What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a healing art that originated in ancient China somewhere around 2,000 to 5,000 years ago. Today it is one of the oldest and commonly used healing systems in the world.
Acupuncture employs the use of fine stainless steel needles, pressure, heat and other techniques to stimulate points and areas on the body. Acupuncture then looks to restore balance and homeostasis to the body, by bringing the body back to its original and natural state of balance.
This is accomplished by facilitating the circulation of blood, fluids and the flow of Qi, or energy, through specific pathways of the body, optimizing its ability to heal injury, illness and dysfunction. Acupunctures ability to unblock, free and balance the bodies Qi and blood is the primary way in which it works.
What causes the Qi (energy) to become blocked?
Physical, emotional or spiritual trauma.
Prolonged emotional, physical or chemical stress.
Poor diet and lack of proper nutrition.
Environmental conditions (heat, cold, damp, dryness & wind).
Is acupuncture safe?
Totally! The acupuncture needles that are used are very thin, sterile, disposable, FDA approved medical devices. A licensed acupuncturist has completed 3 to 4 years of graduate work that consists of over 3000 hours of both clinical and didactic training. In contrast a medical doctor that is certified to practice acupuncture has only had 300 hours of training. Side effects of acupuncture are few and rarely occur, the most common being an occasional small bruise around a needle insertion site.
Do acupuncture needles hurt?
The acupuncture needles used in the office are very thin and we mostly employ Japanese acupuncture techniques when it comes to needling, which practices a more gentle form needling. Also the needles are nothing like the hypodermic needles used to take blood. Although peoples sensitivity and tolerance to pain varies greatly most people find the experience of acupuncture to be a painless one. The most commonly described sensation is a light pinch. At times you may feel sensations around the needle. These my include a dull or aching sensation or even a sensation of movement or traveling, which is the movement of the body’s Qi (energy). It is not uncommon at all for people to fall asleep after all the needles have been inserted
How long is an acupuncture treatment?
The treatment length can vary depending on what you are being treated for. Your first visit is usually longer as we may spend extra time discussing your health history and why you are coming in for acupuncture. The average acupuncture session is 30 to 45 minutes.
How often should I be treated?
Most commonly patients are treated once a week. There are occasions were it is recommended that a patient come in two to three times a week. Once the primary condition that you came in for has subsided then you may only need to come in once or twice a month for a tune up. The general rule of thumb is that the longer you have been out of balance the longer it will take to get you back in balance.
Acupuncture has a history of 2,000 to 5,000 years with that being said it is one of the oldest forms of healing in the world. And still today it is used by over half the worlds population. Acupuncture would never have lasted this long or be this widely used if it didn’t work. Although Western Medicine has its place and importance, acupuncture is in many ways safer then Western medicine. Regular acupuncture treatments are a great form of preventative medicine. Every year more and more studies are being done on the effectiveness of acupuncture. Even though Western science still cannot definitively say how and why acupuncture works it is getting harder and harder for them to dismiss it strictly as a placebo effect.
What are some of the different styles of acupuncture?
Traditional Chinese Medicine Acupuncture (TCM): Is the most common form of acupuncture taught in the US. It is a style of acupuncture that was developed in China in the 1950’s. TCM took the art of acupuncture and the art of herbal medicine and boiled them down in to one system.
Japanese Acupuncture: “Japanese-style” is a subtler and gentler form of acupuncture. They tend to use thinner needles and less needle stimulation. Japanese acupuncture also emphasizes more palpation of the body to provide feedback and diagnoses the body.
Acupuncture Physical Medicine (APM): Is based on the work of the late Dr. Janet Travell and developed by Mark Seem Ph.D. Acupuncture Physical Medicine addresses the myofacial constrictions or trigger points in the body. These constrictions or tight tender points can lead to the disruptions and dysfunctions of the body.
Korean Hand Acupuncture: Uses the hand as a micro system for the entire body. In this form of acupuncture every part of the hand represents a corresponding area of the body.
Auricular Acupuncture: Uses the ear as a micro system for the body. This style focuses on points in the ear that correspond to areas and disharmonies of the body. Auricular acupuncture is best known for it’s use to treat nicotine, drug and alcohol addictions.
Medical Acupuncture: Is acupuncture that is preformed by a Western Medical Doctor (MD). These Medical Doctors that perform acupuncture services did not have the full course work and training that a licensed acupuncturist had. A Medical Doctor performing acupuncture has gone through a 300 hour training course. By contrast a licensed acupuncturist has completed over 3000 hours of graduate work. By addressing the source of the problem and not just the signs and symptoms which is more akin to how western medicine works at times.
What other techniques might be used beside acupuncture?
Moxibustion: it a technique used by acupuncturists in which an herb called mugwort or Artemisia Vulgaris is gently burned either on or above the skin. It is used to warm the skin, increase circulation and stimulate acupuncture points.
Cupping: Is an ancient practice that helps to alleviate pain, soreness and stagnation in the body. This is achieved by the attachment of glass or plastic cups through suction onto the skin.