What is Acupuncture?
The simplest answer is that acupuncture is the act of inserting hair-fine, sterile, disposable needles into specifically located points on the body. Easy right? As the patient, all you have to do is relax and let the needles do the work.
Acupuncture has been used as a primary form of medical care for several thousand years. This medicine treats the entire body as a whole, with all systems being connected and related. It is proven to be a safe, effective, and natural form of medicine.
Acupuncture is more than simply placing needles on the body, there is an entire, complex theory that goes behind treating a patient.
Traditional Chinese Medicine
As humans we feel good when our emotions are balanced, our blood is flowing smoothly, our energy level is good, our appetite is healthy, our sleep is deep, and we are pain free. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) we refer to this as the smooth flow of qi (pronounced “chee”). Study and observation over thousands of years has identified the flow of qi throughout the body along specific pathways called meridians. Acupuncture points located along these meridians directly affect the flow of qi as well as organs and complex systems within our bodies. When our qi is disrupted or damaged it causes our body discomfort, pain, and illness. Acupuncture works to adjust the flow of qi in a way that allows the body to heal itself naturally, as it’s designed to do.
Acupuncture can do a lot for the body with just needles, but TCM has more to offer.
Chinese herbs provide a pure form of medicine that comes directly from the Earth. Herbs work naturally with our bodies to return them to a healthy state. Chinese herbal formulas are intricate and combine single herbs together to create a formula that is bigger than its individual parts. Meaning, single herbs are often correlated to treat a specific symptom, but TCM understands how herbs are combined to change and expand their functions beyond what an herb can do alone.
Cupping is a therapy where suction is created as cups are placed on the body. This suction works to increase circulation, stimulate healing of past cellular damage, and promote the smooth flow of qi.
Cupping has become increasingly popular with professional athletes and actors/actresses sporting the tell-tale red cupping marks left on the body.
Similar to cupping, gua sha works to increase circulation, stimulate healing of past cellular damage, and promote the smooth flow of qi. The method is slightly different as instead of cups, a smooth gua sha tool is used to "scrape" the body. Known as a scraping technique, this tool is repeatedly rubbed along the skin and muscles often creating red marks on the skin. Despite the red marks, gua sha is not painful and many find it similar to deep massage.
Moxa is an herb commonly known as “mugwort.” It is used in various forms in TCM. Each form includes burning moxa (moxibustion) and using the heat to affect acupuncture points and meridians along the body. The heat and the herbal properties stimulate meridians for healing purposes.
What conditions can acupuncture treat?
Something really exciting is happening! More and more studies are being done on the effectiveness of acupuncture for a wide spectrum of conditions. The World Health Organization (WHO) and National Institutes of Health (NIH) have endorsed acupuncture to be effective in treating a long list of symptoms and conditions. And the lists continues to grow.
The list of conditions deemed appropriate for treatment with acupuncture is so long we couldn’t possibly include them all here. Provided here is an abbreviated list. If you have questions about conditions not on this list, please give us a call to discuss treatment options.
Adverse reactions to radiation/chemotherapy treatments
Digestive issues (constipation, diarrhea, acid reflux, GERD)
Temporomandibular dysfunction (TMD)
Women’s reproductive health conditions