WHAT IS ACUPUNCTURE?
Acupuncture is the ancient art and science of inserting very fine needles into specific points on the skin to relieve a variety of medical problems. This method encourages the body to naturally heal itself and improve its functioning. Acupuncture can help treat current issues, help heal previous problems, and help prevent new ones.
During an acupuncture treatment, very fine single-use, disposable needles are inserted into various points on the body. Patients typically feel nothing or only a very slight pinch as the needles are inserted. Sometimes heat or mild electrical stimulation is applied to the site of the needle insertion.
HOW DOES MEDICAL ACUPUNCTURE WORK?
The classical Chinese explanation for the effectiveness of acupuncture is that channels of energy run through the body and over its surface in regular patterns. These energy channels, called meridians, are like rivers flowing through the body to irrigate and nourish the tissues. An obstruction to movement in the meridians dams up the energy on one side, while cutting off the supply downstream. By applying the needles at the right points along the meridians, the obstructions are unblocked and the proper flow of energy is restored.
The scientific explanation of acupuncture is that needling the acupuncture points stimulates the body to release natural chemicals in the muscles, spinal cord, and brain. These substances either change the experience of pain or trigger the release of other chemicals or hormones that influence the body’s own internal regulating system. The needles also reduce muscle spasm and cause a healing response at the site of insertion. We know from studies using fMRI (functional MRI) scans that acupuncture can positively change the blood flow in the brain. Numerous other well-designed studies show that acupuncture is effective for treating chronic pain and other conditions.
Most importantly, acupuncture stimulates the body’s natural healing and promotes improved energy and better physical and emotional well-being.
WHAT CONDITIONS CAN BE TREATED BY MEDICAL ACUPUNCTURE?
Medical acupuncture can influence three areas of health: promotion of health and well-being, prevention of illness, and treatment of various medical conditions. Our medical acupuncturists will address all three at each of your acupuncture treatments.
While medical acupuncture is often associated with pain control, it actually has much broader applications. Medical acupuncture can be effective as the only treatment used or as the support to other modalities of medical treatment. The World Health Organization recognizes acupuncture for the treatment of a wide range of medical problems.
Our physicians often recommend acupuncture as the primary or supportive treatment for a wide variety of conditions such as pain management, respiratory, digestive, neurological and cancer support.