What is Acupuncture? Acupuncture is an ancient system of medicine that originated in China over 5,000 years ago and involves the insertion of very fine, sterile, disposable stainless steel needles into various places on the body.
How does Acupuncture work? Just as with the therapeutic effects of aspirin, Western medicine has not been able to provide an explanation for the therapeutic effects of acupuncture. Still, aspirin is prescribed for heart and circulation problems and most recently, cancer. Some studies suggest that acupuncture increases the level of endorphins, the body's natural pain killers. Other studies show an increase in the level of T-cells in the blood, important for the immune system. Acupuncture stimulates the body's own natural healing system.
How many treatments will I need? This depends of the type of problem, whether it is acute or chronic, whether you are taking medications, or if other conditions are present. Some patients report relief within one or two treatments, while others may require a course of treatments. It's very common to have 10 treatments or more for a given condition.
How often will I need to come? Since the benefits of Acupuncture are cumulative, it is best to come frequently in the beginning, perhaps 1-3 times per week. As improvement occurs, paatients may come once a week or even less often until the Acupuncturist determines that the treatment is complete.
How long is a treatment session? A treatment session may last anywhere from half an hour up to an hour. It depends on the particular treatment given.
Are there any side effects to Acupuncture? There are no negative side effects to Acupuncture, for it does not involve the use of medications and it is not an invasive technique like surgery. The patient may not notice an improvement for awhile. Most individuals typically notice a "side effect" of having a feeling of well-being and increased energy.
Do the needles hurt? Acupuncture involves the use of hair-fine stainless steel needles. They are much thinner than hypodermic needles and they are not hollow, so nothing is injected into the body. The needles are inserted very quickly and most people don't feel anything. Some people may report a sensation like a mosquito bite sting in certain points. Once the needles are in the body, people should feel very comfortable and be able to relax during the course of treatment.
Are other techniques used besides needles? The clinic often uses a painless technique called moxibustion, in which a Chinese herb is burned over a needle. This doesn't hurt and is often very relaxing. Cupping is also used, in which special suction cups are placed over a muscular area to relax tightened muscles. A technique called gwa sha, which is similar to cupping but involves a scraping technique is used to relax tense muscles and promote detoxification. Electro-acupuncture may be used as well as magnets and electro-magnet therapy.