate a person’s body temperature, blood flow, and blood pressure.

‘Qi’ or ‘chi’ refers to blood flow since acupuncture influences the human body’s nervous and circulatory systems. This makes the traditional Chinese treatment a must-have for those looking to minimize pain, enjoy its calming effect, and help with other health-related issues.

The thin, steel needles used in acupuncture are sterile and disposable. The acupuncturist inserts these needles at varying depths, i.e., from a fraction of one inch to 2 inches.

The hair-thin needles stay in place for several minutes, up to 20 minutes, depending on the severity of the health condition being treated.

What Health Conditions Can You Treat With Acupuncture?

According to the WHO (World Health Organization), you can treat these health conditions with acupuncture:

  • Anxiety
  • Allergies
  • Asthma
  • Depression
  • Sinusitis
  • Sickness induced by chemotherapy
  • Muscle pain
  • Sprains
  • Digestion problems, including IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), etc.
  • Sciatica
  • Fatigue
  • Wrinkles
  • Dental pain
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Gynecologic disorders
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder

Acupuncture also helps with other health conditions, including:

  • Infertility
  • Pregnancy discomforts
  • Immune system problems
  • Hot flashes and menopause
  • Face pain as well as other nerve discomforts
  • Overuse syndrome and repetitive strain disorders

The Risks of Acupuncture

Acupuncture is said to have downsides, just like many other therapies out there. But in most cases, well-trained acupuncturists avoid these issues.

The #1 risk of acupuncture is the bleeding and pain that occurs when the needles are inserted at various pressure points. Other adverse effects of this ancient medical treatment include:

  • Allergic reactions
  • Swelling
  • Skin rashes
  • Discomfort
  • Bruising
  • Infection, etc.

This is why you must allow only well-trained and certified practitioners to treat you for any ailments you may have. For one, these acupuncturists never use needles repeatedly but use disposable and sterile needles to prevent severe health problems.

Moreover, acupuncture isn’t the answer to all poor health conditions. For instance, the treatment enhances the risks of severe bleeding and bruising for anyone who takes blood thinners or has a bleeding disorder.

Benefits of Acupuncture

Acupuncture remains one of the most efficient therapies for relieving stress in these contemporary times. Here are some of the benefits of this ancient traditional Chinese health treatment:

Boosts Mental Health and Minimizes Stress – Acupuncture effectively controls the intensity of mood swings and levels of stress hormones in your brain by decreasing anxiety and heightening the general emotion of happiness.

A study shows that acupuncture assists people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other mental conditions like depression. This is most effective when treated within a short period after diagnosis.

Fixes Bad Posture and Alleviates Body Pain – Lifting heavyweights at the local gym, laptops, smartphones, as well as awkward lifting of heavy items, can result in intense pain and bad posture.

Acupuncture helps to alleviate body pain with zero medication. It also helps decrease inflammation and swelling in the human body. This is why physiotherapists adopt this Chinese medicine for correcting their patient’s lifting techniques and bad posture.

Assists in Treating Insomnia – Acupuncture is an effective therapy for chronic insomnia. The traditional Chinese treatment assists the body by soothing the mind and body so that you can sleep better at night.

Many patients with insomnia stop complaining of lack of sleep after undergoing an acupuncture session or two.

Boosts Skin Health – According to a few enthusiasts, facial acupuncture therapy significantly helps in reducing wrinkles. The mechanism behind this is the tightening of all loose or sagging facial muscles while increasing collagen production.

Doing this consistently enhances collagen levels in your skin, improving its overall appearance.


If you’ve tried several conventional methods to rid your body of pain or any other form of discomfort without much success, you may want to give acupuncture a try. Acupuncture works by activating your body’s self-healing mechanism where conventional methods fail to do.