Oriental Medicine

What is Acupuncture?

Originating in China about 5,000 years ago, Acupuncture is the oldest continuously practiced medical system in the world.  The fundamental principles of Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine are to treat the patient as a whole in mind, body and spirit.  This view of the body helps to discover root causes of illnesses, rather than just treat the symptoms.  Acupuncture is most popularly known for treatment of pain but is also effective for a wide variety of ailments.  The World Health Organization (WHO) of the United Nations and the National Institute of Health (NIH) have declared Acupuncture to be effective treatment for the following conditions:

  • Addiction
  • Arthritis
  • Backpain
  • Carpal tunnel
  • Depression
  • Digestive problems
  • Ear problems (ringins, earaches)
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Headaches and more...
  • Cold/Flu
  • Insomnia
  • Menstrual & female disorders
  • Muscle and Joint pain
  • Sinusitis
  • Skin disorders
  • Stroke rehabilitation
  • Urinary disorders

How Does Acupuncture Work?

Acupuncture is based on the movement of Qi (pronounced “chee”).  Qi is a life-giving energy that circulates in the body through channels/meridians to nourish vital organs and tissue and enable them to function.  Qi is what animates you, gives you vitality, and shows up as the sparkle in your eyes.  When Qi is abundant and allowed to flow freely, you thrive.  If your Qi is depleted or obstructed, symptoms – the body’s distress signals – begin to arise.

Nature’s tendency is to self-correct imbalances in Qi to maintain homeostasis; we usually overcome illness or emotional upset in due time on our own.  However, symptoms that persist indicate an imbalance on a deeper level.  An acupuncturist looks to the underlying disharmony and focuses on the root cause as well as the symptoms.

Acupuncturists select from approximately 360 points and combine them in a specific prescription for each patient.  This is done through the use of acupuncture needles and herbal therapy.  Over time, treatments will rebalance the circulation of Qi in the body.

What Do the Needles Feel Like?  Are They Safe?

The needles used in Acupuncture are very slender, barely beyond the thickness of several human hairs.  Only the finest quality solid stainless steel, pre-sterilized, single-use, disposable needles are used.  Most people describe the sensation from the needles as tingling, distending or a slight dull ache.  Most treatments use a maximum of 10 needles.

What Happens During An Acupuncture Treatment?

During your initial visit, information about your medical history, lifestyle, personal likes and dislikes as well as information from a physical exam and pulse inspection will be gathered.  Oriental medicine views the mind and body as a whole, so it is important to assess the patient’s emotional state as well as the physical during the course of treatment.  After their evaluation, the patient will receive the treatment, followed by suggestions of possible diet or lifestyle changes.  If the patient chooses, they will then receive Chinese herbs to reinforce the Acupuncture treatment.

Subsequent visits are usually shorter than the initial visit but will still require a brief evaluation of current symptoms, life situations and body systems.  Even though the symptom may remain the same with each visit, it is important to determine whether the symptom arises from the same disharmony as the treatments progress.  Some conditions such as colds or flu respond to treatment in one or two sessions. For other more chronic conditions, it is initially best to be seen weekly and after a period of 6-10 weeks (depending on the complexity and severity of the condition) the treatments are spaced out to once every other week, then every three weeks, then monthly.  This is the standard course of treatment, although the frequency of treatment varies with each person. 

In addition to addressing their primary concerns, people often report side benefits such as increased energy and vitality, more restorative sleep, healthier appetite and digestion, more enjoyment of life, better ability to cope with stressful situations, improved menstrual cycles and an overall sense of well-being.