Bayo Ajibola


Different cultures practice different healing methods for different purposes. One of the ‘alternative’ healing methods that have travelled from its home in China and into many modern societies is known as acupuncture.

Acupuncture is the practice of sticking specific pins or needles into specific points in the body for the sole purpose of relieving pressure. Sounds odd, huh? Well, a visual of someone going through the procedure is not that laid back. The image of pins sticking out of someone’s face, head or even whole body is not a pretty sight especially for those not too keen on needles.

The explanation behind it is that there are energy paths, known as meridians, in your body. When there is an imbalance or blockage the body translates this into pain or any other symptom like nausea or even infertility. Your body basically stops functioning properly or in normal terms you become sick.

Before an acupuncturist begins a session a diagnosis should be made. This is done by a thorough physical checkup of the face, the tongue, listening for sounds like wheezing from the chest, checking whether there are any tender spots on the body and checking body odor.

The patient should be asked about their appetite, whether they feel chilly, pain, sleep patterns, menses and even how often they get a bowel movement and what it feels and looks like. Whatever the acupuncturist finds after the thorough check is what will determine where they start from.

The sizes of the needles vary and thicker needles may be used on ‘fleshier’ individuals. Thin needles may require a plastic guiding tube so that they don’t break. All types of acupuncture needles have points that are a little blunt so as to avoid breakage.

The needles used are usually stainless steel to avoid rusting and are disposed after usage to avoid contamination. The skin is first sterilized before the needles are inserted. How the practitioner inserts these needles will determine whether you feel any pain or not. Inserting the needles using pressure and speed may reduce pain significantly. Skilled practitioners can do this without causing any pain at all.

Some scientists and doctors say that there is no evidence to prove that acupuncture works but patients who have had a session with an acupuncturist usually speak highly of the practice. Whether to try it or not and whether it will work on you will depend on you. Some say that it is more of a placebo than an actual treatment but opinions continue to change.

Bayo Ajibola

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