What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is an important part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), a comprehensive system of health care having a continuous clinical history of over 2,000 years. The ancient Chinese believed that there is a universal life energy called Chi or Qi present in every living creature. This energy is said to circulate throughout the body along specific pathways that are called meridians. As long as this energy flows freely throughout the meridians, health is maintained, but once the flow of energy is blocked, the system is disrupted and pain and illness occur. Acupuncture works to re-program and restore normal functions by stimulating certain points with fine needles in order to promote the body’s ability to heal itself.
How Does Acupuncture Work?
Studies have documented acupuncture’s effectiveness, but they have not been able to fully explain how acupuncture works within the framework of the Western system of medicine. It is proposed that acupuncture produces its effects through regulating the nervous system, thus aiding the activity of pain-killing biochemicals such as endorphins and immune system cells at specific sites in the body. In addition, studies have shown that acupuncture may alter brain chemistry by changing the release of neurotransmitters and neurohormones and, thus, affecting the parts of the central nervous system related to involuntary body functions, such as immune reactions, blood pressure, blood flow, inflammatory responses, hypothalamic, pituitary, and adrenal regulation. On a more mechanical level, the needles have been shown to promote collagen restructuring in tissues and can also disrupt muscles spasms by providing a competing sensory input.
What to Expect
Upon insertion of a very fine, sterile, one-time-use disposable stainless steel acupuncture needle, patients can feel a variety of sensations such as warmth and tingling, expansion and pressure, brief dull aching, or a slight electrical sensation. You should wear loose fitting clothing and allow at least 60 minutes for your treatment. Some conditions respond dramatically after one treatment while others may require a course of 5-7 treatments to see results.
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