Some of the techniques of acupuncture do not even use needles anymore. Vibrating objects, ultrasound and even the fingers of the practitioner have taken some of the work to make the person feel better.
The history of acupuncture is first discussed in an ancient Chinese medical text called the "Huang Di Nei Jing" or The Yellow Emperor's Classic of Internal Medicine.
But there have been a few who are skeptic as archaeologists have found a 5,000 year old mummy in the Alps with similar acupuncture points in the body.
This gives some people the idea that it was used even before the Chinese did but sine there is no written text to prove that, no one is certain and credit to this ancient practice goes back to the Chinese.
In the 6th century, this knowledge moved to Japan. In the 17th century, a man by the name of Waichi Sugiyama wanted to make this procedure painless for the patient so he developed the insertion tube, a small cylindrical tube through which the needle is inserted. Believe it or not, this technique is still being used today.
But acupuncture only reached the US in the early 80's with the establishment of a regulatory board called the National Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. As a result, various schools have been built and those who want to become licensed acupuncturists are now able to practice their profession.
How does Acupuncture work?
Acupuncture points are believed to stimulate the central nervous system. This, in turn, releases chemicals into the muscles, spinal cord, and brain. These biochemical changes may stimulate the body's natural healing abilities and promote physical and emotional well-being.
Despite that, there were a lot of people who are not yet convinced on the positive effects of alternative forms of medication. It was only in 1995 that the US Food and Drug Administration decided to classify the needles used for acupuncture as medical instruments and assured the public that they are both safe and effective.
To further promote acupuncture, the NIH or National Institute of Health in 1997 has stated that this technique is very useful in treating various health conditions. These include ear, nose, throat, respiratory, gastrointestinal, eye, nervous system and muscular disorders. In some cases, acupuncture is able to prevent some of them from happening.
This was further strengthened by the fact that the side effects of acupuncture are much less than that of conventional drugs that are being sold by pharmaceutical companies. So that people can avail of acupuncture, another recommendation by the NIH is for US companies to provide full coverage for certain conditions. If you do not quality, perhaps there is partial coverage which you should look up in your policy.
How much does an acupuncturist cost?
The cost of an acupuncture session depends on where you live and on whether or not the practitioner takes your insurance. For example, The UC San Diego Center for Integrative Medicine charges $124 per session, without insurance. According to Thumbtack, a company that connects customers to professionals, the average cost for an acupuncturist in San Francisco, California is $85 per session. The average cost of an acupuncturist in Austin, Texas and Saint Louis, Missouri ranges from $60-85 per session.