To The Point Acupuncture


An Introduction

Acupuncture originated in China over 5000 years ago as an intrinsic part of Traditional Chinese Medicine. The traditional Chinese believe that Qi (the energy of life) flows along meridians in our bodies, just as blood flows along blood vessels. In turn, these meridians or pathways are linked to specific internal organs and organ systems. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, the uninterrupted, balanced flow of this energy keeps us alive and healthy. Similarly, if this life energy is impeded in any part of the body, disease (or dis-ease) results.

Acupuncture treatment involves the use of needles, which are inserted into specific sites along the meridians of the body to help correct or rebalance the flow of energy, consequently relieving pain and/or restoring health. Contemporary medical acupuncture is complementary to modern medical practice, rather than an alternative form of treatment. Acupuncture is integrated into conventional medical practice as a therapeutic modality used to encourage natural healing, reduce and/or relieve pain, and to improve function of affected areas of the body.

Contemporary medical acupuncture consists of stimulation of the peripheral nervous system with acupuncture needles for the therapeutic purpose of treating musculoskeletal pain and dysfunction. Acupuncture treatment involves the insertion of very fine needles through the skin and tissues at varying depths on specific points on the body, specifically penetrating the underlying structures such as muscles, nerves, ligaments, etc. The insertion of needles stimulates the body to produce endorphins, natural pain relieving chemicals in the body; there is no injection of any substance into the body.

Questions and Answers about Acupuncture
Just the mention of “needle” can make some people flinch. But having an acupuncture treatment is nothing like getting a shot. The needles rarely hurt or draw blood, and they usually induce a state of deep relaxation. Acupuncture has been around for at least 5,000 years, with its roots in Chinese medicine.

Here are answers to frequently asked questions about acupuncture and how to prepare for your treatments.

What to do before an acupuncture treatment?

Have a light meal; if this is not possible, drink some juice.
Do not consume alcohol for 4 hours prior to the treatment.
If possible, do not take any pain killers or tranquilizers for 4 hours prior to the treatment.
Do take your usual medication.

What to do after an acupuncture treatment?

Avoid strenuous activity for 2 days after treatment, even if you are now pain-free.
Rest for a few hours when you go home.
Delay taking any pain killers or tranquilizers for 1 hour after treatment.
Be aware that occasionally, the symptoms may become worse before there is relief.

How big are the needles and how deep are they inserted?
The stainless steel needles, normally about as thin as a human hair, are pre-sterilized and disposable. Unlike the hollow needles used for giving injections, acupuncture needles are solid. The acupuncturist will insert them to a depth of anywhere from a quarter of an inch to 3 inches, depending on the amount of subcutaneous fat that the needles need to penetrate.

Will it hurt me?
Acupuncture should be painless, although some people experience a slight sharp sensation depending on how sensitive they are and where the needles are inserted. Once the needle is in place, it’s normal to initially feel a tingling sensation, numbness, mild pressure or warmth. If these sensations became too strong or are uncomfortable, alert your acupuncturist and they will adjust the needles.

What exactly should I expect to happen during an acupuncture session?
The first treatment starts with a thorough medical history followed by a physical exam that notes skin tone, tongue condition and the qualities of your wrist pulse. These observations provide an indication of what’s going on in your body. After making a diagnosis, the practitioner will ask you to lie down and insert needles into key points. You’ll be allowed to rest with the needles in place, typically for up to 40 minutes.

How can it help me?
Acupuncture is mostly known in the West as a pain relief technique, but is also proven to be useful in numerous other indications. In 1979, the World Health Organization cited 104 conditions that acupuncture can treat — either alone or in conjunction with contemporary conventional medicine. To learn more about what conditions acupuncture can treat CLICK HERE. Acupuncture plays a huge role in preventive care, particularly as a form of stress management. The underlying cause of most of the conditions is chronic stress, which affects multiple systems in the body, including the immune and endocrine systems.

Is it OK for me to eat before or after a session? What about exercise?
It’s good to eat a little bit before a session because low blood sugar could increase sensitivity to the treatment and cause you to feel faint. Don’t, however, eat a heavy meal. For exercise, the reverse holds true. Prior to your session you can exercise as strenuously as you want. However, most acupuncturists advise only mild exercise within several hours after treatment. Eating too much or vigorous exertion can disrupt the corrective flow of energy that follows an acupuncture session.