What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is one aspect of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), one of the oldest healing systems known. Developed and refined over the last 4,000 years, it employs the elements of nature to explain how all bodily functions interrelate.
Acupuncture has been accepted into the Western mainstream culture since the 1970’s and is currently soaring in popularity throughout many parts of the Western hemisphere. Through the use of extremely fine needles, acupuncture works by manipulating the flow of Qi (pronounced “chee”) in the body, which is the life force or energy force that is present in all living things. Acupuncture theory suggests that there are 12 main meridians through which Qi flows. These meridians correspond to the major internal organs of the body. For instance, there is a Liver meridian, a Heart meridian, and so on. In each of these meridians, the Qi can become stagnant or deficient. Stagnant Qi means that there is a blockage or excess of energy, which can cause a variety of symptoms including pain, inflammation, headaches, high blood pressure, depression, and menstrual imbalances. Deficient Qi means that there isn’t enough functional energy within a given organ to perform its necessary duties. For instance, chronic diarrhea and fatigue can easily be caused by deficient Qi of the Spleen.
Acupuncture therapy typically involves inserting needles into several acupoints, which are specific locations on the meridians where Qi is said to gather. By manipulating the flow of Qi on a given meridian, stagnant Qi can be dispersed and deficient Qi can be tonified. As a result, the symptoms that correspond to these underlying energetic imbalances should naturally improve. There are 365 acupoints on the 12 meridians, along with numerous ‘extra points’ that are located throughout the body. There are also microsystems such as the ear, eye, scalp, and hand. Some acupuncturists will only use these specific areas regardless of the nature of the patient’s complaints.
From a Western biomedical perspective, acupuncture has been proven to release the neurotransmitter serotonin and beta-endorphins, opiate-like substances made by the brain. Serotonin balance is essential for emotional and mental health and has been linked to healthy eating patterns, sleeping patterns, and the degree of pain in the body. Beta-endorphins are analgesic and anti-inflammatory and are responsible for the ‘runner’s high’, which is why acupuncture can induce similar sensations.
Does acupuncture hurt?
Acupuncture should be a relatively pain-free experience. There are times where the initial insertion will be felt by the patient, but there is never an occasion where the patient should be in pain through the duration of the treatment. Acupuncture can cause dull achiness, heaviness, tingling, heat, and increased sensation around the area needled. Almost always, these sensations are accompanied by a deep quality of relaxation and tranquility. Acupuncture should be a relaxing experience. In fact, this is one of its therapeutic benefits. This deep relaxation tends to stay with the patient longer through successive treatments.
Is it safe?
Yes, it is. For safety purposes the needles are individually packaged and sterile, and are disposed of after one use.
What does a treatment plan entail?
Everyone responds very differently to acupuncture treatment and so each individual’s treatment plan will be based on the practitioner’s recommendation following the initial visit. Frequently patients will be advised to schedule treatments 2 or 3 times weekly for the first few weeks to get the best result. After the initial course of treatment, we will assess progress and discuss how to proceed. If someone has extremely chronic and severe symptoms, it is not uncommon for them to require an extended treatment plan. I encourage the body to heal over a period of time, as excessively rapid progress can put the body into a state of shock. If something has accumulated over a period of years, it is only natural that it will take some time to unravel the condition and heal it at its foundation.
While no therapy can help everyone, my clinical experience has been that most of my patients undergo noticeably positive changes through their course of treatment. Compliance is an important factor in treatment progress. Generally, patients that commit to lifestyle suggestions will progress more rapidly.
How long is each visit?
The first visit is typically 75 minutes. We do a complete health history and examination as well as an assessment of your health problem. Your first visit will include an acupuncture treatment. Follow-up visits last about an hour.
How long will the needles stay in?
The needles will generally be left in for 35 to 45 minutes. During this time, you get to relax.
What should I wear?
Please arrive to your appointment wearing comfortable, loose clothes that can easily be rolled up just above the elbows and knees.
Are there any special instructions to follow after the treatment?
Plan to take it easy after your treatment. Most patients report they feel energized and a sense of well being afterwards. Most patients also sleep great the night following their treatment.
What can traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture treat?
What is acupuncture point injection therapy?
Acupuncture point injection therapy is a technique developed on Traditional Chinese Medicine principles which consists of injecting natural substances (such as vitamins, herbal extracts or homeopathic solutions) into acupuncture points in order to reduce pain, improve circulation and promote overall health and well-being.
The benefits of point injection therapy is that it provides faster results and better clinical outcome by enhancing and prolonging the effect of stimulation of acupuncture points coupled with the pharmacological effects of the substances injected.
We offer Traumeel, Zeel and Spascupreel injections either individually or in combination in order to address muscular and arthritic pain, inflammation, stiffness, and muscle spasms and cramping. Your practitioner will determine the correct formulation for you.
Engystol is injected to strengthen immunity and prevent colds and flu. It can also be helpful in reducing cold and flu symptoms and speeding recovery once you’re already sick.
B12 injections support nerve and neurological health. B12 is recommended for anemia, mood changes and depression, poor memory and fatigue.
Commonly Treated Conditions
Some of the issues most commonly treated with acupuncture are listed below. If there’s a condition you don’t see listed, please don’t hesitate to ask if acupuncture can help you.
- Cigarette smoking (ask about our smoking cessation package)
- Hot Flashes
- High Cholesterol
- Type II diabetes
- Heart disease
- Thyroid Imbalances – Hypo- or Hyper-thyroid
Emotional & psychological disorders
- Stress symptoms
- Mild depression
- Worry or Anxiety
- SAD (seasonal affected disorder)
- PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder)
- Panic attacks
- Mild manic-depressive symptoms
- Digestive disorders such as chronic constipation or diarrhea
- Abdominal pain and discomfort
- Acid reflux and heartburn
- Ulcerative colitis
- IBS (irritable bowel syndrome)
- Weight loss
- Nausea and vomiting
- Women’s health issues such as heavy or irregular periods
- PMS symptoms
- Post-partum fatigue and depression
- Menopausal symptoms
- Including migraines
- Acute or chronic pain such as pain in the back, neck, shoulder and knee
- Arthritis pain
- Joint pain
- Muscle aches
- Numbness & tingling
- Sports Injuries
- Common colds and flu
- Chronic cough
- Sore throat
- Restless sleep
- Frequent Waking
- Urinary tract infections
- Kidney stones
- Frequent urination
- Sexual dysfunction
- Nighttime urination
- Prostate disorders
The best part about Chinese Medicine is that it’s great preventative medicine. No need to wait until you are sick. Acupuncture can be used preventatively, especially if you are prone to frequent colds or flu. Furthermore, it is remarkably relaxing and works well as a technique for rejuvenation and stress relief.
…so keep yourself well. Call (970)309-9253 for an appointment today!