1. What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a therapy that was developed by the ancient Chinese, but was practiced in one form or another, by all indigenous cultures. It consists of stimulating designated points on the skin by the insertion of “special”needles, the application of heat (moxibustion), massage (finger pressure or shiatsu), the use of herbs and/or herbal preparations, or a combination of these.
2. How Does it Work?
The main idea is that everyone is born with a fixed amount of energy (Chi) at birth, and that energy is spent in the work of living and replenished by food, air, water and sunshine. Energy imbalances that arise from external or internal causes, are thought to be the root of dis-ease. By “treating”certain points, the acupuncturist can treat dis-ease by balancing body energy. These points may be located far from the site of the symptoms. This balancing, in turn, adjusts blood flow, nerve tone and functioning, hormone levels and the functioning of the organs.
Chinese Medicine is based on the discovery that certain areas “Points” on the skin are related to internal body organs and to specific bodily functions. By studying different disease states, the Chinese were able to develop a map of the relationship between the skin “Points” and the internal organs as they related to normal bodily functions. The “Points”, connected by function form the “Meridians” and acts as the pathways for energy in the body.
3. How Does Chinese Medicine differ from Western Medicine?
Western Medicine focuses on the diagnosis of the disease(s) that causes the patient’s physical complaint. Specific treatment, usually the prescribing of medication, is given to correct that specific problem. Chinese medicine concentrates on changes in the body energy, regardless of the organ involvement. Treatment consists of balancing the body energy by stimulating active points. This treatment is generalized to the whole body and may improve other conditions as well.
4. Can Western & Chinese Medicine be combined?
Chinese Medicine is often helpful to treat conditions generally unresponsive to western drug-oriented treatments; such as treatment of “Nerves” with sedatives and “Low Pain” with pain killers. It is reported that these medications interfere with effectiveness of acupuncture treatment by decreasing the sensitivity and the responsiveness of the body. Conversely, some conditions, most notably infections and conditions of structural changes, such as fractures and tumors, respond more rapidly to western techniques. Frequently the two can combine to the patient’s benefit. The treatment of high blood pressure is an example where the use of acupuncture points with dietary therapies go hand in hand.
5. What types of conditions are responsive?
Most conditions can be treated. Among the most responsive are: musculo/skeletal problems (sciatica, low back pain and arthritis); circulatory problems ( high and low blood pressure, cold hands and feet); nervous system imbalance (esp. anxiety, nervousness, sleeplessness or depression). It is highly effective for detoxification. Acupuncture helps the body eliminate the toxins of addicting drugs (heroin, methadone, alcohol, pills such as valium and placidyls) and facilitates the detoxification process, while minimizing the withdrawal symptoms. This is in sharp contrast to the usual treatment of detoxification by substitution with other harmful drugs.
6. What about Healthy People?
Acupuncture can be helpful in the prevention of dis-ease by improving the patients’ state of well being through energy balance. In this way, the stress of everyday life are more easily handled.
7. Does it Hurt?
Acupuncture is done with extremely thin flexible needles made of silver alloy. There is nothing in the needle, the needle are designed not to penetrate internal structures. They are tools to balance the body energy. There is often brief pain as the needle passes through the skin. As the body energy begins to change, there may be numbness, dull aching, heat, tingling, itching.
8. Is it Safe?
Acupuncture has been used for at least 5,000 years. It is still the treatment of choice for 1/4 of the world’s population, despite 30 years of comparison to Western medicine. Most side effects are minor and include: occasional dizziness, especially during the first treatment, occasional slight bleeding after the needles have been withdrawn. Infection at needle site and any other side effects are rare. Its’ use is restricted to certain points in pregnant women, it is also used on children.
9. How Long does Treatment Take?
Usually treatment last 20-60 minutes, depending upon the problem being treated. Some conditions are improved with one visit’ other treatments will involve multiple visits. We will tailor a treatment plan to your individual progress. Patients undergoing detoxification should have daily treatments.
10. How Do You Feel after the Treatment?
That depends on the problem being treated and the prior condition of the patient. the treatment acts to “NORMALIZE” energy, therefore, some patients will experience a burst of energy, while others may feel relaxed or even tired. These states last for varying lengths of time. On occasions a patient will feel euphoric or lightheaded, especially on the first treatment. This is a temporary condition; should it happen to you remain seated until the feeling passes and notify the acupuncturist.