Acupuncture is one of the oldest and most commonly used healing modality in the world. Originating in China some 4,000 years ago, only in the last three decades has it become popular in the United States. Acupuncture focuses on the activation of various "points" on the body. These special points stimulate all systems of the body including the brain, nervous system, musculoskeletal system and internal organs to rebalance and harmonize the body and mind.
What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is one of many treatment modalities used in Chinese medicine. The treatment involves the activation of various acupoints on the body. There are hundreds of these points on the body and each acupoint has a unique effect. The points used during a treatment are selectedby the acupuncturist based on the patient’s symptoms and overall health constitution. The goal of acupuncture treatment is to relieve symptoms, prevent their recurrence and to help improve overall health through constitutional balancing.
What conditions can be treated by acupuncture?
Acupuncture is best known for pain control but can be used to treat a wide variety of health conditions. It is an effective stand alone treatment for some conditions or can be used in conjunction with conventional medical treatment. The NIH in their Consensus Statement on Acupuncture (insert link) acknowledged the use of acupuncture in the treatment of:
• low back pain
• tennis elbow
• myofascial pain
• carpal tunnel syndrome
• postoperative pain
• dysmenorrhea (pain during period)
• nausea & vomiting
Acupuncture may also be used for emotional issues such as stress, anxiety, insomnia, digestive problems, colds/flus, allergies, pms, fertility issues, menopausal symptoms, skin conditions, circulatory problems and more.
Is acupuncture safe?
Acupuncture is generally regarded as a very safe treatment method with a low incidence of adverse reactions. The use of sterile disposable needles minimizes the possibility of infection. Localized bruising with mild soreness may occasionally occur. Acupuncture should always be performed by a trained and licensed professional. This training includes detailed understanding of anatomy, proper acupuncture technique, safety requirements and precautions to ensure patient safety.
How does acupuncture work?
According to Chinese medicine acupuncture works on the energetic pathways in the body. These meridians and channels traverse all parts of the body and influence physiological function. Stimulation of acupoints on the channels thereby influences the function and structure of the body. Western science has yet to fully explain the mechanisms of acupuncture. It is proposed that acupuncture affects the nervous, vascular, immune and endocrine systems resulting in:
• pain control
• muscle relaxation
• reduced swelling & inflammation
• normalized blood flow
• normalized immune response
How many treatments do I need?
The number of treatments required will vary depending on:
• severity & duration of the condition
• overall health of the patient
• individual response to treatment
A standard course of treatment is 4-6 treatments at a frequency of 1-2 times per week. Chronic or
difficult conditions will likely require more treatments. Patients often experience improvement after their 1st treatment with more significant progress as treatment continues. Each individual is unique and will respond to acupuncture differently.
Does Acupuncture hurt?
Acupuncture is practically painless. The insertion of the acupuncture needle is generally pain free. During the acupuncture treatment a variety of sensations may be felt at the needle location. These sensations may include tingling, warmth, fullness, numbness or a feeling of movement. These various sensations are normal and are a sign of the bodies’ natural energy or Qi being activated.
Do I need to do anything special before/after acupuncture?
It is best to wear comfortable nonrestrictive clothing for an acupuncture treatment. Avoid drinking, using drugs or eating heavy meals before receiving an acupuncture treatment. Afterward it's best to avoid stressful or high exertion activities. Making time to relax and enjoy yourself after your treatment is ideal.