What Is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a system of healing that originated in China thousands of years ago and is based on natural laws. According to the laws of nature, life energy (Qi) flows through human beings much like rivers and streams flow through the earth. Health is the result of free-flowing Qi, and conversely, illness is the result of Qi out of balance due to blockages. Every symptom a person has is considered a distress signal indicating the Qi is not flowing freely. Although symptoms give the classically trained Acupuncturist information, they are not the primary focus. We are more concerned with addressing the whole patient and correcting not only the physical problems but also any underlying imbalances of the emotions, mind, and spirit. Through the use of very fine needles inserted into specific anatomical sites, Classical Acupuncture assists nature in unblocking the flow of Qi and restoring overall balance. Over time, even chronic and complex problems such as anxiety and depression and other issues involving the spirit can be resolved as the flow of Qi is restored.
The largest single benefit of Classical Acupuncture is to heal the root causes that have led to the manifestation of various symptoms and diseases and move us along the path of recovery. As is commonly known, acupuncture is helpful in relieving many painful conditions. However, it also is helpful in many other chronic and acute conditions in which pain is not primary. A person’s whole being is considered in their healing process. Acupuncture is also used preventively through the use of clearings and seasonal treatments. We see our patients getting colds and flu less often and recovering more quickly. Because Classical Acupuncture treats the whole person, it helps individuals in making the changes necessary for personal growth. The one factor that separates Classical Acupuncture from other types of acupuncture is how it involves the patients in their own healing process rather than looking for a practitioner to fix them. Our patients feel empowered with this approach to healing.
The World Health Organization and the National Institute of Health recognizes acupuncture’s effectiveness for:
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Chronic Fatigue
- Common Cold
- Dental Pain
- Digestive Issues
- Emotional Problems
- Eye Problems
- Facial Palsy
- Fertility Issues
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Low Back Pain
- Menstrual Irregularities
- Morning Sickness
- Reproductive Problems
- Rhinitis, Sciatica
- Seasonal Affective Disorder
- Shoulder Pain
- Sleep Disturbances
- Smoking Cessation
- Sore Throat
- Tooth Pain
- Sore Throat
- Tennis Elbow
- Trigeminal Neuralgia
- Urinary Tract Infections
Acupuncture needles are much thinner than hypodermic needles and are barely thicker than a human hair. They are made of sterilized stainless steel, individually wrapped, and disposed of in biohazard containers. The sensations from needle insertion are momentary and vary from person to person. They may be experienced as a dull ache, a tingling, or an electrical feeling. The needles are often left in for only a moment or two but can be left in up to 45 minutes. Classical Acupuncturists do not find it necessary to apply electricity to the needles. Sometimes the acupuncture point is warmed up before the needle is inserted (this is referred to as moxibustion.)
The National Commission of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) has stringent standards. One must have attended an accredited acupuncture college (3000-4000 hours of study) and pass three examinations focusing on theory, standards of hygiene and maintaining sterilization of needles, and point location. Statistics for Nationally Certified Acupuncturists show that it is a very safe healing system. In the USA, there are now 50 acupuncture colleges, a very committed professional organization, a number of regulating organizations (including the NCCAOM), and a body of scientific literature validating its efficacy.
Your initial visit is scheduled for 2 hours and includes talking with your practitioner about your health history, current health issues and concerns, and various lifestyle factors including diet, sleep, exercise, and potential stressors. To discover how the energy is moving in your body, your twelve meridian (the pathways through which energy flows) pulses, located on both wrists, will be evaluated for quality, strength, and rhythm. The structure, color, and coating of your tongue may also be used to assess the quality of your health. All this information helps in planning treatments designed especially for you. The aim is to discover which energy channels need adjusting for your specific complaints to improve and to increase your energy and overall sense of well-being.
You will receive and acupuncture treatment during the second hour of your first appointment. You may also receive information on diet or exercise or suggestions on supplements or herbal formulas. All subsequent sessions are scheduled for an hour. Consultations for customized herbal formulas or nutritional advice without an acupuncture treatment may vary in time depending on if you are an established patient or are requesting this service only.
Today, acupuncturists undertake three to four years of extensive and comprehensive graduate training at nationally certified schools. All acupuncturists must pass a national exam and meet strict guidelines to practice in every state.
The tongue is a map of the body. It reflects the general health of the organs and meridians. Your acupuncturist will look at the color, shape, cracks and coating on your tongue.
There are twelve pulse positions on each wrist that your acupuncturist will palpate. Each position corresponds to a specific meridian and organ. Your acupuncturist will be looking for twenty-seven individual qualities that reflect overall health. If there are any problems, they may appear in the pulse.
Herbs can be a powerful adjunct to acupuncture care. They are used to strengthen, build and support the body or to clear it of excess problems like a cold, fever or acute pain.
Be Good to Yourself!
Rest- You don’t have to literally lie down or take a nap. Just go easy. This allows the physical and emotional restoration that acupuncture sets in motion to continue.
Stay hydrated-Acupuncture can cause toxins to be released into your system. Staying appropriately hydrated helps flush out these toxins. Alcohol and coffee should not be considered part of your hydration.
Seek some serenity-Acupuncture helps bring you into a place of balance, where your nervous system is no longer in overdrive. Your mind is calmer and clearer, and you can enjoy a respite from the overstimulating world in which we live.
Eat good food-Acupuncture helps take the toxins out. Don’t put them back in by eating poor-quality food such as processed foods and sugar. Think about food as sustenance, and eating as an opportunity to continue healing your body after acupuncture.