The following are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about acupuncture and traditional Chinese Medicine.
What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is the practice of inserting ultra fine needles into specific points of energy that are located along 14 Meridians or Channels that cover the entire body. There are 365 classical Acupuncture points associated with the 14 Meridians. These points and meridians, mapped out millennia ago and confirmed by consistent practice have show that skillful insertion and manipulation of specific points will produce predictable results in the body.
How does acupuncture work?
The core of Traditional Chinese Medicine is the philosophy that we all have a complex system of channels which flow throughout our body distributing Qi or Life Energy to all of our tissues. When there is an obstruction in the flow of Qi or an imbalance in the Yin and Yang, health problems arise. Acupuncture can help to remove the blockage and stimulate the body’s natural ability to heal.
I know Acupuncture involves needles. Does it hurt?
Generally speaking, Acupuncture should not be painful. You may feel a dull ache, perhaps a feeling of electricity or tingling, a sensation of heat or cold, or it may just feel strange. Sometimes you can feel Qi running up or down the body or a limb.
The acupuncturist may manipulate the needles to achieve better treatment results, and you may experience a vague numbness, heaviness tingling or dull ache. Occasionally you may like you’ve been stung by a bee. This should pass almost immediately, and does not have any lasting sensation. If it doesn’t, tell your practitioner right away so he can adjust or remove the needle.
Occasionally you may feel a throbbing ache, which may also be somewhat uncomfortable, especially if you are being treated for a chronic condition. At no time, though, should you have any sensation that is beyond your tolerance level. If you do, let your practitioner know right away. The fact is that the vast majority of clients report that, after a while, they begin to feel a real sense of well-being, almost euphoria.
Is Acupuncture safe?
Acupuncture is safe when it is practiced by qualified Registered Acupuncturist. Needles used for acupuncture are fine, sterile, disposable, single use, stainless steel implements. There are virtually no adverse effects or complications because it is an all-natural, drug-free therapy.
Acupuncture is safe only when it is practiced by a qualified Registered Acupuncturist. Please use our Practitioner Search to find a professional registered acupuncturist.
I have heard that Acupuncture is good for pain. Is it good for anything else?
The list of diseases and conditions for which Acupuncture would be an appropriate treatment is extensive. Acupuncture is a complete medical system in itself, and is also an excellent compliment to almost any other treatment, including Western pharmaceuticals & surgery, herbal therapies, massage or Chiropractic.
Acupuncture is not a cure all, nor an aggressive intervention. It cannot, by itself, cure cancer, for example. It does not cure Autoimmune diseases such as Diabetes or Addison’s Disease, or Lupus. If you break a leg, or are in a car accident, we would recommend you go to the local Emergency Room first, but come for Acupuncture treatments afterward for pain and to speed healing.
Acupuncture is, on the other hand, extremely effective, drug free, non-surgical treatment for the serious side effects of Cancer treatments and hormone replacement therapies for Autoimmune Diseases, post-operative pain, PMS and Menopause symptoms.. It should be noted that Acupuncture is not only good if you are sick or damaged. Even if you are not so sick, Acupuncture is good for balancing the body’s systems and promoting general resiliency. It is particularly effective at treating emotional disorders such as Phobias, Grief and Anger.
See the list below for general guidelines, or visit our Links page for other resources.
The World Health Organization and the National Institute of Health endorse acupuncture as being effective treatments for numerous conditions, some of which are listed below:
- Stress, Depression, Anxiety, Insomnia
- Musculoskeletal and Neurologic
- Headaches, Migraines, Facial Paralysis, Stroke, Neck, Shoulders, Lower Back Stiffness and Pain, Sciatica, Knee Pain, Ankle Pain, MVA.Injuries, Sport Injuries, Muscle Pain, Arthritic, Osteoarthritis, Inflammation, Frozen Shoulder, Tennis Elbow, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Tendonitis, Sprains , Trigeminal Neuralgia
- Allergies, Dizziness, Low Energy, Chronic Fatigue, Cold Limps, Asthma, Diabetes, Indigestion, Constipation, Diarrhea, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Stomachache
- Acne, Herpes (Shingles)
- Hay Fever, Sinusitis, Ringing in the Ears, Sore Throat
- Common Colds and Flu, Bronchitis
- PMS, Menstrual Irregular, Menstrual Cramps, Menopause Symptoms, Hot Flash, Low Sex Drive, Impotence, Infertility and Sexual Dysfunction
- Anti-Aging, Weight Control, Smoking Cessation, Addiction to Drugs or Alcohol
I’ve Heard that Acupuncture is holistic. What’s that all about?
Holistic Medicine is a rather large area of study. Basically, it means treating a client, not as a collection of symptoms and body parts, but the whole person, body, emotions, mind, and spirit. Of these, only the body exists on the physical plane. It is said that the other aspects of a person exists at higher energetic planes.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine one of the important aspects of diagnosis is to evaluate a client’s Shen or spirit. There are a few guidelines for evaluating ‘Shen’, but mainly it is an intuitive insight into how a particular client will respond to treatment. One may be said to have a strong Shen, and prognosis will be good. A weak ‘Shen’, means a poor prognosis.
Emotions have long thought to be at the root of many diseases and conditions. In Chinese Medicine, the 5 cardinal emotions of Joy, Anger, Worry, Grief, and Fear are thought to be primary causes of diseases. Strengthening the Liver for example has the effect of reducing Anger, the Liver’s associated emotion.
There are also Acupuncture points for ‘calming the mind’ and ‘strengthening the spirit.’
In a Holistic model of health, disease and disharmony that take up residence in the body when any combination of physical, environmental, psychological, and emotional stressors disturb the normal function or organ systems. In most cases these energetic disharmonies can be addressed in treatment. Often, with early detection there is no need to wait for the disease to fully manifest in the body.
A part of Chinese Medicine is devoted to promoting wellness and longevity. Supporting the body’s ability to adapt to the various health challenges it is presented with day to day will have broad benefits for the immune system, the nervous system, and the endocrine system. Keeping the body strong and resilient so it can resist illness and disease is the most fundamental principle of holistic health in Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Will Acupuncture interfere with my medication?
The short answer is no. A word of caution though. In some instances acupuncture may further the therapeutic effect of your medication, which in turn may require a lower dosage. If your medication dosage is sensitive, make sure you see your Doctor to monitor your dosages. It is never a good idea to stop taking medication without your Doctor’s guidance.