Acupuncture is one of many methods used in Chinese Medicine to promote health and well-being. Scientifically, acupuncture works through the nervous system. The channels are thought to represent the nerves that originate in the spinal cord and spread throughout the body. When an acupuncture needle stimulates these nerves, signals are sent to the brain where chemicals (called neurotransmitters) are released, triggering the body's self-healing mechanisms.
Styles of Acupuncture
Most non-physician acupuncturists are trained in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), which includes acupuncture, Chinese herbs, diet counseling, exercise and relaxation techniques.
Conditions that Acupuncture Can Help
Acupuncture can be used to promote general health and well-being as well as help with specific conditions. A sample of these conditions include:
- Circulation disorders: leg swelling, cold extremities
- Digestive disorders: indigestion, reflux, nausea, gastritis, irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, diarrhea, colitis
- Ear, nose, mouth and throat disorders: toothaches, laryngitis, canker sores, ringing in the ears, sore throat, TMJ
- Muscular disorders: neck pain, back pain, sciatica, frozen shoulder, bursitis and tendonitis, arthritis, sprains, fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, tennis elbow; as well as aid with rehabilitation for healing fractures, and joint injuries
- Neurological disorders: headaches, carpel tunnel syndrome, trigeminal neuralgia, vertigo, pain from shingles, and peripheral neuropathy
- Psych-emotional disorders: stress and tension, anxiety, depression, insomnia
- Relief of symptoms related to cancer treatments including surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy
- Respiratory disorders: sinusitis, bronchitis, asthma, emphysema, skin rashes, allergies
- Urinary and gynecological disorders: urinary incontinence, PMS, infertility, and symptoms of menopause
Acupuncture can also be used with regular medical treatments to help alleviate many other conditions. Given the evidence of its effectiveness, acupuncture is increasingly being incorporated into mainstream health care as a complementary therapy.
The number of treatments differs with each person and each condition. As few as one appointment per week for three to four weeks, or weekly or monthly treatments for 10 to 12 weeks. Acupuncture is on ongoing healing process typically requiring a series of treatments. At your first appointment, the acupuncturist will discuss a treatment plan with you.
The needles are very thin, made of stainless steel. The needles are sterile and disposable (one use only). Patients may feel a small prick or no discomfort at all. Sometimes, a small bruise can happen after a treatment. Sometimes the symptoms being treated may worsen after the first or second treatment, this may be an indication that the treatment is beginning to work. Many people experience a sense of relation and will nap during the treatment, while others feel a boost of energy.