What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture originated in China. However, over the past 2 decades it has grown in popularity in the United States. Acupuncture involves the insertion of needles or the application of heat or electrical stimulation at acupuncture points to encourage the body to heal itself and to improve functioning. These acupuncture points are located along channels of energy, called meridians, which run in regular patterns through the body.

How does acupuncture work?

The classical Chinese explanation behind acupuncture is that the flow of energy, Qi (pronounced "Chee"), must flow freely through the meridians for the body to function properly. Acupuncture can treat an obstruction in the movement of Qi. The acupuncture needles unblock the obstructions and reestablish the regular flow through the meridians. Acupuncture treatments help to correct imbalances in the function of internal organs in the body. According to modern medicine, the acupuncture points stimulate the nervous system to release chemicals in the muscles, spinal cord, and brain that change the experience of pain and trigger the release of hormones which influence the body's own internal regulating system.

What is medical acupuncture?

Increasingly, acupuncture is being used in conjunction with more Western medical treatment, such as to control pain after surgery or the curb nausea and vomiting after chemotherapy. Conveniently, specially trained physicians can perform this service for patients.
Medical acupuncture can be used for promotion of health and wellbeing, prevention of illness and disease, and treatment of various medical conditions. Acupuncture is often associated with pain control, but it can have a much broader application.

Hundreds of clinical studies on the benefits of acupuncture show that it successfully treats conditions ranging from musculoskeletal problems (back pain, neck pain, and others) to nausea, migraine headache, anxiety, depression, insomnia, and infertility.
Acupuncture may be used in the treatment of a wide range of medical problems, including:
  • 1. Digestive disorders: gastritis and hyperacidity, spastic colon, constipation, diarrhea.
  • 2. Respiratory disorders: sinusitis, sore throat, bronchitis, asthma, recurrent chest infections.
  • 3. Neurological and muscular disorders: headaches, facial tics, neck pain, rib neuritis, frozen shoulder, tennis elbow, various forms of tendinitis, low back pain, sciatica, osteoarthritis.
  • 4. Urinary, menstrual, and reproductive problems.
  • 5. Physical problems related to stress and emotional conditions.

What can you expect during a session?

Generally during an acupuncture visit, the doctor will perform an exam and assessment of your current condition. They will then insert the needles either with you face down, face up, or on your side, depending on the placement of needles. The doctor will use single-use sterile packages needles. Once these are placed at certain depths in your skin, they will be kept in place for 5 to 20 minutes.

How many acupuncture treatments do you need?

The number of treatments you’ll need is very individualized. It differs from person to person. For acute problems, often a few treatments may be sufficient. However, for complex or chronic problems, frequent visits over the course of months may be necessary.