What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a means of adjusting the body’s life energy (chi or Qi) through the insertion of fine needles into carefully selected acupuncture points along the meridians of the body. The needles, which have a rounded end rather than a sharp cutting one, are inserted into the points and are then manipulated with a gentle pumping action, by twirling or leaving in place for a few minutes. These motions stimulate the flow of energy and remove blockages so that the Qi can be dispersed and regulated. When the Qi is flowing properly throughout the body, the balance is restored and improved health results.
How does Acupuncture work?
Although many theories have been presented, there is still no easy answer as to exactly how acupuncture works. The “Gate Control” theory suggests that pain impulses are blocked from reaching the spinal cord or brain at various “gates” to these areas. Since a majority of acupuncture points are either located near, or connected to neural structures, this suggests that acupuncture stimulates the nervous system to “shut the gate” to the sensation of pain. Other theories suggest that acupuncture stimulates the body to produce narcotic like substances such as endorphins and opiods which, when released into the body, relieve pain. One thing is certain, although we may not know precisely how it works, studies have shown that it does work for a large majority.
Does it hurt?
The sensation of receiving an acupuncture treatment can rarely be described as painful. Now that is not to say that it is devoid of sensation. But, generally the feeling is more of a tingling. Acupuncture needles have a doweled end and therefore do not cut the skin as regular injection needles do. Following treatment it is common for the patient to feel a tremendous sense of relaxation, and/or exhilaration.
Is it safe?
This is a very common question among those who have never experienced an acupuncture treatment. When practiced by a licensed, trained acupuncturist, acupuncture is extremely safe and there is no danger whatsoever.
Are the needles clean?
It is in our own interest, as much as in the patient’s, to use extreme caution. For this reason, we use disposable needles which can be discarded following the treatment of each patient.
How many treatments will I need?
The total number of treatments required to result in change in a condition varies dependent upon the disease, and it’s severity, the duration of the illness, the frequency of the treatments and the patient themselves. However, as a rough guideline, the maximum benefit is usually obtained after approximately six treatments at weekly intervals. Three more treatments at three month intervals followed by one or two occasional treatments may be recommended to prevent recurrence.
Are there any side effects or complications?
As previously mentioned, acupuncture is an extremely safe method of treatment, and as such, side effects and complications are extremely rare when treated. However, a small number of patients do have reactions to the procedure which may include nausea, lightheadedness and fainting. As in any matter pertaining to health, any concerns should be discussed with the practitioner prior to treatment and following treatment to ensure maximum effectiveness.
Can children receive acupuncture?
Yes, children can receive acupuncture and often have excellent results with this treatment. However, in cases where the children are uneasy about the needles, we may choose to use an acupressure treatment (massage of the acupoints), as opposed to acupuncture.
What is Chinese herbal treatment?
Chinese herbal medicine, also known as Chinese herbology is one of the primary modalities within the scope of Oriental medicine. Chinese herbology includes treatment with substances such as plants, roots, minerals and more. Like acupuncture, Chinese herbology has evolved as an integral part of Chinese medicine and is used to re-harmonize imbalances in the body.