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What is Acupuncture?


Acupuncture is a form of traditional Chinese medicine that involves the insertion of thin needles into specific points on the body. In it’s more traditional form and interpretation, it is based on the belief that the body has natural patterns of energy flow, called Qi (pronounced “chee”), and that illness or pain occurs when these patterns are disrupted or blocked. Acupuncture is believed to help restore the balance of Qi in the body and relieve pain by unblocking any obstructions in the flow of energy.

The practice of acupuncture has been around for over 2,000 years and is used by millions of people worldwide to treat a wide range of conditions.

In it’s more modern interpretation, acupuncture is a physical medicine based on anatomy. Acupuncture works by causing a stimulus, due to needling, that causes signaling throughout the connective tissue. This improves the flow of blood, nutrients, and oxygen that nourish the cells of our body. If blood is unable to flow properly to an area of the body, that area cannot function properly. Thus, causing pain, depleting organ function, and increase aging. Acupuncture also works by stimulating the nervous system by influencing the nociceptor and proprioceptor fibers that traverse from the skin to the spine and into the brain. By improving the signal to your brain, it begins to work properly. Releasing natural painkillers and turning the pain signal off.

It is important to choose a reputable acupuncturist and to let them know about any medications you are taking or health conditions you have, as there is a small risk of bleeding, infection, or other complications.

How Acupuncture Works

The exact mechanisms by which acupuncture works are not fully understood, but it is believed to work by activating the body’s natural healing processes, affecting blood flow, and regulating the flow of Qi. Acupuncture may also work by stimulating the release of chemicals such as endorphins and neurotransmitters, which can help reduce pain and improve overall well-being.

When the needles are inserted into the skin, they stimulate specific points on the body called acupuncture points or acupoints. These points correspond to specific organs or systems in the body and are believed to have a therapeutic effect when stimulated.

These needles are strategically placed for optimal results. Relief can be felt on the table within moments. Patients describe it as “turning off a light switch” of symptoms or pain. DNA places needles distal, or far away, from the symptomatic site.

To the untrained eye, these placements may seem random. For example, a shoulder pain can be addressed with needles in the wrists, ankles and/or knees. These needles are strategically placed for optimal results. Relief is felt on the table within moments. To explain this physiologically, the practitioner is placing needles in specific areas of dense nerve tissue to signal to the brain to release certain natural pain-killing chemicals and to stimulate blood flow.

In our more modern understanding of how acupuncture works, it is preeminently by influencing the flow of blood in your body which improves oxygen and nutrient movement. This benefits the health of your Nervous, Cardiovascular, Endocrine, & Immune systems. Influencing the health of your organs. Basically, it stimulates your body’s natural healing capabilities. Acupuncture treats numerous conditions on its own or in conjunction with Herbal Medicine. The most commonly known conditions include pain such as low-back pain, neck pain, knee pain, and headaches to name a few. Additionally, studies are continuing to show that acupuncture is effective for many other ailments. Each treatment course is going to be different, but typically the effects are cumulative.

Choosing A Practitioner

It is important to choose a qualified and reputable acupuncturist to ensure the safety and effectiveness of your treatment. Acupuncturists should be licensed by the state in which they practice and should have received formal training in acupuncture. In the United States, acupuncturists are required to have a master’s degree in acupuncture and pass a certification exam.

When choosing an acupuncturist, it is a good idea to ask about their education, experience, and license. You can also ask for references or check with your state’s licensing board to verify their credentials. It is also a good idea to ask about the acupuncturist’s approach to treatment and how many treatments they think you may need.

What is Balanced Method Acupuncture?

Your treatment plan is based on what is best for your exact ailment. Dr Lee at Acupuncture Medical Associates exclusively uses a style of treatment called Balance Method Acupuncture. It is a method from Dr. Richard Tan that primarily uses needles away from the areas of pain, or used in a manner to bring on balance to the body. So that healing can occur. To the untrained eye, these placements may seem random. For example, shoulder pain can be addressed with needles at the wrists, ankles, or knees.

What To Expect During Your Acupuncture Session

During an acupuncture treatment, the acupuncturist will use sterilized, hair-thin needles to stimulate specific points on the body. The needles are usually inserted just under the skin and left in place for about 20-30 minutes. The needles may be manipulated or gently stimulated to enhance the flow of Qi. Some people may experience a mild aching sensation when the needles are inserted, but the procedure is generally not painful.

Acupuncture is typically performed in a series of treatments, and the number of treatments needed may vary depending on the severity and duration of the condition being treated. Some people may notice an improvement in their symptoms after just one or two treatments, while others may need several more treatments to achieve significant relief.

During the treatment, you will be asked to lie down on a comfortable treatment table and relax. The acupuncturist will then insert the needles into specific points on the body, depending on your individual needs and the condition being treated. The needles are usually inserted at a shallow depth and are not intended to be painful. You may feel a mild sensation when the needles are inserted, but this sensation should not be painful.

After the needles are inserted, you will be left to rest for about 20-30 minutes to allow the treatment to take effect. Some people experience a feeling of relaxation or even fall asleep during this time.

After the treatment is finished, the needles will be removed and you will be free to go about your day. It is important to drink plenty of water after an acupuncture treatment to help flush toxins out of the body.

It is not uncommon to experience some mild side effects after an acupuncture treatment, such as fatigue, mild dizziness, or a slight bruise at the needle site. These side effects are usually temporary and should resolve on their own within a few days.

Overall, acupuncture is a safe and effective treatment option for a wide range of conditions. It can be used as a standalone treatment or in conjunction with other treatments, depending on your individual needs. If you are considering acupuncture for a specific condition, it is a good idea to discuss your treatment options with a healthcare professional to determine the best course of action for your specific situation.