In the Quest for Alternative Holistic Healthcare, Where Does Acupuncture Fit In?

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Answered by: cruz, An Expert in the Alternative Treatments Category
With the cost of traditional healthcare increasing precipitously, many people are exploring various forms of alternative treatments, also known as "holistic healthcare." This can include the complete absence of the use of medicine, as well as the employment of non-medical instruments such as metal or wooden needles. Acupuncture is an ancient practice. From before the time of Christ, acupuncture has been used to treat various ailments across the globe. The Western world however has been relatively ignorant of this unique alternative treatment until only very recently.

Both its practitioners and its devotees believe that acupuncture is effective in not only combating but in some cases preventing an assortment of diseases.The thickness of acupuncture needles usually varies from 0.01 millimeters to 0.02 millimeters. This is very close to the diameter of human hair. By contrast, needles used for such things as administering injections or drawing blood are much thicker in diameter, ranging from approximately 0.8 millimeters to 1.5 millimeters.

Acupuncture practitioners will generally advise their clients that more than one session will be necessary for noticeable changes to occur. They also reassure the patient that the procedure is painless with no side effects.

The efficacy of acupuncture has been disputed by the mainstream medical community since its introduction in the West. Studies have shown, however that acupuncture has achieved beneficial outcomes in conditions ranging from post-accident pain, to asthma to anxiety and depression. These results are generally based on self-reports from patients and may be considered anecdotal by some medical professionals.

In what may be the most dramatic example of the use of acupuncture as holistic healthcare, a New York Times columnist reportedly underwent an appendectomy in the early 1970s at a hospital in China. According to several accounts, the journalist was administered acupuncture rather than standard, Western-style anesthesia during the procedure.

Another field in which the benefits of acupuncture are widely touted is that of addiction rehabilitation. One may locate numerous clinics throughout the UK devoted to the use of acupuncture as the primary or even sole method for treating an assortment of chemical and behavioral dependency issues.

Addiction problems as disparate as alcoholism, drug abuse, compulsive eating and psycho-sexual dysfunction all fall under the umbrella of "treatable conditions" according to the marketing literature.

Such treatments may or may not be reimbursable by private or public health insurance plans. It is advisable to contact one's insurance provider directly to inquire as to whether your particular coverage is applicable to alternative holistic healthcare approaches. An increasing number of insurance carriers are beginning to realize the potential cost savings involved, since acupuncture is generally considerably less costly than equivalent traditional methods of treatment.

With an average of between ten and twenty sessions costing approximately one hundred dollars each (a reasonable although by no means necessarily accurate assumption), it is easy to recognize just how dramatically less expensive acupuncture can potentially prove to be.

It cannot be stressed enough how critically important it is to seek a qualified and licensed practitioner. Used acupuncture needles are considered medical waste, and must be treated as such. Every session must begin with properly sterilized needles to avoid contamination and the spread of disease. It is strongly suggested to thoroughly research both the credentials and the background of a practitioner before commencing acupuncture sessions.

Many people are dissatisfied with traditional Western medicine and actively seek alternative holistic healthcare for treatment of their various medical and psychological ills. Lured by the prospects of efficacy, relatively low cost, absence of uncomfortable or dangerous side effects and safety, increasing numbers of people are exploring the fascinating world of acupuncture.

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