What is Acupuncture
Acupuncture is one of the oldest and most respected alternative medical treatments in the world. It originated in China over 5,000 years ago and has a proven history of effectiveness. Acupuncture treatments are holistic and preventive, treating the entire person, not just the part that hurts. Chinese medicine utilizes acupuncture needles to access and balance a person’s qi or vital energy, by stimulating points along energy paths called meridians. To strengthen your overall health and vitality, our acupuncturist will offer suggestions for lifestyle improvements in diet, supplementation, exercise, sleep, and stress management. Often sessions will include cupping, moxibustion, and electrostimulation therapies.
Acupuncture is best known for its ability to successfully treat pain and its causes. In Chinese medicine, we view pain as an obstruction of qi energy and blood in meridian energy paths due to injury, muscular tension, inflammation, sprains, or pathogenic invasions of cold and damp. Acupuncture alleviates pain by raising endorphin levels and diminishing the nervous system’s sympathetic response. Also acupuncture decreases inflammation and swelling, relaxes muscles to prevent spasms, and increases energy and blood circulation to the local area.
Acupuncture involves the insertion of very thin needles through the patient’s skin at specific points on the body – the needles are inserted to various depths. While the medical community is not in conclusive agreement about how acupuncture works scientifically, we do know that it does have therapeutic benefits, including pain relief and alleviation from nausea caused by chemotherapy.
How does acupuncture work? Acupuncture needles
Traditional Chinese medicine explains that health is the result of a harmonious balance of the complementary extremes of yin and yang of the life force known as gi or chi. Qi is said to flow through meridians (pathways) in the human body. Through 350 acupuncture points in the body, these meridians and energy flows may be accessed. Illness is said to be the consequence of an imbalance of the forces. If needles are inserted into these points with appropriate combinations it is said that the energy flow can be brought back into proper balance.
In Western societies and several other parts of the world, acupuncture is explained including concepts of neuroscience. Acupuncture points are seen by Western practitioners as places where nerves, muscles and connective tissue can be stimulated. Acupuncture practitioners say that the stimulation increases blood flow while at the same time triggering the activity of our own body’s natural painkillers.
How is acupuncture treatment carried out?
Acupuncture generally involves several weekly or fortnightly treatments. Most courses consist of up to 12 sessions. A visit to an acupuncturist will involve an exam and an assessment of the patient’s condition, the insertion of needles, and advice on self-care. Most sessions last about 30 minutes.
You will be asked to lie down, either face-up, face-down or on his/her side, depending on where the needless are inserted. The acupuncturist should use single-use disposable sterile needles. As each needle is inserted you may feel them but the insertion is rarely painful. Sometimes the needles are heated or stimulated with electricity after insertion. Once inserted, the needles will remain there for about twenty minutes.