What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is the insertion of thin, sterile, one-time use, disposable needles at precise locations on the body that creates a healing response. This form of healing is one aspect of the traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) practice that also includes herbal medicine, cupping, moxibustion, guasha, and qigong & taiqi (breath exercise).
How does it work?
The principles of TCM are modeled much after observations in our natural world – our bodies are merely smaller versions of our surroundings. Imbalance in the form of pain, emotional stress, and disease cause a disruption in the flow of qi (pronounced chee, translated to ‘energy’ or ‘life force’). Qi runs along specific pathways in our bodies called meridians or channels. When acupuncture is performed, qi can be restored, balanced, unblocked or invigorated to promote better health.
Modern science is unclear how acupuncture works. Much of the leading research suggests that with the insertion of the acupuncture needle, the localized trauma creates enough of a disturbance in the body that our nervous system and nerve impulses get triggered and begin to release the necessary chemicals and hormones into the body to heal imbalances.
Does it hurt?
Typically, the sensation of receiving acupuncture is quite mild. There can be many sensations associated with receiving acupuncture that are all “normal” – dull ache or heaviness to a sensation of movement or tingling all indicating the arrival of qi. Often a patient feels no discomfort at all and drifts into a state of relaxation when the needles are set.
What can acupuncture treat?
Acupuncture can treat a multitude of ailments and disorders. You do not have to have anything necessarily “wrong” to get acupuncture; it is a great way to get a tune-up of the system and relax the entire body to attain optimal health. However, here is a sampling of what is most commonly treated with acupuncture:
- Pain – chronic, acute – sprains/strains/traumas, osteoarthritis, neuralgia, sciatica, carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, bursitis, plantar fasciitis, etc.
- Mental/Emotional – symptoms of: stress, anxiety/depression, PTSD, ADD/ADHD, OCD, etc.
- Gynecology – fertility support, PMS, PCOS, endometriosis, amenorrhea, dysmenorrhea, menopausal symptoms, etc.
- GI Disorders – IBS, colitis, constipation/diarrhea, gastritis, acid reflux, etc.
- Respiratory – asthma, COPD, allergies, bronchitis, sinusitis, etc.
- Dermatology – psoriasis, eczema, acne, rosacea, hives, dermatitis, uticaria, etc.
- General health conditions – fatigue/lethargy, headaches/migraines, poor focus, memory/concentration, etc.
The use of Chinese herbs is as old as the medicine itself! This powerful tool is often combined with the use of acupuncture due to its incredible healing effects in the body. There are many forms that herbal remedies can be taken; ask your acupuncturist to see if herbs would be right for you.