What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a treatment modality that inserts dry needles at certain points on human body. It was originated in China at least a few thousand years ago and has been an important part of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). There are a total of 14 meridians and more than 360 points. Twelve out of the 14 meridians correspond to 12 internal organs. Each acupuncture point has specific indications. Naturopathic medicine has incorporated acupuncture as a treatment modality because of it safety, efficacy, and most importantly, its principle of stimulating the body’s own healing power ( “vis medicatrix naturae”).

How does acupuncture work?

In the theories of traditional Chinese medicine, disease occurs when there’s an imbalance or stagnation in the body. For example, imbalance of Yin and Yang gives rise to excessive heat or cold. When somebody is deficient in Yin, Yang is in relative excess and the person will feel hot. This is very typical of a menopausal woman. When somebody is deficient in Yang, then Yin is in relative excess and the person will feel cold. This is typical of a hypothyroid person.
Acupuncture needles inserted at certain acupuncture points tonify deficiencies and reduce excesses. It restores health to a person by bringing the body back to balance, and by opening up the meridians to allow smooth flow of Qi and blood. For a menopausal woman with Yin deficiency, needling at certain points can nourish the Yin, balance Yin and Yang, and therefore reduce symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats. For a patient with low back pain, acupuncture can reduce the stagnation (inflammation) in the local area and therefore reduce the pain.

How can acupuncture benefit you?

Acupuncture is probably best known for pain management. However, acupuncture can also treat a wide range of both acute and chronic conditions, such as colds and flus, allergies and asthma, depression, insomnia, hypertension, diabetes, overweight and obesity, skin problems, gynecological problems, infertility, thyroid problems, etc.

For chronic conditions, acupuncture alone is not a magic bullet. Diet and life style changes are often necessary. Acupuncture works very well with other forms of natural medicine, such as Chinese herbal medicine, homeopathy and nutrition.

What should I expect during a visit for acupuncture treatment?

A diagnosis based on Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) needs to be obtained before an individualized point protocol can be put together. This is done by observation, inquiry, pulse palpation, and observation of tongue. The initial interview usually takes about 30 minutes. Follow-up interview takes about 10-15 minutes. After the interview, needles are inserted and will be retained for about 30 minutes. The total time for a visit ranges from 45 minutes to one hour. Treatment is usually repeated weekly. A typical session contains 10 visits.

Is acupuncture painful?

For the most part, acupuncture needles cause no pain other than a sensation of a prick. The needles used in acupuncture are much smaller than those used for drawing blood and IV access. There may be soreness, heaviness, or warmth during the treatment, which are desirable effects, because they are indications of the Qi sensation.

2 thoughts on “Acupuncture

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