What is it?
Acupuncture is a method of encouraging the body to use its resources in the most efficient and beneficial way. It promotes the natural healing ability of the body and improves its functioning. Through the use of exceedingly thin filiform needles acupuncture influences the flow of qi (see About Oriental Medicine). Acupuncture balances the energies in the body generally leading to a relaxed yet revitalized state.
The healing power of acupuncture
Our health is dependent on the smooth flow of energy, blood and fluids in the body. When this natural flow is blocked or disrupted an imbalance occurs that affects a person physically, mentally or spiritually causing disease. Disruptions and imbalance can occur suddenly through trauma or over time due to diet, life style or other factors. With the use of fine sterile single-use needles acupuncture manipulates energy that run in channels throughout the body. By stimulating specific points, each having a precise healing action, it eases blockages to restore the harmonious flow of energy throughout the body, thus relieving pain or discomfort. The practitioner seeks to address the underlying cause as well as the symptoms. In this way, the body's own healing response is activated, raising energy and promoting long term change.
Studies have led the National Institute of Health (NIH) to the consensus that acupuncture is an effective treatment for adult postoperative and chemotherapy nausea and vomiting, postoperative dental pain, addiction, stroke rehabilitation, headache, menstrual cramps, tennis elbow, fibromyalgia, myofascial pain, osteoarthritis, low back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and asthma. However this is only a partial list that is based on research studies. Clinical experience demonstrates that acupuncture can address numerous health concerns. Because Oriental Medicine does not divide the body and the mind, both physical and emotional difficulties can be addressed.
Though studies have repeatedly shown the efficacy of acupuncture, we have not unraveled the biochemical mechanism through which it works. Theories include affects on the nervous system, stimulation of endorphins, and affects on the fascia. Research continues to prove acupuncture to be an effective treatment in more and more areas.
What to expect
On a first visit the practitioner will interview extensively to get a complete picture of how your body is working. Though many questions may seem to be irrelevant to your complaint, the information helps to find the underlying cause allowing the practitioner to choose the most beneficial points for treatment. Pulses on both wrists give an indication of the qi and blood flow through the various organ systems. The tongue will be viewed as it indicates the amount of heat in the body, the state of fluids in the body and the progression of the disease.
Acupuncture needles are exceedingly thin. There may be a slight prick as the needle is inserted. A feeling of warmth, tingling either at the needle site or radiating from it is a sign that qi or energy is moving. People usually find that acupuncture treatments are very relaxing.