Acupuncture: Questions Answered

If you've heard about Acupuncture, you are probably aware that the treatment involves the use of needles. However, many people assume that the experience will be painful and similar to getting a shot at the doctor's office.

Acupuncture needles are different in many ways from a hypodermic needle. The needles are solid, as opposed to hollow bore, and are extremely thin. Actually, several acupuncture needles can fit inside a standard hypodermic needle! Acupuncture needles are very fine and are close in diameter to a human hair.

Insertion of the needles is virtually painless and the needling sensation after insertion is brief. Most people will experience a slight tingling sensation, while others may feel no sensation at all. Overall, patients are pleasantly surprised after the first treatment when they realize how little discomfort is involved in receiving acupuncture.

The vast majority of people find the treatments to be rejuvenating, often falling into a deep state of relaxation and will leave feeling refreshed.

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is an ancient medical art that originated in China at least 3,000 years ago. Fine, hair-like needles are inserted into specific points on the body to influence the energy or Qi(Pronounced chee) of the patient.

According to the theory of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Qi is the life force that is present in all living things and when there is an imbalance of this energy, illness occurs. The main goal of acupuncture treatment is to balance this energy and to promote the body's natural healing mechanisms.

History of Acupuncture

Archaeological findings have uncovered early acupuncture instruments that were manufactured from stone that date back to the 21st century B.C. Although these early instruments would be considered crude by today's standards, as early as 475 B.C. cast metal needles appeared, which became the precursors to the modern acupuncture needle.

In the 4th century A.D. the medical text Huangdi Neijing was written and is considered the definitive classical text upon which Acupuncture theory is based.

Today Acupuncture is widely known and used throughout the world and is the oldest, continuously practiced, medical system in the world.

Acupuncture Theory

Traditional Chinese Medical theory is based upon the principles of Yin and Yang, opposite forces that work together to maintain balance and harmony. When Yin and Yang are harmonized there will be a natural flow of Qi throughout the body. In contrast, when Yin and Yang are not harmonized there will be impairment in the natural flow of Qi and disease and illness can occur. Environmental influences, physical or emotional trauma, unexpressed anger, frustration, grief, worry and depression all can disrupt the natural balance of Yin and Yang.

Acupuncture has the wonderful ability to reestablish a harmonization of Yin and Yang by working directly with the Qi of the body, thus promoting healing and restoring health.

The Advantages of Acupuncture

Firstly, acupuncture is safe for nearly all patients, including children, the elderly and those with compromised immune function. In most cases there are no side effects and it will not interfere with prescribed medical regimens. It can be used successfully alone, or as an adjunct to western medicine.

Second, it promotes your body's own natural energy to work more efficiently, thus providing greater health and well-being in a completely natural way. Also, most patients report added benefits from treatment including better sleep, reduced stress, improved energy and stamina and an overall improvement in their quality of life.

The Acupuncture Treatment

During the initial visit, which normally lasts 1.5 - 2 hours, a full consultation and treatment will be performed. Your practitioner will ask you questions regarding your medical history, diet and lifestyle and will provide a traditional pulse and tongue diagnosis. A treatment plan will be discussed in depth which will outline the anticipated course of treatment for your specific concern.

Follow-up visits normally require about 45 minutes to 1 hour and are usually scheduled once a week. Although all cases are different and unique, generally patients will begin to achieve results after 3 to 6 treatments.

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