is a form of treatment that involves inserting very thin needles through a person's skin at specific points on the body, to various depths.
How does it work?Traditional Chinese medicine explains that health is the result of a harmonious balance of the complementary extremes of "yin" and "yang" of the life force known as "qi," pronounced "chi." Illness is said to be the consequence of an imbalance of the forces. Qi is said to flow through meridians, or pathways, in the human body. These meridiens and energy flows are accessible through 350 acupuncture points in the body.
Inserting needles into these points with appropriate combinations is said to bring the energy flow back into proper balance.
Uses of Acupuncture Acupuncture is said to be useful in addressing a variety of health conditions, including:
Chronic Pain (such as headaches, back pain, neck pain)
Stress and anxiety
Some people use acupuncture to promote fertility. It is also used to quit smoking and as a component of the treatment for other addictions.
What a Typical Acupuncture Treatment is Like We begin your visit by asking me inquirung about your health concerns, diet, sleep, stress level, and other lifestyle habits. You may be asked about your emotions, appetite, food likes and dislikes, and response to changes in temperature and seasons. I will further examine your appearance carefully, noting your complexion, voice, and tongue color and coating. In Chinese medicine, the tongue and pulses are considered to reflect the health of your organ systems and meridians.
Typically, I will use 6 and up to 15 tiny needles per treatment (the number of needles doesn't indicate the intensity of the treatment). The needles are often left in for 10 to 20 minutes. At some points and depending on what we are working on i may twist the needles to add extra effect!
Additional techniques during your session may include;
Moxibustion - Also known as "moxa," moxibustion involves the use of heated sticks (made from dried herbs) held near the acupuncture needles to warm and stimulate the acupuncture points.
Cupping - Special cups are applied to the skin so that there is a suction effect. In TCM theory, cupping is used to relieve stagnation of qi and blood.
Electroacupuncture - An electrical device is connected to the acupuncture needles, providing a weak electrical current that stimulates the acupuncture needles during the treatment.
Ear acupuncture - Also known as auricular acupuncture, is sometimes used during the treatment for weight loss, smoking cessation, addictions, and anxiety.
Although the length of the acupuncture session can vary from a few minutes to over an hour, the typical treatment length is 20 to 30 minutes. The initial visit may take up to 60 minutes.
After the treatment, some people feel relaxed (or even sleepy), while others feel energetic. If you experience any unusual symptoms, you should consult your doctor.
Does Acupuncture Hurt? You may feel a slight sting, pinch, ache, or some pain as the acupuncture needle is being inserted. Some acupuncturists manipulate the acupuncture needle after it has been placed in the body, by twirling or rotating the needle, moving it up and down, or using a machine with a small electric pulse or current. Some acupuncturists consider the resulting tingling, numbness, heavy sensation, or ache (known as "de qi") desirable in achieving the therapeutic effect.
If you experience pain, numbness, or discomfort during the treatment, you should notify your acupuncturist immediately.
Side Effects of Acupuncture As with any treatment, acupuncture does pose some risks, the most common being pain and bleeding from the insertion of acupuncture needles. Other adverse effects can include skin rashes, allergic reactions, bruising, pain, bleeding, nausea, dizziness, fainting, or infections. In order to reduce the risk of serious adverse effects, acupuncture should always be administered by a licensed and properly trained practitioner using sterile, disposable needles.
The Takeaway If you are having difficulty managing pain or other health issues with conventional methods, acupuncture may be worth a try. Just be sure to check with your doctor first to discuss whether it's appropriate for you.