Acupuncture includes any practice of inserting very small needles into precise locations on the body in order to improve health and well-being. Many forms of acupuncture are rooted in Traditional Chinese Medicine (or T.C.M.) principles that have existed for thousands of years. From a T.C.M. standpoint, all pain and disease stems from a blockage of energy, or qi (pronounced “chee”) and acupuncture needles help redirect the circulation of both qi and blood to a state of good health.
Acupuncture is also supported by modern Western medicine. Instead of talking about the circulation of qi, it describes the benefits of acupuncture as helping to improve the circulation of blood and other body fluids like lymph or synovial fluid. It can also regulate the nervous system, release tight muscles, and reduce inflammation.
The World Health Organization (W.H.O.) currently recommends acupuncture for over 100 conditions. Many people seek acupuncture as a stand-alone treatment, or complementary therapy, for the following:
- Muscular pain
- Neurological pain
- Blood pressure (high or low)
- Varicose veins
- TMJ (temporalmandibular joint/jaw pain)
- Trigger point release
- Muscle weakness
- Muscle spasm
- COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)
- Quitting smoking
- Loose stools
- IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)
- IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease, such as Crohn's or ulcerative colitis)
- Acid reflux/heartburn
- Dry skin
- Anger management
- PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) Chronic and Acute
- Male and female fertility
- IVF-support (In Vitro Fertilization)
- Menstrual regulation
- Sexual performance
- Neurological pain including fibromyalgia and trigeminal neuralgia
Do acupuncture needles hurt?
Acupuncture needles are extremely small: 20 standard needles can fit inside a single hypodermic needle. Sometimes there is a small sharp sensation upon insertion, and sometimes a little soreness, much like a deep tissue massage. When the acupuncturist removes the needles, a speck of blood may appear, but most will barely leave a mark; that's how small they are! Feelings of coolness, heaviness, tingling, or itchiness are all common reactions to acupuncture needles.
What to expect during treatment
After discussing your reason for seeking treatment and intake form, your acupuncturist may ask you to roll up your sleeves, or to undress and cover up with a sheet depending on where the acupuncture points are. The needles are usually left in about 15–20 minutes, and then removed. You should feel relaxed and comfortable the whole time.
T.C.M. organ systems & diagnosis
Different parts of the arms, legs, and head are connected to the internal organs via meridians, or channels. These channels and organs affect one another through the flow of qi and blood/body fluids. When this flow becomes disrupted, pain and disease may result. Acupuncture needles help to redirect the flow of qi and blood, and return the body to a state of health.
Can I combine acupuncture with other treatments?
Yes. Acupuncture has virtually no contraindications with other forms of treatment. It can even help other forms of therapy, such as medication, talk therapy, or body work, to be more effective.