What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is the insertion of very fine needles into specific points on the body. The needles are solid, sterilized, single-use, and disposable. They are inserted into the muscle and surrounding tissue, not into nerves or blood vessels. By inserting these fine needles into the skin, the practitioner can redirect the flow of energy, or qi. By doing so, balance is restored to the body. While acupuncture can be used independently, it is only a part of a broader medical system. When used alone, acupuncture can be effective for treating a wide variety of symptoms, from pain to nicotine withdrawal. When used within the framework of the broader Chinese Medicine, however, it can be even more effective and treat many more physical and/or psychological conditions.
What is acupuncture used for?
The World Health Organization has put together a long list of conditions that acupuncture can treat, and this list is far from absolute.
Acid Reflux or GERD
Anxiety and Depression
Back, neck and joint pain and sciatica
Bronchitis and Tonsillitis
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Chronic fatigue and Fibromyalgia
Constipation or Dystentery
Digestive disorders including irritable and inflammatory bowel conditions
Dizziness and Vertigo
Ear infection/ringing or hearing loss
Headaches and Migraines
Lactation difficulties or Mastitis
Obesity or Weight loss
Pregnancy support and Postpartum care
And many more…
How Does Acupuncture Work?
There is no definitive answer to this question. Acupuncture needles initiate the release of endorphins, the body’s natural pain killers. The immune system is activated, as seen in the increase of white blood cell production, improving the body’s ability to fight infection. Neurotransmitter levels, as well as hormone levels have been shown to change. It is likely that all of these changes work together to create the healing response seen clinically.
From a Chinese Medicine perspective……
Healing is the result of the movement of qi. Qi is the life force in the body. It is the energy to get out of bed in the morning; it is what activates our physical, mental, and emotional selves.
Qi moves through the body in a series of “channels” that move from deep within our organs to the level of our skin. When there are blockages in the free-movement of qi, an imbalance is created and disease results. The acupuncturist uses the needles to encourage qi to move out of areas of congestion into areas that are vacuous. By doing so, balance is restored and the body returns to a state of health.
Is Acupuncture Painful?
Most people find that acupuncture is not as painful as they had imagined. The most common description of the sensation is that of an insect bite, followed by an achy or distended feeling that fades as the treatment goes on. The overall sensation is generally one of relaxation and possibly sleepiness.