Over the last few years, acupuncture has received growing interest in Singapore.
Medical professionals (i.e. doctors and dentists) are going for courses to get certified as an acupuncturist and more Singaporeans are interested in going for acupuncture treatments.
Here's what you should take note of before you go for your first acupuncture session.
First things first, what exactly is acupuncture?
TCM believes that diseases are directly caused by “Yin”, “Yang”, “Qi” and blood imbalances in the body, leading to either an "excess" or "deficiency" of various vital attributes.
Acupuncture works to restore balance when applied to specific body parts by either removing excess or replenishing deficiency.
Acupuncture helps your "Qi" to flow smoothly
The image of needles used in acupuncture is probably what commonly comes to mind. These are inserted into acupressure points along the meridians of the body to stimulate therapeutic effects.
Acupuncturists use different depths, directions, durations and techniques when it comes to needle application in order to enable seamless "Qi" flow and heal the body.
It also boosts your immune system to help prevent illness
Acupuncture also helps to reinforce your immune system and prevent illnesses. Additionally, it can also help to cure diseases by alleviating pain and promoting healthy blood flow.
The cost of acupuncture treatment is based on severity and complexity
In Singapore, the cost of acupuncture is determined by how severe a patient's condition is as well as how complex the procedure will be.
Here's a cost table from Eu Yan Sang TCM Clinic for your reference.
Acupuncture is recognized by WHO
The World Health Organization has, through controlled trials, recognised it as an effective form of treatment for many conditions including hypertension, pain management, headaches, arthritis and even depression.
Acupuncture in Singapore involves 3-4 steps
Physician Lin always begins with a thorough assessment of her patient's condition, followed by the sterilisation of needles (and the areas which they will be applied to).
The next step involves the insertion of the needles (patients usually feel a "tingling" sensation). Heat or electric current may also be incorporated to enhance therapeutic effects.
The length and number of sessions vary
The exact duration and number of sessions of acupuncture treatment often differ based on the complexity or severity of the patients’ condition.
Generally, doctors will observe the results of the first treatment. After this, he or she will be able to offer better advice for the duration of the treatment course.
There are various conditions that are treatable via acupuncture
Mental health (stress, depression, and insomnia) can be treated with acupuncture.
Musculoskeletal issues and neurology (headaches and pain), ENT (including sinus-related) problems and even reproductive system issues can all be treated through proper acupuncture.
I heard that acupuncture is super painful!
The issue of pain as it relates to acupuncture can be rather subjective. Physician Lin gets asked this question a lot. She notes that what patients usually refer to as pain can be associated with various sensations.
Generally, soreness, numbness, tingling, and heaviness can all be mistaken for pain.
It's a good thing if you can feel the needles
After needle insertion, it's usually a good indication when you can feel the sensations quickly.
This is because it means that the physician has applied the correct technique to the right acupressure points. The faster you feel needle sensations, the faster recovery tends to be.
Possible side effects include bruising and soreness
Although it isn't common, patients have experienced some minor side effects after acupuncture.
These include slight bruising, soreness or pain, dizziness or slight bleeding after the extraction of the needles. Bleeding and bruising occur in about 3% of treatments while pain occurs in about 1%.
Pregnant ladies are unsuitable for acupuncture
Aside from pregnant women, those with a phobia of needles, contagious diseases, abnormal blood pressure, high fever, bleeding disorders, metal allergies, skin infections or those prone to extreme weakness after operations/an operation, should all NOT undergo acupuncture.
Eat before you go for an acupuncture session
It's better to have a light meal before going for acupuncture. Similarly, if you're feeling fatigued, anxious or are profusely perspiring and have a racing heartbeat, it is best not to immediately have acupuncture carried out.
Ask around for the best acupuncturists in Singapore
Those who have tried the treatment beforehand are usually glad to give you a recommendation if they experienced success with a particular acupuncturist.
Alternatively, physicians and acupuncturists can also give you good advice on where/how to go about getting the treatment.