Acupuncture Q & A
- How does acupuncture work?
Acupuncture is a component of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), which originated in China more than 5,000 years ago. Based on the principles of traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture is a safe, natural and effective type of therapy that involves the insertion of hair-thin needles into the skin at precise points, known as acupuncture points.
The traditional Chinese believe that Qi (the universal life force energy) flows throughout our bodies in channels called meridians.The meridians serve to connect the interior organs of the body with the exterior points on the skin. Any misdirection, blockage, or other derangement of the amount, flow, or balance of Qi may result in pain, dysfunction and illness. By using acupuncture needles or other means, the acupuncturist stimulates specific points, called acupoints, along the meridians. Such stimulation helps to restore the balance and normal flow of the body’s Qi energy, so organs and bodily systems can work together in great harmony as intended. This harmony allows the body to repair itself and maintain its innate balance and health.
In modern “Neurotransmitter Theory”, acupuncture affects higher brain areas, stimulating the secretion of endorphins in the brain, which are the body's natural pain medication hormones. Acupuncture has been scientifically shown to reduce pain and inflammation, improve blood circulation and nerve conduction, promote tissue healing, reduce stress and anxiety, and help control addictions.
- What types of needles are used for acupuncture?
Modern acupuncture needles are usually made from stainless steel. They are ultra-fine and flexible, permitting a nearly painlessinsertion. To prevent disease transmission, acupuncture needles are pre-packaged, single-use, disposable and sterile, and discarded immediately after use. People are often surprised and relieved to find that acupuncture needles are extremely thin and solid, with a doweled end, not a cutting end like most hypodermic needles. Therefore, acupuncture needles are far less likely to cause tissue damage or bruising when inserted. Acupuncture aims to restore and maintain the body's natural healing abilities, without side effects. Acupuncture is a very safe therapy when performed by a skilled practitioner, even though it involves needles.
- Is acupuncture painful? What does it feel like?
While everyone experiences acupuncture differently, most people find that acupuncture is a very comfortable and relaxing procedure. The needles used are so thin that most people barely feel a thing upon insertion. Most of the time acupuncture produces some kind of sensation at the site of needling, such as numbness, heaviness, tingling, dull aching, distention, soreness, warmth or an electric sensation. This moment is when a person literally feels an acupuncture point working, known in traditional acupuncture term as “De Qi” (obtaining of Qi).
- Which diseases can be helped by acupuncture?
Acupuncture is extremely successful in the treatment of a multitude of conditions. Many people try acupuncture as a "last resort" to serious and complex medical problems, and find that it can help them when other treatments could not.
The most common ailments people present themselves to an acupuncturist tend to be pain related condition, e.g. arthritis, migraines, back, neck, knee joint and shoulder pain, and nerve pain such as sciatica and carpal tunnel syndrome.
However, traditional Chinese medicine is a complete medical system that is capable of diagnosing and successfully treating a wide range of conditions.The following conditions have been recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) as treatable by acupuncture.
|Anxiety and Depression||Headache/Migraine|
|Arthritis and Joint problems||Health Maintenance|
|Back Pain||High Blood Pressure|
|Bell's Palsy||Immune System Deficiency|
|Bladder and Kidney Problems||Impotency|
|Carpal Tunnel Syndrome||Infertility|
|Chemotherapy Side Effects||Irregular Menstruation|
|Chronic Fatigue||Morning Sickness|
|Chronic Sinusitis||Neck and Shoulder Problems|
|Constipation and Diarrhea||Numbness|
|Cough and Bronchitis||PMS and Menstrual Cramps|
|Deafness||Radiotherapy Side Effects|
|Fever||Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome|
Many more conditions and diseases can be treated or cured by the Traditional Chinese Medicine.
- How long does an acupuncture treatment take? How many visits are required?
Acupuncture is usually given in a series of treatments. The initial session takes about an hour, including an in-depth consultation. Subsequent sessions take about 45 minutes.
The response to acupuncture varies greatly from individual to individual. The number of visits to the acupuncturist varies as well, with some conditions improved in one or two sessions and others requiring a series of six or more visits over the course of weeks or months. The determining factors include the type of conditions, whether the conditions are chronic or acute, and the individual response to the treatment.
We recommend that you continue to take extra care of your health even after completing treatment. Just like you regularly care for your car and maintain your home, you should also regularly care for your body and maintain a healthy lifestyle.