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Acupuncture is one of the modalities of Oriental medicine. Although what is called acupuncture in the West comprises several different therapies (such as moxibustion and cupping), mostly it consists of the insertion of fine needles into the body at specific points shown to be effective in the treatment of specific health problems. These points have been mapped by the Chinese over a period of two thousand years, and there are more than a thousand known acupoints. In the past three decades, electromagnetic research has confirmed the existence and location of these points.
WHAT PROBLEMS CAN BE TREATED BY ACUPUNCTURE?
- Ear, Nose & Throat Disorders (Toothache, earaches, sinusitis, rhinitis, laryngitis).
- Respiratory Disorders (Colds & flues, bronchitis, asthma, allergies, emphysema).
- Gastrointestinal Disorders (Food allergies, nausea, indigestion, diarrhea, constipation, ulcers, colitis).
- Circulatory Disorders (Hypertension, cholesterol, arterial sclerosis, angina pectoris).
- Urogenital Disorders (Cystitis, stress incontinence, neurogenic bladder, prostatitis, prostatic hypertrophy).
- Gynecological Disorders (Menstrual irregularity, endometriosis, PMS, infertility, menopausal syndrome).
- Musculoskeletal Disorders (Tennis elbow, frozen shoulder, TMJ, sciatica, low back pain, arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, fibromyalgia).
- Psychoemotional & Neurological Disorders (Depression, anxiety, insomnia, headache, migraine, trigeminal neuralgia, intercostals neuralgia, post-stroke, paralysis, dizziness, tinnitus).
In addition, acupuncture has been used for centuries throughout Asia to treat hundreds of other problems.
HOW DOES ACUPUNCTURE WORK?
Modern Western medicine cannot yet explain how acupuncture works. Traditional Asian acupuncture is based on ancient Chinese theories of the flow of qui (a fine, essential substance which nourishes and constructs the body) through distinct channels that cover the body somewhat like the nerves and blood vessels. According to this theory, acupuncture adjusts the flow of qi in the body, leading it to areas where it is insufficient and draining it from areas where it is stuck and /or super abundant. In this way, acupuncture restores the harmonious balance of the body and its parts. In Chinese, there is a saying, “If there is pain, there is no free flow; if there is free flow, there is no pain.”
IS ACUPUNCTURE SAFE?
When performed by a competently trained, licensed professional, acupuncture is extremely safe. All licensed acupuncturists today use individually packaged, sterile, disposable needles. So there is virtually no chance of infection or contagion.
DOES IT HURT?
Acupuncture needles are typically not much thicker than a hair, and their insertion is practically painless. It is nothing like receiving an ordinary injection. In some cases, you will not even know the needles are in place. In others, there may be some tingling, warmth, heaviness, or a feeling of the qi moving up and down the channels. Most people find acupuncture extremely relaxing, and many fall asleep during treatment.
HOW MANY TREATMENTS WILL I NEED?
That depends on the duration, severity, and nature of your complaint. You may need only a single treatment for an acute condition. A series of 5-10 treatments may resolve many chronic problems. Some degenerative conditions may require many treatments over time. To help reduce the number of treatments, your practitioner may suggest dietary modifications, specific exercise regimes, relaxation techniques, self-massage, and/or Chinese herbal medicines, all of which may help to increase the efficacy of acupuncture.
ARE THERE DIFFERENT STYLES OF ACUPUNCTURE?
Acupuncture originated in China but has spread to Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Europe, and America. In different countries, different styles have developed based on differing opinions as to theory and technique. Patients should talk to their practitioner about his or her particular style and learn as much as possible about the treatment being proposed.
IS THERE ANYTHING I NEED TO DO BEFORE RECEIVING AN ACUPUNCTURE TREATMENT?
The following suggestions will help you get the maximum benefits from your treatment;
- Wear loose clothing. Women should not wear one piece dresses. Avoid wearing tight stockings.
- Avoid treatment when excessively fatigued, hungry, or full.
IS THERE ANYTHING I NEED TO DO WHILE RECEIVING ACUPUNCTURE?
- Relax. There is no need to be frightened. Ask your practitioner any questions you have along the way so that you can get the most benefit possible from the treatment.
- Do not change your position or move suddenly. If you are uncomfortable, tell your practitioner.
WHAT CAN I EXPECT AFTER TREATMENT?
Patients often experience dramatic results in the first treatment. Some patients experience an immediate total or partial relief of their pain or other symptoms. This relief may last or some pain may return. In a few cases, there may be no immediate relief only to notice the pain diminish over the next couple of days. Generally, you should expect to feel better.