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Acupuncture, What is it?

Acupuncture needles on the back of a beautiful woman – Portrait of a pretty lady in acupuncture therapy at the day spa

Acupuncture is based on ancient Chinese theories of the flow of Qi (Energy) and Xue (Blood) through channels or meridians which run throughout the body very similar to the nervous and circulatory system. Acupuncture itself is the insertion of fine needles into the body at specific points that lay on these meridians. These points have been proven effective throughout time for specific problems or diseases. In acupuncture, there are no side effects. It is merely a tool to allow the body to heal itself.

Does it hurt?

Most people feel nothing, an Acupuncture needle cannot be compared to a syringe needle at all.  Syringe needles are quite large, are hollow (to pull liquids in and out of the body) and are administered into arteries.  Acupuncture needles are solid and as thin as one piece of hair.  In Acupuncture, we administer needles with caution, avoiding arteries and nerves.  Acupuncture is mostly painless, but since a stimulus needs to be obtained you will feel either a heaviness, distension, tingling or electric sensation around the needle or traveling up and down the meridian. Any kind of discomfort that is made from the stimulation of the needle disappears in seconds.

Are the needles clean?

Acupuncture needles are pre-sterilized, individually packaged and disposable. Thus assuring there is no transmission of communicable disease from patient to patient.

How does Acupuncture work?

How can such an “ancient” medicine be at the forefront of the “new” millennium? Simple, acupuncture is so incredible because it works on all levels. This means superficially, internally, physically and emotionally. Therefore it works for superficial muscular problems, internal issues, emotional conflict and also as preventive maintenance. How does it work? Basically, the needles stimulate the energy or Qi in the meridians or channels. When we have pain or inflammation this indicates there is stagnation in that area of the meridian. To achieve results, all that is needed is to move the stagnation or energy with acupuncture. Concerning internal problems, this means any imbalance in the body, these manifest as symptoms…PMS, constipation, fatigue, insomnia, depression etc. Each symptom correlates to an organ and each organ has its own meridian. Acupuncture can then stimulate the meridian connected to the organ that needs balance, therefore achieving alleviation of the symptom. The Chinese believe “if there is free flow than no imbalance or disease can occur”, therefore we can ensure a healthy future and function at our optimum with monthly maintenance treatments.

Do I have to believe in Acupuncture for it to work?

No. Acupuncture is used successfully on cats, dogs, horses and other animals. These patients do not understand or believe in this treatment, but that does not prevent them from getting better.

How many treatments do I need?

That depends upon the duration, severity and nature of each individual’s complaint. Generally five to fifteen treatments are adequate for the majority of illness. Acute conditions may require only a single treatment and some degenerative diseases may require a whole series of treatments.

Should I use Acupuncture with other types of health care?

Yes. Oriental Medicine can be used by itself or as a complement to other systems of health care. When used together with Western Medicine healing is enhanced.

Please tell us if you are under the care of other health practitioners or about any medications you are currently taking so that we may coordinate our efforts.

Please note: While Oriental Medicine can treat many conditions, there are situations in which Western Medicine is more appropriate. If this occurs, we will recommend contacting a Western Medical doctor.

What criteria should one use in choosing an acupuncturist?

Look for the abbreviations L.Ac., O.M.D., D.O.M or Dip. Ac. after the practitioners name. All of these abbreviations are similar in meaning. Chinese Medicine as a system is extremely complicated and extensive. It is not just a collection of techniques that can be added to some other health care profession. Only seek treatment from professionally trained and qualified practitioners of Chinese Medicine.

The First Treatment

After you arrive you will be asked to fill out a short health history. These questions are to help your practitioner evaluate your presenting patterns based upon your symptoms. This “pattern of disharmony” is in large measure what makes traditional Chinese/Asian Medicine so effective.

In a private room you will review the history one-on-one with the treating Practitioner. After further evaluation the Practitioner will explain the treatment strategy. Then your Practitioner will wash their hands and begin your treatment.

What do I need to do to prepare for an acupuncture treatment?

Prior to coming for your appointment, be sure to eat only a light meal or snack and drink a little water. Please also bring the names and doses of all medications and dietary or herbal supplements you are taking.

Here is an excellent example “story” to explain where acupuncture is both the modern and traditional Chinese medical system. The story of the Three Brothers.

James O’Sullivan L.Ac C.Ac (China)

James O’Sullivan - that's me, a people friendly practitioner and lecturer of Integrated Medicine, serving my patients, my students and the public with the positive benefits of both Conventional Western Medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine. It's a wonderful life
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to diagnose or assess. The information provided is not to be considered a substitute for consultation with a qualified health care practitioner.
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