Oriental medicine and acupuncture is a study that combines the art and science of a medicine developed over 2,000 years ago. It combines both the use of Chinese herbs, pulse and tongue diagnosis, and acupuncture methods for treatment and diagnosis.
Acupuncture is a method of treatment encouraging the body to promote natural healing and function. This is achieved by inserting needles and other modalities at very precise acupuncture points.
How does acupuncture work?
The classical Chinese explanation is that channels of energy (“Qi”, “Chi”, “Ki”) run in regular patterns through the body and over its surface. These energy channels called, meridians, are like rivers flowing through the body, irrigating and nourishing the organs, tissues and different systems of the body. An obstruction or blockage of Qi in the movement of these “energy rivers” is like a dam that backs up the flow in one part of the body and restricts it in others.
Meridians are influenced by needling certain acupuncture points. Acupuncture will enable the Qi to flow, and thereby aid in unblocking any obstructions or restrictions within a meridian.
The modern scientific explanation is that by needling certain points on the body, stimulation of the nervous system causes the release of chemicals in the muscles, spinal cord and brain. These chemicals will either change the experience of pain, or they will trigger the release of other chemicals and hormones which in turn will then influence the body’s own internal regulating system.
The improved energy and biochemical balance produced by acupuncture results in stimulating the body’s own natural healing abilities, and in promoting physical and emotional well being.
What is the scope of acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a system which can influence three areas of health care:
While acupuncture is often associated with pain control, in the hands of a well-trained practitioner acupuncture has much broader applications. Acupuncture is effective as the only treatment used for certain conditions, or as the support/ adjunct to other medical treatment forms in many medical and surgical disorders.
The World Health Organization recognizes the use of acupuncture in the treatment of a wide range of medical problems, including:
Acupuncture is particularly useful in the resolution of physical problems related to tension, stress and emotional conditions.
How many treatments will I need?
The number of treatments needed differs from person to person. For complex or long standing conditions, one or two treatments per week for several months may be recommended. For acute problems, usually fewer visits are required, and for health maintenance, four to six treatments a year may be all that is necessary.
Are there any side effects to the treatment?
There usually are no “bad” side effects from acupuncture treatments. As energy is redirected in the body, internal chemicals and hormones are stimulated and healing begins to take place. Occasionally the original symptoms may worsen for a few days. Sometimes other general changes in appetite, sleep, bowel or urination patterns may occur. Emotions may also be triggered by acupuncture, however, these changes should not cause concern, as they are simply indications that the acupuncture is beginning to work.
It is very common with the first one to two treatments to have a sensation of deep relaxation or even mild disorientation immediately following the treatment. These pass within a short time, and require nothing more than a time of rest to “re-orient”.
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