What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a well-known form of traditional Chinese medicine that has been practiced for over 3,000 years. The specific points used in acupuncture lie where meridians surface on the body and once needled can help redirect the flow of Qi (chee) where it is unbalanced, interrupted or insufficient. Qi, a person's natural vital energy, influences physiological functioning of the body to promote the body's ability to heal itself by flowing through channels called "meridians". These meridians are specific pathways that are associated with internal organs and other physiological systems. Acupuncture is performed using extremely thin needles that are solid, flexible and disposable. It can be used to facilitate pain or disease caused by imbalanced Qi in the meridians and their respective physiological systems.

Neurologically, acupuncture can be used to activate small nerve fibers in the muscle. By doing this, the nerve fibers can transmit impulses to the spinal cord and activate centers in the central nervous system, releasing neurotransmitters and reducing pain. The practitioner can detect the imbalance of Qi by diagnosing energy flow, which is measured by examining pulse, the appearance of one's tongue, medical history and tenderness along the meridian. As the needle begins to work, the patient may experience a dull/achy, warm, numb or tingling feeling around the area of insertion. Particularly rare side effects may include: dizziness, bruising, or light-headedness. Most patients feel heavy or sedated after treatment, indicating the relaxing of tight muscles.

Though most appointments last only between 30-60 minutes, a patient will notice significant differences within 2 to 3 treatments. Depending on the chronicity of pain, and the activity aggravating ones pain, one might need more treatments. Common disorders treated with acupuncture may include, but are not limited to: migraines/headaches, depression, anxiety, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, post-surgery swelling or pain, menstrual cycle dysfunctions, insomnia, eczema, and other pains within the entire body.