Acupuncture is a complex branch of ancient Chinese medicine, but its practical principles and methods are easily understood:
Fourteen major energy channels called meridians course through the human body including the head, arms, hands, legs, feet, torso and internal organs.
A vital energy called qi [pronounced chee] circulates via the meridians to all parts of the body, even the most remote cells.
Qi is the vital force, the presence of which separates the living from the dead. Its balanced, unimpeded flow is critical to sound health.
Any misdirection, blockage, or other derangement of the amount, flow, or balance of qi may result in pain, dysfunction, and ill health.
With acupuncture needles, or other means such a laser, the acupuncturist stimulates certain points [acupoints] along the course of the meridians. Such stimulation helps restore the normal balance and flow of qi so organs and bodily systems can work together in harmony as intended.
This sets the stage for the body to repair itself and maintain its own health.
What are the main objectives of an Acupuncture treatment?
The three main objectives are:
Relieve pain and other symptoms
Strengthen the immune system
Balance, harmonize and integrate functions of the organs with each other, making for a unified, healthy person, rather than a collection of fragmented, disharmonious parts.
Do the needles hurt?
Typically, acupuncture needles are fine and flexible, no bigger around than a human hair or piece of thread. Deftly inserted into an acupoint by a skilled acupuncturist, the slender needle produces little or no sensation at all. When the needle makes contact with qi, the energy, most patients experience a slight tingling sensation. Often acupuncture needles stimulate a pleasant sensation while the body experiences recovery.
Are acupuncture needles sterile and safe?
Yes. The government requires acupuncturists to follow strict safety procedures regarding needles, and sterilized needles are manufactured, packaged and shipped in strict compliance with the law.
Is there medicine on the needles?
No medicine is needed. The needle itself acts on the qi energy to make a corrective change.
Can you treat points without needles?
While needle treatment is traditional, other effective means of bringing about the desired physiological response include, acupressure, laser, electronic stimulation, blunt probes, moxibustion and pressure massage to name a few.
How does the acupuncturist know exactly where to insert the needle?
Landmarks on the body and measurements using the hand and fingers as a ruler make point location not only a healing art, but a well-defined science.
Can acupuncture help relieve pain?
Chronic pain, more than any other complaint, brings people to acupuncture. Patient complaints may include pain anywhere in the body as well as headaches, pain in the back, neck, arm, shoulder, leg… all persistent reminders that something is wrong. Much of acupuncture’s reputation, however, stands on its potency for relieving pain while addressing the underlying cause. Acupuncture is often indicated to treat chronic pain conditions, radiating pain along a nerve pathway, muscle spasm, inflammation, scar tissue pain, and pain located in multiple sites.
What is ear acupuncture?
Strange as it may seem, the surface of the ear contains an invisible upside-down representation of a fetus and points on the ear correspond to bodily parts and organs. Stimulating appropriate ear points often effectively treats pain and disease in the corresponding parts or organs.
How many visits are needed?
Acupuncturists tailor the number of treatments to the individual case. Everyone responds differently. Some patients begin to respond favorably after only one or two treatments. A series of visits may be required for chronic conditions.
How long do treatments take?
Depending on the patient’s condition and the treatment plan, treatments average about thirty minutes.
Is acupuncture safe for pregnant women?
Acupuncture is a safe, comfortable and cost effective treatment for many of the problems that commonly develop in pregnancy. This is especially true since pharmaceuticals are contraindicated for pregnant women in most cases. [See our posted article “Acupuncture and the Pregnant Woman”.]
Is acupuncture safe for children?
Acupuncture knows no age limits. Laser acupuncture is particularly useful with young or highly-sensitive patients. For example, acupuncture treatments can often stop bed-wetting.
What conditions are frequently assisted by acupuncture:
Addictions, allergies, ankle swelling, arm and shoulder pain, arthritis, asthma, attention deficit disorder, back pain, bed wetting [enuresis] blood pressure [high or low], bronchial conditions, bursitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, poor circulation, colds, colitis, spastic colon, constipation, cough, depression, detox for chemical dependency, diarrhea, disc problems, diverticulitis, dizziness [vertigo], emphysema, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, gall bladder disorders, gynecological dysfunctions, headache, hemorrhoids, hip pain, immune system deficiency, indigestion, infertility, injuries, insomnia, joint pain, knee pain, leg pain, neck pain, nervousness, neuralgia, pre-menstrual syndrome, prostate problems, rheumatism, sciatica, shingles, sinus trouble, skin problems, sore throat, thyroid conditions, urinary problems, nausea due to cancer therapies, turning a fetus presenting breech, and many more.
Will my medical insurance cover acupuncture?
Insurance companies and policies differ regarding payment for acupuncture health services. Your insurance agent can inform you of your exact coverage.