What is acupuncture?
At the core of Oriental Medicine, acupuncture is the 5,000 year old art of healing which includes herbology, nutrition, heat therapy, tui-na (medical massage-acupressure) qi gong, (therapeutic breathing exercise) and life style counseling. Acupuncture needles today are thin, sterile, single use, which are placed in various points of the body depending on each individual condition. The needles are generally left in place for 20-30 minutes while the patient relaxes.
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.
The meridians can be influenced by needling the acupuncture points; the acupuncture needles unblock the obstruction 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, and 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 body’s 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. (from medicalacupuncture.org)
Are there different styles of acupuncture?
Yes. Acupuncture originated in China and spread to Korea, Vietnam, Japan, Europe, and the United States. From these different countries and cultures various styles have evolved. Kara has been fortunate to study with teachers from each of these countries. She practices an eclectic blend of acupuncture techniques to best treat her patients.
How deep does the needle go?
Don't worry, not that deep! Most acupuncture points are located close to the skin’s surface. The needles are may be inserted from 1/16 to a few inches deep. The depth of the needle depends on the individual, their condition, the patient’s size, age, and the location of the points selected.
Does acupuncture hurt?
Generally NO. While most people associate pain from needles due to their experience with shots and blood tests, acupuncture needles are NOT the same. The needles used during your acupuncture treatment are about 50 times THINNER than hypodermic needles. Some patients feel nothing at all, others may experience a brief moment of discomfort. Most people find the experience relaxing and some even fall asleep.
Can I have acupuncture treatments while having other medical treatment?
YES. Acupuncture does not conflict with western medicine, chiropractic, or physical therapy. Instead it assists and enhances them. Many conditions such as sports injuries, immune system disorders, infertility, side effects of chemotherapy, and anxiety are well treated by combinations of western medicine and acupuncture.
Are there any side effects?
Kara likes to call them “after effects”: improved sleep, clearer thinking, improved digestion, stress reduction, and increased energy.
Occasionally a slight bruise may occur after the needle has been removed. This is not painful or harmful, and will disappear in a few days.
How many treatments will I need?
The number of treatments needed differs from person to person and depends upon the duration, severity, and nature of your complaint. For an acute condition only a few treatments, scheduled close together may be necessary, while chronic problems may take a series of treatments to resolve the problem.