What is it?
Acupuncture is part of a system of medicine that has been used and refined over thousands of years. Ancient Chinese theories explain that illness and pain result when the flow of our qi (energy) is disrupted. By restoring the healthy flow of qi, acupuncture can resolve pain and improve health. Hair-thin needles are inserted at specific points in the body which have been empirically proven effective in the treatment of specific disorders. Modern research shows that this triggers a change in the body’s internal chemistry by releasing endorphins, corticosteroids and other chemicals that modulate pain relief, reduce inflammation and stimulate healing. It is an economical, low-risk therapy. Any “side effects” are generally beneficial, such as feeling calmer, more relaxed, and more peace of mind.
What can acupuncture treat?
Acupuncture therapy is part of a complete system of medicine designed to correct problems by bringing the various systems of the body into balance and optimal function. The list of disorders responding to acupuncture is quite extensive, with the World Health Organization recognizing dozens of appropriate applications. Some of the more common conditions treated with acupuncture are:
- Any pain, chronic or acute, such as headaches, migraines, shoulder and neck tension or pain, spasms, arthritis, sciatica, back pain, trigeminal neuralgia, tennis elbow, carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, knee pain, foot pain
- Respiratory problems, such as asthma, allergies, bronchitis, coughs, shortness of breath, hayfever, sinusitis, common cold, sore throat
- Digestive problems, such as diarrhea, constipation, nausea, reflux
- Stress, depression, insomnia, anxiety
- Autoimmune disorders, fibromyalgia, colitis
- Bladder irritation, hemorrhoids
- Painful or irregular menstruation, PMS, menopausal discomfort, fertility issues
- Help with quitting smoking or other addictions
Does it hurt? How will I feel?
Acupuncture is not at all like our painful memories of “getting a shot” from the doctor when we were little! In fact, most people find that the treatments are very restful, and they leave the clinic feeling relaxed and with a sense of well-being.
The needles are hair-fine and shaped in such a way as to push tissue cells aside rather than break through them. Also, our gentle insertion techniques minimize any slight pricking sensation as the needle enters the skin. You may not feel it at all, or you may briefly feel some heaviness or tingling either around the needle or traveling along the affected meridian.
The needles are presterilized and disposed of after a single use.
How many treatments will I need?
That depends on the duration, severity, and nature of the complaint. Many acute conditions require only one or two treatments, while serious chronic problems may require 10 or more treatments. People usually find that as they have more treatments, their periods of feeling better last longer and longer, and their appointments can be scheduled farther and farther apart. You can expect that your major complaint will be addressed and treated in a direct and timely manner.