Fitness isn’t just about working out. It’s also about recovery, pain management, and trying to find a balance for the work that you put your body through. A lot of people often get massages to relieve soreness and muscle tension or use foam rollers or other similar tools at home for relief and recovery. Meanwhile, less people are open to acupuncture even though it’s becoming a more widely accepted form of therapy. It makes sense—acupuncture involves inserting very thin needles through the skin which can sound scary for some people. I’ll say that I’m not a huge fan of needles myself but I am a fan of acupuncture. It’s nothing to be afraid of or intimidated by and definitely worth trying out.
I’ve done acupuncture for years now and I’ve felt that it’s made a difference with recovery and some pain when I’ve done it consistently. If you’re a bit squeamish about needles or pain, the needles are very different from the ones used to draw blood. They’re very thin so you can barely feel them. I’d say you feel the needles less than if someone were to push the tip of their fingernail into your skin. If I’m honest, I don’t feel the needles most of the time. (Then again, I’ve been close to falling asleep during tattoo sessions.) Acupuncturists will also tell you what to expect in terms of how it’ll feel if it’s your first visit. I’ve found acupuncture incredibly useful because a good acupuncturist will be familiar with the specific spots on your body that can help with the problem that you’re having and the other muscles that are supporting or related to that soreness.
I have also tried electroacupuncture, which will have small electric currents passing between the acupuncture needles. You can feel a slight vibration or pulsating in your muscles. The electric currents can be adjusted to your tolerance in case that idea freaks you out. Regardless, it’s not very strong at all. I find it relaxing and comforting to do. The electric currents are meant to enhance the effects of the needles. You might feel a warmth spreading around where the needles are.
The theory behind acupuncture is that the needles are used to help balance out energy that travels through a person’s body. Many people take acupuncture for pain management, whether it’s joint pain, arthritis, muscle soreness, etc. The needles are meant to stimulate blood flow in your nerves/muscles/connective tissue, so it’s good for calming down swelling, speeding up recovery, and alleviating pain. In fact, there are even mats that you can buy that have small spikes specifically located on them that are meant to imitate the effects of acupuncture when you lay down on the mat.
There are also countless other benefits that acupuncture can offer. It can help with blood pressure, headaches, nausea, or even stress/anxiety, depression, etc. Some people swear by acupuncture and go every week. I recommend it to many of my clients and believe that it’s a great option for people who are looking for pain relief. If you’ve been thinking about trying it out, give it a shot. Hopefully sharing my experiences with it will help you understand the process more and know what to expect.