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What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is an essential part of Traditional Chinese Medicine. It is based on ideas and theories formulated over thousands of years. Acupuncture is the insertion of very fine needles into specific sites on the body chosen according to the guiding principles of Traditional Oriental Medicine. Needles may also be used with an application of moxibustion, an herbal heat source. Or sometimes, an electrical pulse is combined with the needles for increased stimulation.
How and where the needles are inserted encourages the body to promote natural healing by enhancing recuperative power, immunity, physical and emotional health and improves overall function and well-being. Acupuncture balances and maintains our health in a natural way.
How long has Acupuncture been practiced?
As a system of medicine, acupuncture is over 2500 years old, and may have been practiced in China in a rudimentary form 5,000, even 7,000 years ago. The practice of acupuncture has evolved and changed in the last 2500 years - many new techniques have been developed, and continue to be developed today.
Is Acupuncture treatment safe?
Yes. Only sterile disposable needles are used. Because of the training an Acupuncturist receives, acupuncture is very safe. If a comprehensively trained acupuncturist performs the treatment, your safety is assured.
Is Acupuncture painful?
Acupuncture needles are very thin. Most people do not find the insertion of such hair fine needles to be painful. Acupuncture needles are hair fine, unlike injection needles, which are thicker, hollow and have cutting edges. This is why acupuncture feels nothing like getting a shot or having blood drawn.
What conditions can acupuncture treat?
Acupuncture is used for a broad range of health issues including chronic and degenerative diseases as well as acute conditions and pain. Acupuncture can benefit the immune system by strengthening it if it is weak, or by moderating it if it is overactive. The following list is just a sample of health issues treated with acupuncture:
Note: The above includes the more common ailments treated. It is not a complete list. If your ailment does not appear on this list, it does not mean it can not be treated by acupuncture. Please contact me to discuss it.
Why should I try Acupuncture?
Acupuncture can relieve the symptoms of your health issue, strengthen your body's resistance to disease, and restore balance and normal function to your system. There are also many beneficial side effects to acupuncture. Patients report that most of the time they:
Miss fewer work days
Get along better with others
Have less pain
Have more energy
Are more focused
Can work better
How does Acupuncture work?
The Traditional Chinese Medicine explanation of how acupuncture works is that channels, or meridians, of energy run in regular patterns throughout the body and over its surface. These energy channels flow through the body to irrigate and nourish the tissues and organs. An obstruction in the movement of the energy is like a dam that can cause obstruction in the flow of blood, bodily fluids and metabolic waste, thereby creating imbalances in the body.
Needling the acupuncture points can influence the meridian by unblocking the obstructions and re-establishing a healthy flow through the meridians. Since the meridians link with the organs, a treatment can therefore, also help to improve the function of the internal organs. The improved energy flow and biochemical balance produced by acupuncture results in stimulating the body's natural healing abilities and in promoting physical and emotional well being.
Western science has also suggested several theories for how Acupuncture works, including (1) conduction of electromagnetic signals, (2) activation of opioid systems, and (3) changes in brain chemistry, sensation, and involuntary bodily functions. (NCCAM Research Study, 2002.)
What are the theories of how Acupuncture works?
Scientists have no comprehensive answer as to how acupuncture works. Here is a list of a few currently proposed theories:
1. By a yet to be determined process, acupuncture raises levels of triglycerides, specific hormones, prostaglandins, white blood counts, gamma globulins, opsonins, and overall anti-body levels. This is called the "Augmentation of Immunity" Theory.
2. The "Endorphin" Theory states that acupuncture stimulates the secretions of endorphins in the body (specifically Enkaphalins).
3. The "Neurotransmitter" Theory states that certain neurotransmitter levels (such as Seratonin and Noradrenaline) are positively affected by acupuncture.
4. The "Circulatory" Theory holds that acupuncture has the effect of constriction or dilation of blood vessels. This may be caused by the body's release of Vasodilaters (such as Histamine), in response to acupuncture.
5. "Gate" Theory states that the perception of pain is controlled by a part of the nervous system that regulates the impulse, which will later be interpreted as pain. This part of the nervous system is called the "Gate". If the gate is hit with too many impulses, it is overwhelmed and closes, preventing the pain impulse from getting through. Acupuncture treats the smallest gates and nerve fibers which are the ones first affected.
What is an Acupuncture treatment like?
You may feel a slight sensation resembling a pinch or a mosquito bite when the needle is inserted. Once the needles are placed there may be a slight tingling, numbness or heaviness in the area while the practitioner is stimulating the point. These are positive signs that the needles are affecting the acupuncture point. Usually you will be lying on a comfortable padded table or in an easy chair. Often, people become very relaxed and fall into a light sleep during the session.
What can I expect when I go to an Acupuncturist?
The Acupuncturist will ask you a series of questions and do a full health history in order to find out the underlying cause of your health issue or disorder. The Acupuncturist will ask about your symptoms, health and life-style. Afterward the Acupuncturist will examine your tongue, feel your pulses and palpate various parts of your body. This helps the Acupuncturist find patterns that tell which organs and meridians are out of balance. With this information the Acupuncturist will identify a pattern of disharmo
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