About Acupunctureacupuncture

WHAT IS ACUPUNCTURE?

Acupuncture is a component of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) that originated in Chinaover 5,000 years ago. It is the practice of inserting hair-thin needles into specific body points (acupoints or acupuncture points) in order to improve the circulation of vital energy, called “qi,” throughout the body. Acupuncture encourages the body’s natural healing abilities, thus promoting overall health and well-being. In addition to inserting very fine needles, acupuncturists use heat, pressure, friction, suction and electromagnetic energy to stimulate the acupoints.


HOW DOES ACUPUNCTURE WORK?

Vital energy, called “qi,” circulates along the body’s energy lines, called “meridians.” In health, qi is plentiful and flows freely along these meridians. When there is not enough qi or it is blocked, disease occurs. By inserting hair-thin needles into acupoints situated along these meridians, acupuncturists promote the circulation and balance of qi in the body, thus reversing imbalances and restoring health.


HOW MANY TREATMENTS WILL I NEED?


Every person’s body and state of health is different. Therefore, the number of treatments needed differs from person to person. In general, the longer your body has been out of balance, the longer it will take to bring it back into balance. For complex or long-standing conditions, one or two treatments a week for several months may be recommended. For acute problems, usually fewer visits are required.


WHAT ARE THE NEEDLES LIKE? DO THEY HURT?


Acupuncture needles are made of very thin, sterile stainless steel. As many as 16 acupuncture needles can be fit into the hollow tip of a hypodermic style needle that is used to draw blood. Acupuncture needles are smooth and solid, so the insertion is not as painful as injections or drawing blood.

People experience acupuncture differently. Many people report feeling a slight prick followed by a dull ache or heaviness; some feel no sensation at all. Once the needles are in place, generally only a dull ache or subtle sense of moving energy can be felt. These feelings indicate the activation and movement of qi.


DOES ACUPUNCTURE HAVE ANY SIDE EFFECTS?

Usually not. The most common side effect is a sensation of deep relaxation. Mild aching, tingling or bruising around the needle insertion sites may occur. These side effects are normal, and are not cause for concern.