What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture originated in China over 3,000 years ago. It is part of the holistic system of healing known as Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).
Acupuncture is the gentle insertion of very fine needles into specific points on the body. This process stimulates the movement of energy or Qi (pronounced chee) thus enhancing the body’s natural ability to heal itself.
Acupuncture helps to improve the overall functioning of the body’s immune and organ systems. Acupuncture is helpful for:
- Treating existing illnesses and injuries.
- Preventing both recurrence of illnesses and new illness.
- Improving overall health.
How does Acupuncture work?
Traditional Chinese Medicine Theory
The Classical Chinese explanation is that Qi flows in channels throughout the body. These channels, called meridians, are like rivers of energy that are often compared to a series of interconnected highways. Each major organ in the body is associated with its own meridian.
Achieving good health and well being requires a balance within the body and a balance between the body and the external environment. When we are in optimal health, Qi flows smoothly throughout the meridians. This helps to nourish organs, muscles, bones, etc. However, for various reasons, an obstruction can occur in a meridian blocking the flow of Qi. This creates an imbalance in the body that can result in illness, pain or other unhealthy conditions.
Acupuncture affects Qi in many ways. Because Qi is directly accessible through Acupuncture points that are located all over the body, an Acupuncturist can actually manipulate Qi. For example, Acupuncture can boost “weak” Qi or calm “excited” Qi. Acupuncture can even redirect the flow of “blocked” Qi. By affecting Qi in these ways, Acupuncture helps to restore and maintain the body’s natural healing ability.
Does Acupuncture hurt?
No. People experience Acupuncture differently. Most people, if they feel anything at all, experience a tingling sensation around the needle.
Is Acupuncture covered by insurance?
In most cases auto insurance or “no-fault” covers Acupuncture and Massage Therapy. A growing number of major medical insurance companies reimburse for Acupuncture or allow for discounted rates by “in-network” providers. In any case this can only be determined by asking your insurer directly. When you call to set up your initial visit remember to provide you insurance information. I will be glad to verify your benefits for you.
Acupuncture and Modern Science…
Modern science defines a stimulus as a detectable change within the body. When the body detects change, it produces a response. To the human body, an Acupuncture needle produces a stimulus.
It is true that Acupuncture is not yet fully understood by modern science. In the United States however, where Acupuncture is best known for its ability to relieve pain, the majority of research so far has been done in this area. Thanks to MRIs or Magnetic Resonance Imaging (a very sophisticated X-ray) scientists actually “see” the body’s response to Acupuncture by observing the changes in the brain. Currently the consensus is that Acupuncture stimulates the central nervous system by releasing pain-relieving chemicals. Data also suggests that Acupuncture stimulates other chemicals released by the brain, including hormones that influence the self-regulating system of the body.
Acupuncture has been used for thousands of years and has provided us with a unique and holistic approach to help prevent and treat disease. Traditional Chinese Medicine ultimately relies on the body’s natural healing ability to maintain health and protect against disease. Western science tends to use drugs and surgery. Acupuncturists use gentle needling and other modalities such as cupping, moxabustion and herbs. Both TCM and Western medicine serve a purpose striving to create an ideal environment of healing, optimal health and well being.