Acupuncture is a holistic form of medical practice. Acupuncture can enhance recuperative power and immunity, support physical and emotional health, and improve general function and well-being. Overall, acupuncture is a safe, painless, and effective way to treat a wide variety of medical problems.
For a more direct description: “Acupuncture is the practice of penetrating the skin with thin, solid, metallic needles which are then activated through gentle and specific movements of the practitioner’s hands or with electrical stimulation.”
Acupuncture points are believed to stimulate the central nervous system. This in turn releases chemicals into the muscles, spinal cord, and brain. These biochemical changes may stimulate the body’s natural healing abilities and promote physical and emotional well-being.
Acupuncture is part of the ancient practice of Traditional Chinese medicine. Traditional Chinese medicine practitioners believe the human body has more than 2,000 acupuncture points connected by pathways or meridians. These pathways create an energy flow (Qi, pronounced “chee”) through the body that is responsible for overall health. Disruption of the energy flow can cause disease. By applying acupuncture to certain points, it is thought to improve the flow of Qi, thereby improving health.
Physical and emotional trauma, stress, lack of exercise, overexertion, seasonal changes, poor diet, accidents, or excessive activity are among the many things that can influence the quality and quantity balance of Qi. Normally, when blockage or imbalance occurs, the body bounces back and returns to a healthy state. However, when this disruption is prolonged or excessive, or if the body is in a weakened state, illness, pain, or disease can set in.
The World Health Organization recognizes acupuncture as an effective treatment for over 35 common illnesses and lists a variety of diseases or disorders for which acupuncture therapy has been tested in controlled clinical trials.
For a complete list of conditions that could benefit from acupuncture, click here.
- Initial Intake: a full history (e.g. questions on health, symptoms, and lifestyle) and physical exam are conducted (e.g. pulse and tongue diagnosis).
- Treatment Plan: using this information, the practitioner will strive to detect any holistic imbalances which may contribute to a person’s health problems. They will then create a well-structured treatment plan.
- Treatment Sessions: to treat imbalances, fine, sterile needles will be inserted at specific acupoints along pathways in the body. The points chosen are related to specific organs based on your unique issues and symptoms.
- Related therapies may be included in your treatment plan, including:
- Heat (moxibustion)
- Pressure (acupressure)
- Friction Suction (cupping)
- Herbal remedies (traditional Chinese medicine)
For information on herbal remedies, click here.
Your actions are a key component of your treatment plan. Focusing on your health and committing to a healthy lifestyle are the best steps you can take for your well-being. Together, you and your acupuncturist can heal your imbalances and help you achieve harmony and balance.
Even after your symptoms are resolved, acupuncture can assist you in maintaining your health, and possibly prevent future imbalances. The more you incorporate acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine into your life, the more you’ll learn to nurture your body, mind and spirit.
Acupuncture and TCM take a holistic approach, or whole-body approach to health. This means your practitioner will take into account your whole self, not just your symptoms, in order to get to the root of your health concerns. You will work together to find out how factors like your lifestyle and emotional and mental well-being may be affecting your health.
Getting the chance to discuss all your health concerns with your care provider – and having your provider really listen – may be new to you. Think of it as your opportunity to form a partnership for better health. The more you take part in your healing process, the more successful it will be.
No. True healing takes time and dedication. Depending on your current health and symptoms, you could feel better right away, or you may need treatments for weeks, months or years to achieve the results you want. Your acupuncturist can give you an idea of what to expect. With a little patience and an open mind, you’ll be on your way to health and vitality. Acupuncture and TCM offer a safe and effective holistic health care system. This natural approach can both resolve symptoms and enhance your overall health.
By taking the right steps and planting the seeds of health, you are on the road to a healthier you!