What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a means of adjusting the body's life energy (chi or qi) through the insertion of fine needles into carefully selected acupuncture points along the meridians or energy channels of the body. The needles stimulate the flow of energy and remove blockages so that the qi can be dispersed and regulated. When the qi is flowing properly throughout the body, balance and health are restored.
Does acupuncture hurt?
When an acupuncture needle is inserted into the body you may feel a slight stinging sensation that subsides almost immediately. Most of the needles you will not feel at all. Once the needles are inserted, the body and mind will drift into a deep state of relaxation. Many patients fall asleep.
Is acupuncture safe?
When practiced by a licensed, trained acupuncturist, acupuncture is extremely safe and there is no danger whatsoever. On occasion there may be slight tenderness or minor bruising at the site where a needle was inserted. This will usually subside within a few days.
What happens when a needle is inserted?
There are four basic physical responses that occur when a needle is inserted. These include:
1. An increase in blood circulation to the area.
2. An increase in the flow of Qi.
3. A release of your own body's endorphins which, in turn, relieve pain and stress in the body.
4. A boost in organ, circulatory, and nerve function in the body.
Are there any contraindications for acupuncture?
There are very few situations where acupuncture is not advised. These are the most common:
Are the needles clean?
Most acupuncturist today use disposable needles which are used only once. Made of the highest quality surgical stainless steel, acupuncture needles are machine sharpened and polished, offering a uniform and consistent needle tip geometry. This results in a painless and smooth insertion. In addition, the needles undergo a proprietary cleaning process and EOG (Ethylene Oxide Gas) sterilization, which together, is proven to be hygienic and non-pyrogenic.
Can it be used in conjunction with Western medicine?
Yes. The integration of Western medicine and alternative medicine is the medicine of the future. Your practitioner will assist you in working with your doctor to make sure you are receiving the safest and best possible care.
Are there any side effects or complications?
As previously mentioned, acupuncture is an extremely safe method of treatment, and as such, side effects and complications are extremely rare when treated by an experienced, licensed practitioner. However, a small number of patients do have reactions to the procedure which may include nausea, lightheadedness, and fainting. This is often due to being treated on an empty stomach or being extremely fatigued while receiving acupuncture.
How many treatments will I need?
The total number of treatments required to effect change in a condition varies dependent upon the disease and it's severity, the duration of the illness, and the age and general health of the patient. Other factors that can influence the duration of treatment include the frequency of treatment and patient commitment to recommended diet and lifestyle changes. As a rough guideline, the maximum benefit is usually obtained after approximately six treatments at weekly intervals. Three more treatments at three month intervals followed by one or two occassional treatments may be recommended to prevent recurrence.
Can children receive acupuncture?
Yes, children can receive acupuncture and often have excellent results with this treatment. However, in cases where the children are uneasy about the needles, a practitioner may choose to use an acupressure treatment (massage of the acupoints), as opposed to acupuncture.
Do I have to believe in it for it to work?
The answer to this question is no. While having a positive state of mind helps with any type of treatment, conventional or otherwise, it is not necessary to "believe" in acupuncture for it to work. This is evidenced not only through clinical study in "non-believers", but by the fact that animals and small children who cannot be instructed to "believe" receive relief through the use of acupuncture
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