What is Acupuncture?
The insertion of hair thin sterile, single use, disposable needles to the acupoints of the body, ear or scalp. Chinese medicine believes qi (vital energy) flows through the body in invisible channels. When the qi flows freely the body is healthy; when the flow of qi is blocked symptoms of pain and disease appear. The insertion of acupuncture needles at specific acu-points dissolves blockages and promotes healing.
To enhance needle effect electro-stimulation may be applied to the needle to reduce spasm and pain. Heat (called moxabustion) may also be applied on or near the acupoints to promote better qi and blood flow.
How Does Acupuncture Work?
From a Western perspective research has demonstrated that acupuncture stimulates the brain to produce natural opiates called endorphins. Further investigation has demonstrated that acupuncture not only affects pain but also regulates a wide variety of body systems:
•The relaxed feeling one gets from acupuncture comes from sedation of the sympathetic nervous system, or the “flight or fight response”. This helps de-stress, and physiologically improves blood circulation, muscle tightness and digestion, just to name a few.
•Acupuncture has also been shown to affect a wide variety of hormones including those that control ovulation and menstruation due to its effect on the hypothalamus-pituitary-ovarian axis (HPOA).
•Acupuncture affects neurochemicals such as serotonin that, among other things, affect mood and mental states.
•It is not just any acu-points that will have these effects. The ancients knew that specific acu-points were indicated for specific functions. Research with real time fMRI of the brain have demonstrated that the classic indications for points are accurate. For example, a point two inches above the wrist on the top side of the forearm (SJ5) is classically recommended for hearing problems. When this point is stimulated it strongly affects the audio cortex. This kind of research has been done on many specific points based on classic indications. Interesting?
Is Acupuncture Painful?
No. When the needles are inserted you may experience a sensation of tingling or warmth. Many are pleasantly surprised to find that treatments are relaxing. The acupuncture needles are horse-hair thin, and nothing is injected nor fluid withdrawn. Needles are placed for approximately 20-30 minutes.
Is Acupuncture Safe?
Acupuncture is a very safe medical procedure when administered by a qualified practitioner. The National Institute of Health (NIH) Consensus statement on Acupuncture states “One of the advantages of acupuncture is that the incidence of adverse effects is substantially lower than that of many drugs or other accepted medical procedures used for the same condition”. Other large scale studies (British Medical Journal 2001;323:486-487, 1 September) have demonstrated extremely low incidence of injury as a result of acupuncture.
How Do We Diagnose?
The first visit consists of a thorough exam. This includes an analysis of your health history, a physical exam and an observation of tongue and pulse qualities unique to Chinese Medicine. We also evaluate diet, lifestyle, blood, urine and saliva when appropriate to create a program tailored for you.
What About Insurance Coverage?
Acupuncture treatment is covered by some health insurance policies. Call your carrier to determine your coverage or call our office and we will investigate this for you. We also are accept Worker’s Compensation and Personal Injury cases.