- 1. What is Acupuncture?
- 2. What problems can be treated by acupuncture?
- 3. Does it hurt?
- 4. How deep do the needles go?
- 5. Are the needles clean?
- 6. How does acupuncture work?
- 7. How many treatments will I need?
- 8. Can Acupuncture Be Effective When Other Treatments Have Failed?
- 9. Does acupuncture cause any side effects?
- 10. What can I expect after treatment?
Acupuncture is a Chinese medical practice that treats illness and provides local anesthesia by the insertion of needles at predetermined sites of the body. Acupuncture is the insertion of fine needles into the body at specific points which have been empirically proven effective in the treatment of specific disorders. These points have been mapped by the Chinese over a period of 2000 years. Recently their location has been confirmed by electromagnetic research. Acupuncture may also follow many other forms, for example Moxibustion which helps drive the body’s Qi up to promote the natural healing abilities our bodies have. Qi (pronounced chee) is the Vital Energy of every living organism and the source of all movement and change in the body and the universe.
The Word “Acupuncture” comes from the Latin words acus, meaning Needle, and pungere, meaning Puncture. This is the Western name given to a type of Chinese medical treatment. The Chinese call it Chen Chiu.
The World Health Organization has publicly announced that acupuncture is suitable for treating the following:
1. Ear, Nose, and Throat Disorders (Toothaches, pain after tooth extraction, gingivitis, acute or chronic otitis, acute sinusitis, acute rhinitis, nasal catarrh, and acute tonsillitis.)
2. Respiratory Disorders (Bronchial asthma – in children or adults when uncomplicated)
3. Gastrointestinal Disorders (Esophageal and cardio spasm, hiccup, gastroptosis, acute or chronic gastritis, sour stomach, chronic duodenal ulcers, acute or chronic colitis, acute bacillary dysentery, constipation, diarrhea, and paralyticileus.
4. Eye Disorders (Acute conjunctivitis, central retinitis, nearsightedness (in children), and cataracts without complications.)
5. Neurological and Muscular Disorders (Headaches, migraines, trigeminal neuralgia, facial paralysis (within the first 3-6 months), post-stroke paresis, peripheral neuritis, neurological bladder dysfunction, bed wetting, intercostal neuralgia, cervical syndrome, frozen shoulder, tennis elbow, sciatica, low back pain and osteoarthritis.
In addition, acupuncture has been used for centuries in China to treat a host of other problems, such as knee pain, sprains and strains, and most gynecological complaints.
In Chinese, acupuncture is Bu tong, painless. However, if the correct stimulus of the needle has been obtained, the patient should feel some cramping, heaviness, distention, tingling, or electric sensation either around the needle or travelling up or down the affected energy pathway or meridian. In English, these sensations may be categorized by some people as types of pain. which they are not in Chinese. In any case, if there is any discomfort, it is usually mild.
Most people expect acupuncture could be very painful like hypodermic needles used in injections and blood tests. But once they try it, they are usually very surprised to find it hardly causes any pain. Acupuncture needles bear little resemblance to those hypodermic needles that have a hollow cutting-edge. They are much finer and are solid with no hollow cutting-edge, which means they part the tissue rather than cut it. Especially Japanese needles are extremely fine; average gauge is 0.14 ~ 0.18mm thick and 4 ~ 5 cm long, while Chinese ones are 0.28 ~ 0.38mm thick and 7 ~10 cm long. (** The thickness of the smallest hypodermic needle is 0.41mm.) When the needle is inserted, the sensation is often described as a “dull or heavy current-like feeling” or “slight tingling”. Beside the shape of the needle tip, acupuncturists learn various needling techniques that minimize inflicting pain during needle insertion.
That depends upon the nature of the problem, the underlying anatomy of the points selected, the patient’s size, age, and constitution, and upon the acupuncturist’s style or school. In general, needles are inserted from 1/4 to 1 inch in depth.
The needles used are presterilized, individually packaged, disposable needles thus absolutely assuring that there is no transmission of communicable diseases from patient to patient due to contaminated needles.
Traditionally, acupuncture is based on ancient Chinese theories of the flow of Qi (energy) and Xue (Blood) through discrete channels or meridians which traverse the body similar but not identical to the nervous and blood circulatory systems. According to this theory, acupuncture regulates this flow of Qi shunting it to those areas where it is Deficient and draining it from where it is Excess. Thus acupuncture regulates and restores the harmonious energetic balance of the body. In Chinese there is a famous dictum, “There is no pain if there is free flow; if there is pain, there is no free flow”. Essentially, acupuncture promotes the free and balanced flow of Qi and Blood.
That depends upon the duration, severity and nature of each individual’s complaint. Generally from five to fifteen treatments are adequate for the majority of chronic ailments. Many acute conditions may only require a single treatment and some degenerative conditions may require scores of treatments. However, the patient has the right to expect that their major complaint will be addressed and treated in a direct and timely manner.
Absolutely! Each system of medicine has its own areas of greatest effectiveness. Acupuncture excels in those areas in which conventional medicine comes up short. Chronic disease, pain control, and stress related disorders are three of acupuncture and Oriental medicine’s specialties.
Basically no, as long as the therapist is well-trained and knows exactly what he or she is doing.