About Acupuncture

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture, simply stated, is a health science which is used to successfully treat both pain and dysfunction in the body.

Acupuncture is an ancient system of healing developed over thousands of years as a part of the traditional medicine of China, Japan and other Eastern Countries. It involves the stimulation of certain empirically tested points on the body with ultrafine needles, herbs, finger pressure, and other methods to relieve specific medical conditions.

Acupuncture Needles in Client's Back

Acupuncture is a health care system which is used to treat disease, prevent illness and improve well-being. It is effective for physical, psychological and emotional problems. Acupuncture originated in China more than 5,000 years ago and due to its proven effectiveness has been embraced throughout the world. Hair-thin sterile needles are placed into the skin. The art and science of acupuncture involves the choice of points, the direction and depth of insertion, and the subtle manipulation of the needle in the patient's body. All of these factors determine the stimulus the patient will feel.

Acupuncture works with a person's internal pharmacy rather than putting in chemicals from the outside. This approach has several advantages over pharmaceutical medicine. Most importantly there are no negative side effects to acupuncture. The most common occurrence is that patients feel such a relief from symptoms that they may participate in activities that can cause a flare-up of their condition, before their body is completely healed.

How does Acupuncture Work?

Western Scientific Theory

Many Western doctors believe that stimulation of empirically specific points causes the nervous system to release endorphins and other naturally occurring chemicals and hormones that affect pain perception, mood, and overall health. Documented physiological shifts following acupuncture show an increase in the body’s own natural painkillers, anti-inflammatory agents and analgesics. Secondly, acupuncture stimulates the body’s immune system, affecting heart rate, brain activity, and blood pressure. Not only does acupuncture relieve pain; it also increases the body’s own natural ability to heal itself and prevent disease.

Chinese Medical Theory

Ancient Chinese Acupuncture Diagram

Western physics tells us the universe is divided into matter and energy. Chinese medical theory has understood this for thousands of years and refers to this energy as "Qi" (pronounced 'chee'). Qi and matter both exist in the human body. Qi, though we can't see it, flows through the body the same way blood does, in well-defined pathways, called meridians. Qi circulates through these meridians the same way water flows through a hose: if there is a kink in the hose the water flow is disrupted and part of the hose becomes empty while the other part becomes overfull.

Similarly, when Qi is blocked in the meridians, pain and illness result. Stimulating an acupuncture point is similar to removing the kink in the hose: it gets the Qi flowing again so that health is restored to the entire being.

What is Acupuncture Good For?

Acupuncture is not necessarily the solution to every health care problem. Both Western and Oriental Medicine have their respective strengths and weaknesses. When appropriately combined, the patient is well served.

Image of man with needle

The World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes acupuncture as an effective treatment modality for many conditions, including:

What to Expect from a Treatment.

How does it feel?

The needles are ultra-fine, filiform needles, about the thickness of a hair. In fact, you can fit between 5-10 acupuncture needles into the one hypodermic needle used for drawing blood! Insertion is often painless or may feel for a brief moment like a mosquito bite. Usually during treatment 4 or 5 needles are inserted in your body and left in for 10-15 minutes. They are removed, and 4-5 more are then placed in different areas. Other therapies may also be applied, including moxibustion, cupping, microbleeding, or oriental massage techniques.

Many patients find an acupuncture treatment to be very relaxing and some people even fall asleep during a treatment.

Patients visiting my clinic may expect to be treated by one or more of the following treatment modalities:

Benefits of Acupuncture

Since acupuncture promotes the body's natural healing ability, most conditions can be corrected or improved. The effectiveness of acupuncture is well documented and extends far beyond the conception that it is only useful for chronic pain management or as an analgesic. Additionally, acupuncture is very effective as part of your regular health maintenance and disease prevention program. Schedule an appointment today!

Continue to Asian Bodywork or Pediatric Acupuncture.