Q: What is acupuncture?
A: Acupuncture is one of the modalities of Oriental or East Asian medicine. Although what is called acupuncture in the West comprises several different therapies such as moxibustion and cupping mostly it consists of the insertion of fine needles into the body at specific points shown to be effective in the treatment of specific health problems. These points have been mapped by the Chinese over a period of more than 2000 years and there are more than a thousand known “acupoints”. In the past three decades, electromagnetic research has confirmed the existence and location of these points.
Q: How does acupuncture work?
A: I don’t know! Modern Western medicine cannot yet explain how it works. Traditional Asian acupuncture is based on ancient Chinese theories of the flow of qi (loosely translated as energy) that nourishes and shapes the body through distinct channels that cover the body. According to Asian theory, acupuncture balances the qi of the body. In Chinese, there is a saying “if there is pain, there is no free flow, if there is free flow, there is no pain.” Acupuncture promotes the free flow of qi.
Q: Is acupuncture safe?
A: When performed by a competently trained, licensed professional, acupuncture is extremely safe. Licensed acupuncturists today use individually packaged, sterile, disposable needles so there is virtually no chance of infection.
Q: Does acupuncture hurt?
A: Acupuncture needles are typically not much thicker than a hair, and their insertion is practically painless. It is nothing like receiving an ordinary injection. It is possible you will not even know the needles are in place. Some folks experience slight tingling, warmth, heaviness or a feeling of energy, or “qi” moving up and down the channels. Most people find acupuncture extremely relaxing and fall asleep during treatment.
Q: How many treatments will I need?
A: That depends on the duration and severity of your conditions. You may need only one treatment for an acute condition. A series of 5-10 treatment may resolve many chronic conditions. Some degenerative conditions may require many treatments over time. To reduce the number of treatments, an acupuncturist may offer dietary counseling, suggest an exercise regimen, and recommend methods of stress reduction.