Acupuncture, What is it?
Acupuncture is a method of encouraging the body to promote natural healing and to improve it's functioning. To do this, needles have to be inserted in very precise acupuncture points of the body, also heat or electrical stimulation can be applied as part of the treatment.
How does acupuncture work?
The classical Chinese explanation is that channels of energy run in regular patterns through the body and over its surface. These energy channels, called meridians, are like rivers flowing through the body to irrigate and nourish the tissues. An obstruction in the movement of these energy rivers is like a dam that backs up in others.
Meridians can be influenced by, needling the acupuncture points; the acupuncture needles unblock the obstructions at the dams, and reestablish the regular flow through the meridians. Acupuncture treatments can therefore help the body's internal organs to correct imbalances in their digestion, absorption, energy production activities, and in the circulation of their energy through the meridians.
The modern scientific explanation is that needling the acupuncture points stimulates the nervous system to release 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 influence the bodies own internal regulating system.
The improved energy and biochemical balance produced by acupuncture results in stimulating the body's natural healing abilities, and in promoting physical and emotional well-being.
What is the scope of acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a system that can influence three areas of health care:
Promotion of health and well-being.
Prevention of illness.
Treatment of various medical conditions.
While acupuncture is often associated with pain control, in the hands of a well-trained practitioner it has much broader applications. Acupuncture can be effective as the only treatment used, or as the support or adjunct to other medial 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:
Digestive disorders: gastritis and hyperacidity, spastic colon, constipation, diarrhea.
Respiratory disorders: sinusitis, sore throat, bronchitis, asthma, and recurrent chest
Neurological and muscular disorders: headaches, facial tics, neck pain, rib neuritis,
frozen shoulder, tennis elbow, various forms of tendinitis, low back pain, sciatica, and osteoarthritis.
Urinary, menstrual, and reproductive problems: Acupuncture is particularly useful in resolving physical problems related to tension and 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 a week for several months may be recommended. For acute, or not so severe problems usually fewer visits are required.
Are there any side effects to the treatment?
Usually not, as energy is redirected in the body, internal chemicals and hormones are stimulated and healing begins to take place. Occasionally the original symptoms worsen for a few days, or other general changes in appetite, sleep, bowel or urination patterns, or emotional state may be triggered. These should not cause concern, as they are simply indications that the acupuncture is starting to work. It is quite common with the first one or two treatments to have a sensation of deep relaxation or even mild disorientation immediately following the treatment. These pass within a short time, and never require anything more than a bit of rest to overcome.
What are the needles like? do they hurt?
People experience acupuncture needling differently. Most patients feel only minimal sensation as the needles are inserted; some feel no pain at all. Once the needles are in place, there is no pain felt.
Acupuncture needles are very thin, solid and are made from stainless steel. The point is smooth (not hollow with cutting edges like a hypodermic needle) and insertion through the skin is not painful like injections or blood sampling. The risk of bruising and skin irritation is much less than when using a hollow needle. Because our doctor uses disposable needles, there is no risk of infection from the treatments.
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