What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a holistic healing used by Chinese people for thousands of years. Acupuncture is the insertion of very thin needles into specific points near the surface of the body called acupuncture points to help restore the body to its healthy state including but not limited to pain. The acupuncture encourages the body to promote natural healing. The points are chosen after a diagnosis is made according to the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine. This process unblocks areas where there is stagnation of energy caused by such factors as trauma, muscle pain, stress or diet. By restoring the proper harmony of yin and yang in the body, acupuncture can nourish energy that has either been deficient or stagnant. Acupuncture allows the body to regain its ability to heal itself.

How does acupuncture work?

According to the theory of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), There are 14 channels(meridians) run through the body and over the surface with Qi (or vital energy). They are like rivers flowing through the body to irrigate and nourish the tissues. An obstruction in the movement of these energy rivers is like a dam that backs up in others. Illness occurs because of an imbalance in the body’s flow of Qi or vital energy. When the Qi is free of flow without obstruction, then illness cannot take root. The meridians can be influenced by needling the acupuncture points; the acupuncture needles unblock the obstructions at the dams, and reestablish 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. Clearing the obstruction with acupuncture helps to relieve pain, increase circulation to the area, reduce inflammation and restore range of motion. Thus, acupuncture facilitates the body’s natural power to heal itself.

Does acupuncture hurt?

Every person’s experience and sensation felt is unique. Acupuncture needles are thin and are far smaller in diameter (and therefore less painful) than hypodermic injection needles. Typically the patient feels a slight prick when the needle is first inserted, and then another sensation at the site such as pressure, warmth, coolness, or tingling. These sensations indicate the Qi (energy) has been contacted and such contact is important in obtaining a good therapeutic response. These sensations do not tend to be uncomfortable. If there is discomfort, it is usually mild and passes quickly. Patients commonly report feeling very relaxed. However, some of the common sensations reported are: dullness, heaviness, tightness, soreness or electrical-like impulses traveling through the meridians. After the treatment is over, it is normal to continue experiencing the needling sensation. These sensations are related to the healing process.

How many treatments are needed?

No two patients are alike and therefore no two treatments are the same. Treatments are designed according to each individual’s condition. The number of treatments needed varies from person to person. Complex or chronic conditions may require two treatments a week for several months. On the other hand acute problems and very painful conditions, such as acute back strain, may require several visits within a short period of time – 2-3x/week for two to three weeks. The number of treatments also depends on how quickly the patient responds to the acupuncture; some people may begin noticing results after 2 sessions, while others need a series of sessions before experiencing significant benefit. In general, however, it may take 5-15 continued and consistent treatments to achieve desired results.

What conditions can acupuncture help?

Acupuncture has been effectively used to treat a wide range of health problems. The World Health Organization (WHO) and National Institute of Health (NIH) recognize acupuncture’s efficacy in the treatment of lots of medical conditions. The following is a partial list of conditions that acupuncture is appropriate according to WHO and NIH:
Musculo-Skeletal disorders: Pain management, arthritis, low back pain, Shoulder pain, neck pain, arthritis, muscle injury, carpal tunnel,Bursitis, sprains, tendonitis.
Neurologic: Bell’s palsy,TMJ, headache, migraine, sciatica, Parkinson’s disease, rib neuritis, fibromyalgia. Mental & Emotional: Stress, Insomnia, sleep disturbance, Anxiety, Depression, additions (quit smoking).
Internal: Colitis, constipation, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, indigestion, diarrhea, Chemotherapy nausea/vomiting, gastritis and hyperacidity, decreasing immunity.
Cardiac: High blood pressure, palpitation, cholesterol.
Eyes-Ears-Nose & Throat: Seasonal allergies, dizziness, ringing in the ears, sinus infection, sore throat, glaucoma.
Respiratory: Common cold, asthma, chest oppression, bronchitis.
Gynecological/Urological: Menopause, prostatitis, infertility, Painful menstruation, irregular periods or cramps, UTI, morning sickness.
Dermatological: Acne, aczema, psoriasis.

What is an Acupuncture treatment like?

Acupuncture needles are inserted on the body into specific acupuncture points. Depend the conditions; a weak electrical machine called E-Stim might be used to connect with the needles to help the treatment. The goal in Chinese Medicine is to establish free flow of Qi, Blood, and Fluids through the meridians and to strengthen your health and remove pain. The needles are then left in place for 30 to 45 minutes to promote relaxation, influence chemical and physiological changes, and generate analgesic effects by releasing the body’s natural painkillers called endorphins. The patient will experience relaxation and calmness during and after the treatment. Aside from using acupuncture needles, a combination of techniques consisting of acupressure (finger pressure without needles), moxibustion (burning of herbs), and weak electric stimulation can be used in an acupuncture treatment.

Is acupuncture safe?

Answer: Yes. Following the FDA guidelines, only sterile and single-use disposable acupuncture needles can be used for acupuncture treatment. The needles used are new and contained within their own sealed packaging.

Are the side effects?

Usually not. As energy is redirected in the body, internal chemicals and hormones are stimulated and healing begins to take place. Occasionally the original symptoms worsen for a few days, or other general changes in appetite, sleep, bowel or urination patterns, or emotional state may be triggered. These should not cause concern, as they are simply indications that the acupuncture is starting to work. It is quite common with the first one or two treatments to have a sensation of deep relaxation or even mild disorientation immediately following the treatment. These pass within a short time, and never require anything more than a bit of rest to overcome. The acupuncture is generally a very safe method of treatment, but occasionally there may be some side effects, including slight pain or discomfort at the site of needle insertion, bruises, weakness, dizziness, fainting, nausea, and aggravation of problematic systems existing prior to acupuncture treatment. There have been rare instances reported of fainting, infection.