What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is the art of applying sterile, ultra fine needles, made from flexible stainless steel, below the dermis of the skin to help balance the body's energy, called Qi. It is a method of encouraging the body to promote natural healing and to improve functioning.
The delicate needles are inserted into very precise anatomic points also known as Acupuncture points. Stimulating these points causes a chemical cascade in the body, which can create an optimal environment for the body to heal itself.
How does Acupuncture work?
The classical Chinese explanation is that channels of energy run in regular patterns through the body and over its surface. These energy channels, called Meridians, are like rivers flowing through the body to irrigate and nourish the tissues. As long as energy (Qi) flows freely throughout the Meridians, health is maintained. An obstruction in the movement of these energy rivers is like a dam that causes back ups in others. The flow of energy is then either blocked or depleted, the system is imbalanced, thus causing pain or illness to occur.
The flow of energy in the meridians can be influenced by needling the Acupuncture points. The Acupuncture needles unblock the obstructions at the dams, and re-establish the regular flow through the Meridians. Acupuncture treatments can therefore help the body's internal organs to correct imbalances in their digestion, absorption, and energy production activities, and in the circulation of their energy through the Meridians.
The modern scientific explanation is that needling the Acupuncture points produces a wide variety of effects. It causes the body to increase the release of natural painkillers. These natural painkillers, endorphins and serotonin, are released in the pain pathway to the brain and the spinal cord, thus causing the pain signals which are received to be modified. Other chemicals which are released as a result of an Acupuncture treatment trigger the release of different chemicals and hormones which influence the body's own internal regulating system.
The improved energy and biochemical balance produced by Acupuncture results in stimulating the body's natural healing abilities thus promoting physical and emotional well-being.
What conditions are appropriate for Acupuncture therapy?
While Acupuncture is often associated with the treatment of pain, in the hands of a well-trained practitioner it has much broader applications.
Acupuncture can be effective as the only treatment used, or as a support or adjunct to other forms of medial treatment in many medical and surgical disorders. The World Health Organization recognizes the use of Acupuncture in the treatment of a wide range of medical problems, including:
Digestive disorders: gastritis and hyper acidity, spastic colon, constipation, diarrhea.
Respiratory disorders: sinusitis, sore throat, bronchitis, asthma, recurrent chest infections.
Neurological and muscular disorders: headaches, facial tics, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, neck pain, rib
neuritis, frozen shoulder, tennis elbow, various forms of tendinitis, low back pain, sciatica, osteoarthritis.
Urinary, menstrual, and reproductive problems.
Acupuncture is particularly useful in resolving physical problems related to tension, stress and emotional conditions. It also plays a major role in the stimulation and enhancement of the immune system. Acupuncture is very effective in cases where the use of Western medicine is said to be very limited, like chronic pain management, drug addiction and cancer treatment.
Studies have shown that over 60% of patients who were treated with Acupuncture after being paralyzed as a result of a stroke showed great improvement..
Acupuncture can be a very effective treatment for poor circulation. With improved blood circulation, enhanced by Acupuncture, the patient benefits with sharper mental clarity, enhanced concentration, enriched sleep, positive feelings about life and a healthy appetite.
Does Acupuncture really work?
Yes it does! In the past 4,000 years, more people have been successfully treated with Acupuncture than with all other health modalities combined. Today Acupuncture is practiced widely all over the world.
Acupuncture treatments can be given at the same time other techniques are being used, such as conventional Western medicine, physical therapy, Osteopathy or Chiropractic treatments, as well as with Homeopathic or Naturopathic prescriptions.
It is important that your Physician-Acupuncturist know everything that you are doing, so they can help you get the most benefit from all your treatments.
Do I have to believe in Acupuncture for it to work?
No, actually you don't.
Acupuncture is used successfully on cats, dogs, horses and other animals. Animal patients do not understand or believe in the process that helps them get better.
However, a positive attitude toward wellness may reinforce the effects of the treatment received, just as a negative attitude may hinder the effects of Acupuncture or any other treatment. A neutral attitude will not block the treatment results.
Does Acupuncture Hurt?
People experience Acupuncture needling differently. Most patients feel no pain at all as the needles are inserted, some feel only very minimal pain. Once the needles are in place, there is no pain felt at all. Acupuncture needles are very thin and made from flexible stainless steel. The needle point is smooth (not hollow with cutting edges like a hypodermic needle) and insertion through the skin is not as painful as injections or blood sampling. There is rarely any risk of bruising and skin irritation.