||Services : Acupuncture
What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is one of the oldest, most commonly used medical procedures in the world. A major component of the traditional Chinese health care system, it has been practiced clinically for at least 2500 years and is used widely throughout Asia and Europe today. Acupuncture works with the natural vital energy inherent within all living things to promote the body's ability to heal itself. Acupuncture is probably the most famous modality within the umbrella system of Oriental medicine, which utilizes other techniques, such as herbal medicine, moxabustion, cupping, exercise and nutritional advice.
In recent years, acupuncture has gained acceptance in the West as scientific research confirms its effectiveness. In fact, almost 12 million patients are treated with acupuncture each year in this country. Acupuncture refers to the practice of inserting tiny threadlike needles at key points on the body. Acupuncture points are specific sites along the meridians. The meridian network is very complex, flowing throughout the surface of the body and deeper into the soft tissue and organs. Each point has a predictable effect upon the vital energy passing through it. Modern science has measured the electrical charge at these points, corroborating the locations of meridians. Acupuncture focuses on strengthening the physical condition, harmonizing the emotions, preventing disease, controlling pain, and promoting longevity. The goal of acupuncture treatment goes beyond alleviating or merely masking symptoms; it is to enhance the patient’s overall health and quality of life.
While western medicine is based upon a biochemical model, oriental medicine is based on an energetic model: a vital energy behind all life forms and functions that the ancient Chinese recognized and labeled “Qi” (pronounced ‘chee’). Acupuncture is an important method of balancing and regulating the activity of Qi in the body. Qi is the normal functional energy associated with all living processes. It flows through the body in the meridians. Disease occurs when the flow of Qi is disrupted in one or more meridians or areas of the body. Blockage or an irregular flow of Qi can result in pain, numbness, dysfunction of organs or uncomfortable emotions such as depression or frustration. When one sprains an ankle, for example, there may be pain alongside the entire leg, not just in the ankle. This is obstruction of the Qi from trauma. Although western science has not discovered a physiological understanding of the mechanics of the meridian system and specifically HOW acupuncture works, we do know the following:
- Acupuncture has the affect of stimulating the peripheral nerves, which send messages into the central nervous system along the spinal cord and into the brain.
- We are able to measure the effects of acupuncture stimulation by measuring and recording the various chemistry and electrical changes that result in the brain. So far, research has shown that acupuncture stimulation prompts a release of endorphins as well as other neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, can be associated with a host of brain changes and health benefits.
- From a western medical viewpoint, acupuncture stimulates blood circulation by dilating blood vessels all over the body. It has a regulating impact on the immune system, and likely also has a regulating impact on certain endocrine functions, which may be why acupuncture is so helpful in treating menstrual disorders and promoting fertility.
What Should You Expect in Treatment?
Most patients find the treatment very relaxing, with an accompanying
feeling of well being. Most are surprised at how comfortable they
feel during treatment and how easily the needles are placed. Many
people even fall sleep during treatment. A patient may feel a slight
sensation upon entry and then a pressure or a "dull" or
'''surging" reaction when the needle reaches the Qi or correct
point. Acupuncture needles are far different from the hypodermic
needles used for injections. The tiny, thin needles used in acupuncture
treatments are specifically designed to be virtually painless.
What if I do not like the idea of being stuck with needles?
Several other methods, which do not require the use of needles,
can be used. These methods include sonipuncture--the use of tuning
forks to stimulate points along the meridian and laser acupuncture.
Meridian Sound Therapy
Meridian sound therapy is a deeply relaxing and energizing form
of treatment consisting of sonipuncture, gongs and Tibetan bowls.
Sonipuncture is a non-needle form of acupuncture that utilizes
tuning forks in place of needles to stimulate acupuncture points.
Sound travels through the meridians--energetic grids of the body--to
relieve muscle tension, gently tonify internal organs and provide
an overall sense of harmony and well-being.
How many treatments are necessary?
Each person is unique with an individualized treatment plan. No
two conditions or people respond exactly the same. Some problems
may be resolved within two to five treatments, others, such as
chronic conditions, may require many months of care. The length
of treatment depends on the type, severity and the physical state
at the time of treatment. In lengthy cases, periodic evaluations
are given to assess progress. In order to get the best therapeutic
results it is important to follow the treatment plan and recommendations
carefully. It is also vital to complete the entire course of therapy
to restore health.
What are the advantages of acupuncture?
Acupuncture effectively treats a variety of health complaints
with minimal to no adverse side effects. Acupuncture not only works
to alleviate pain and other health disorders, but it helps the
body to re-establish balance, enhance the immune system and reduce
stress. Acupuncture can be used to treat already existing conditions
and can be used preventively in coordination with a good diet
and a healthy lifestyle to prevent more serious conditions from
What types of illnesses can acupuncture treat?
- Nausea of pregnancy
- Postoperative dental pain
- Stroke rehabilitation
- Headaches (including migraines)
- Menstrual cramps
- Tennis elbow
- Low back pain
- Myofascial pain
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Headaches and Migraine
- "Frozen Shoulder"
- Peripheral neuropathies
- Gastric hyperacidity
- Constipation and diarrhea
- Acute sinusitis • Sciatica
- Acute and chronic sports injuries
Meridians and Qi:
Acupuncture is an important method of balancing and regulating
the activity of Qi in the body. Qi is the normal functional energy
associated with all living processes. It flows through the body
in the meridians. Disease occurs when the flow of Qi is disrupted
in one or more meridians or areas of the body. Blockage or an irregular
flow of Qi can result in pain, numbness, dysfunction of organs
or uncomfortable emotions such as depression or frustration. When
one sprains an ankle, for example, there may be pain alongside
of the leg, not just in the ankle, but all the way to the hip,
even. This is obstruction of the Qi from trauma.
Qi is also understood to be the life force-an insufficiency of
Qi (or an excess) results in disease and the total absence of Qi
results in death. Good health is completely dependent upon a balanced
distribution of Qi throughout the meridian network that influences
the organs and bodily systems: skeletal, muscular, endocrine, circulatory,
digestive, respiratory, urinary, reproductive, and nervous. When
Qi flows smoothly and harmoniously throughout the meridians, each
bodily system and organ interacts in a like manner.
Several thousand years ago Chinese physicians discovered that
Qi, the vital force, circulates throughout the body along fourteen
major channels, twelve of which are duplicated on the left and
right sides of the body. The two other major channels are located
in the center of the body, one in the front, and the other in the
back. There are a number of so-called extra channels and miscellaneous
channels throughout the body. Today, English-speaking acupuncturists
usually call the channels “meridians”. Meridians form
a highly complex invisible network transporting and directing Qi
to every part of the body including the head, arms, legs, torso,
and organs. Good health depends on a balanced circulation of Qi
throughout the meridians. Over centuries of trial and error and
meticulous observation, the Chinese accurately mapped the locations
of the meridians and identified hundreds of specific points in
the meridians where Qi can be accessed and stimulated when there
is an aberration of flow. Those points are commonly called “acupoints”.