Acupuncture

Did you know that Acupuncture can be used for a variety of issues from pain, constipation, insomnia, arthritis, stroke recovery, chemotherapy side effects, and even certain chemical addictions? Although known to man for over 3,000 years, western medicine is just beginning to understand the benefits of this fascinating tool.

The Chinese texts describe channels of energy, called meridians, that flow throughout the body in regular patterns, a system similar to the circulatory system or the nervous system. These meridians have corresponding parts of the body in different organ systems. Flowing through these meridians is Qi (pronounced Chee), or energy. Qi is the fundamental concept behind the Chinese and Eastern justification for the function of acupuncture. Acupuncture stimulates the vital force of the body, balancing the Qi by working with the meridians of the body. Disease, defined in acupuncture as the imbalance in the flow of Qi, may result from blockage of the meridians or a deficiency of energy. The goal of the treatment is to balance any disharmonies within the body and restore the vital force or Qi to an optimum level.

One of the most fascinating modern discoveries regarding acupuncture is that each acupuncture point corresponds to a specialized nerve. Nerve fibers are stimulated with acupuncture, which results in a nerve impulse being sent to the spinal cord. One effect of such stimulation is the release of chemicals known as endorphins that help reduce or block pain and increase relaxation. Another effect is the release of adrenocorticotropic hormone, or ACTH, a stress reducing hormone.

An acupuncture visit begins the same as a traditional office visit. You’re asked about your current symptoms, but in addition, your tongue and pulses will be evaluated and some additional questions will be asked to confirm for the physician that the right combination of points, from the Traditional Chinese Medicine perspective, are chosen for your treatment. The combination of the acupuncture points are individually designed according to your specific symptoms and can vary in location. Some points are directly at the site of the issue. For example, if you are having back pain they may be placed along your back. There may be other points that support back pain, such as the hand or elsewhere, that also help.

Acupuncture is essentially painless. Some people experience a slight pinch as the needle is inserted, while others feel nothing. The needles typically remain in place for 20 to 30 minutes a visit. Many patients report a deep sense of relaxation during, and even after, the treatment. Most people experience both immediate relief as well as lasting effects, although it may vary depending on the frequency of treatments.

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