What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is one aspect of what the Chinese call “Zhen-Jiu”, which roughly translates as “Needle (Zhen) - Burn (Jiu)”. This refers to just two of the forms of treatment which form the whole of Classical Chinese medicine. Acupuncture refers to the practice of inserting fine metal needles into specific locations on the body in order to stimulate the body's own natural healing processes. Chinese medicine in its entirety encompasses not only acupuncture and moxibustion but also herbal and dietary therapies, tuina (a form of soft tissue and joint manipulation), and the Chinese exercise arts including taijiquan, as well as qigong [ch'i kung], and wu shu (martial arts, sometimes called kung-fu ).
What is Moxibustion (Moxa)?
The other half of “Zhen-Jiu” , which we may translate as “burn”, refers to the practice of moxibustion, which is used to supplement the body's own energetic supply in case of deficient energies. Moxibustion is the burning of an herb, moxa, over specific acupuncture points. The herb most commonly used is Artemisia vulgaris L. , or common mugwort. It is commonly formed into sticks or cones for therapeutic use. When burned and held 1 to 2 inches from the skin, it gently warms the energetic points, stimulating and strengthening them. The burning moxa does not touch nor burn the skin. Moxa builds, acupuncture directs and balances.
How does Acupuncture work?
For 5000 years, Chinese philosophers have observed the natural world. They watched the rising and setting of the sun, the change of the seasons, the patterns of weather and climate, and the effects of wind, heat, humidity, drought, and cold upon the world around them. They noticed that the human body acts just like the natural environment in its response to the forces of nature. Just as water slows and freezes in the winter, so do body processes slow and tissues contract at cold temperatures. As temperatures rise, chemical reactions in the body speed up, as activity levels in nature increase as the temperatures rise. The application of cold to a fever can have the same effect as throwing water on a fire. The points and procedures of the acupuncture prescription are chosen to rebalance the body and give it the momentum to maintain that balance. Sometimes it is painless, but most of the time there is a sensation felt when the Qi is touched. This sensation can be felt as heaviness, pressure, distention, soreness, cramping, or an electric sensation around the needle or travelling up or down the affected pathway.
What can you expect from a visit?
Your initial visit is designed to help me understand your reasons for seeking acupuncture treatment and to access the underlying imbalances leading to the symptoms. This session begins with an interview which includes both your health and personal history and continues with a physical examination and a consultation. It is conducted in complete confidentiality. You will then be advised on the anticipated frequency and number of treatments recommended. This initial session usually lasts 90 minutes.
Subsequent treatment sessions are 1 hour long and initially you will be seen weekly in order to create internal harmony which can be maintained between treatments. As this harmony is achieved, usually after 4-8 weeks, treatments are extended to every other week, every three weeks, monthly, and eventually seasonally. Of course, frequency of treatment varies with each individual, because each individual’s Qi is unique.
What is recommended for those in treatment?
Various changes, subtle or profound, may occur during and after treatment. All changes will be monitored by your acupuncturist who will be aware of your general progress. The progress is different for every individual. To enhance the effect of the treatment:
> Plan your activities so that after each treatment, especially the first few, you can relax.
> Eat, no acupuncture will be performed if you are hungry
> Allow plenty of time to get to your appointment, so you are not hurried for your treatment
> For rest of the day avoid strenuous activities
> Continue prescription medicine exactly as directed by your physician
> Be aware of changes in your pattern of functioning, attitudes, emotions, sleep, appetite, levels of energy, etc. in order to provide feedback to your acupuncturist.
How It Works
Acupuncture is the art of manipulating this energy that flows throughout our bodies by inserting specially-designed needles into certain meridian points throughout the body.
These points are very specific places all over the body where the energy meridians reach certain places on the skin.
By inserting the needles correctly, we can influence the flow of the energy and balance it out, either unclogging blocked energy, or increasing or decreasing the flow of energy through the meridians.
What Happens Then?
The balancing and correcting-out of our energy systems leads to many physical responses, such as an increased immune system and increased physical energy in the body.
It is common for people who come out of treatments to experience increased life energy, increased feelings of harmony and joy, and enter a whole better mood and attitude on life altogether.
But most importantly, this increased life energy also leads to the healing of physical and emotional conditions.
Benefits of Acupuncture
It provides relief from chronic pain, disease, depression, anxiety, high blood pressure, asthma, and various physical and mental conditions.
Many people from all over the world have found relief from dozens of diseases and conditions that otherwise seemed hopeless.
What can acupuncture fix*?
- Adverse reactions to radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy
- Allergic rhinitis (including hay fever) Biliary colic
- Depression (includng depressive neurosis and depression following stroke)
- Dysentery, acute bacillary
- Dysmenorrhoea, primary
- Epigastrigia, acute (in peptic ulcer, acute and chronic gastritis, and gatrospasm)
- Facial pain (including craniomandibular disorders)
- Hypertension, essential
- Hypertension, primary
- Induction of labor
- Knee pain
- Low back pain
- Malposition of fetus, correction of
- Morning sickness
- Nausea and vomiting
- Neck pain
- Pain in dentistry (including dental painand temporomandibular dysfunction)
- Periarthritis of shoulder
- Postoperative pain
- Renal colic
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Tennis elbow
*Acupuncture Review and Analysis of Reports on Controlled Clinical Trials: 3.
Deseases and Disorders That Can Be Treated with Acupunture.
"World Health Organization. 23 May 2011. Web. 04 July 2011.