Acupuncture is the most common treatment within traditional Chinese medicine. This alternative therapy dates back over 2500 years. Acupuncture involves inserting very thin, sterile needles into carefully selected acupoints. We adjust the needles to regulate your body's natural energy, or Qi (pronounced Chee). When your body's natural energy flows freely, it remove blockages.
How acupuncture works
The Classical Chinese belief is that the human body has channels of energy. These "rivers" run in patterns deep throughout, as well as on the surface, of your body. Pain and sickness arise when there is a blockage in this flow, creating an imbalance of energy in the body. This imbalance causes the illness, whether physical, mental or emotional.
Manipulating your acupuncture points allows us to access and influence your Qi. This re-establishes a balance or a regular flow of energy throughout your body.
Western medicine believes acupuncture treatments use your body's nervous system chemicals. During acupuncture, specific points in your body are engaged. This allows natural chemicals to flow to your muscles, spinal cord and brain. By taking advantage of this natural process, you decrease your body’s experience of pain. Additionally, you use your body’s own internal system to promote natural healing.
Modern-day needles are very thin, flexible, and made from stainless steel. All needles are sterile, disposable, and solid; the risk of skin irritation is minimal. Patients feel little or no discomfort during insertion and manipulation of the needle. Once the needle is in place, you will feel no pain.
Learn more about Chinese medicine.
Conditions that benefit from acupuncture
In the hands of a well-trained provider, acupuncture can treat a range of medical problems. Studies shows acupuncture is effective alone or in combination with other conventional therapies. Conditions treated with acupuncture can include:
- Digestion conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome
- Emotional conditions such as anxiety, depression, insomnia, and stress
- Gynecologic conditions such as menstrual pain and infertility
- Nausea and vomiting
- Parkinson's disease
The number of acupuncture treatments you need to see a health benefit vary person to person. For a complex or long-lasing condition, you may need one or two treatments per week for several months. For less complex conditions, you might only one or two treatments. And for routine health maintenance, four sessions a year may be all that is necessary.
What to expect from acupuncture
The following guidelines are important to enhance your response to treatment:
- Do not eat a large meal immediately before or after your treatment.
- Do not exercise, engage in sexual activity, or consume alcohol within six hours before and 24 hours after treatment.
- Continue taking any prescription medications as directed by your physician.
Plan your activities so that after treatment you can rest and “pamper” yourself for 24 hours.
Learn more about what to expect with your acupuncture treatment.
Side effects of acupuncture
There are few, if any, side effects when you treat your condition with acupuncture. Any side effects are temporary. You might see the original symptom worsen for a few days. Or there might be a change in appetite, sleep, bowel or bladder patterns. You could also feel a change to your emotional state.
This is normal and is your body’s natural way of re-organizing its energy flow. In fact, these short-term effects are an sign that the acupuncture is working. You should start feeling better once the “dust settles” and the imbalance corrects.
What is Medical & Sports Acupuncture?
“Medical” acupuncture is treatment performed by a medical doctor, licensed in western medicine. They have had thorough training in acupuncture as a specialty. These doctors use an integrative approach to treat and help prevent diseases. If you choose medical acupuncture, you can get the best of both worlds.
“Sports” acupuncture specifically addresses concerns of the athlete. These included sports-related injuries, performance enhancement, and post-activity muscle recovery.