Acupuncture is about 3,000 years old. It has survived cultural and political changes. It is one of the oldest forms of medicine today. Some say it is nothing more than a placebo. If it is only a placebo, it is the longest working placebo in history. Acupuncture is insertion of fine needles at very specific points on the surface of the body. The World Health Organization listed the following symptoms and disease conditions successfully treated by acupuncture:
- Neck, low back pain and sciatica
- Peri-arthritis of the shoulder, tennis elbow and knee pain, sprains
- Facial pain (including cranio-mandibular disorders)
- Dental pain, tempromandibular (TMJ) dysfunction
- Postoperative pain
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Primary dysmenorrhea
- Nausea and vomiting, morning sickness
- Correction of malposition of fetus (breech presentation), induction of labor
- Essential hypertension, primary hypotension, stroke
- Allergic rhinitis, including hay fever
- Leucopoenia, adverse reactions to radiation or chemotherapy
- Renal colic, acute bacillary dysentery, biliary colic
- Acute epigastralgia, peptic ulcer, acute and chronic gastritis
- Depression (including neurosis and depression following stroke
Acupuncture points are like towns on a map
They connect points to organs and body structures. A body’s energy blocked results in pain or illness. Needling points balances the energy influencing organs and structures. Acupuncture does not treat disease. It helps the body heal itself. According to Western medicine, acupuncture produces the following biochemical and hormonal alterations:
- Stimulates the release of endorphins and opioids (the body’s own pain-killer chemicals)
- Alters levels of neurotransmitters in the brain such as L-Dopamine, serotonin & norepinephrine
- Regulates hormones such as corticosteroids and insulin
Treatments performed according to established protocols
Surgical stainless steel needles are inserted into points on the body surface. Other treatments may include electrical micro-current stimulation or moxibustion (a form of heat therapy). Your treatment is determined by the health problem. Many patients report sensations of gentle warmth, heaviness, dullness, pressure or an electric sensation moving up or down the body. Patients comment feeling pleasant and relaxed. In some case they may fall asleep.
Number of treatments determined by condition and patient needs
Each person is unique so the number of treatments vary. Many acute conditions only require one to four treatments. Generally, five to fifteen treatments are necessary for the majority of chronic disorders. Some severe, more chronic degenerative conditions may need several series of treatments over a longer period of time.
- Maintain good personal hygiene
- Eat a protein meal 1-2 hours before a treatment
- Do not wear jewelry
- Wear loose clothing. Women should not wear one-piece dresses and should avoid tight stockings
- Do not have a treatment when emotionally upset, fatigued, hungry or full
- Ask questions preferably before treatment but if need be, during the treatment
- Do not move suddenly or change position. If you are uncomfortable, tell the practitioner.
- Some may experience dizziness, shortness of breath, nausea or cold sweat. Tell your practitioner immediately if you feel pain or burning sensations.
Patients may experience total or partial relief of pain or symptoms. Others may not see immediate relief but might find pain and symptoms diminished over the next few days following treatment. The relief may extend for several days while in others it may return within a shorter time. Regardless, one can expect to feel better.
Below is a small sampling of clinical studies citing the health benefits of acupuncture treatments.
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