Acupuncture is a form of treatment that allows your body to return to its equilibrium. Inserting very fine and thin needles, specific points are chosen based on your diagnosis and treatment plan. This taps in to your body’s Qi (“chi”) which in western terminology is essentially your body’s bio electric current. Every time your heart beats, every thought processing through your brain, every cell functioning in your body, produces an electrical current that can be measured via electrograms (such as ECG, EEG, or EMG).
How it Works.
If you saw your body as a river system, all water ways connecting to one another, acupuncture points would be the swimming holes. These are areas in your body where Qi pools and stimulation from an acupuncture needle creates a ripple effect, thereby allowing distal points to be as effective as local points. This is why your acupuncturist will chose points all over your body for a shoulder injury. Understanding this river (or what we call meridian systems) takes years of training and understanding to know how one ripple will affect both external and internal influences on your body. Examples of this are being treated for shoulder pain, while subsequently also treating any sleep, menstrual, emotional or digestive issues also. Traditional Chinese Medicine defers from other types of “dry needling” by understanding how to treat the root cause of the complaint rather than just doing trigger point release, thereby allowing longer relief of symptoms.
Now imagine your body as a road map. All over your body there are roadways intertwining in to one another, overpasses, and side roads merging in to one another. They are all interconnected. Now imagine there has been a car accident along one of those roads, this creates stagnation. Stagnant Qi and blood (you can physically see a bruise with an injury) creates pain. This stagnation can be caused by physical trauma, intense emotions, or extreme deficiency. Acupuncture acts like traffic control and moves the stagnation along.
What to Expect.
Following the Japanese style of Acupuncture, the insertion of these needles should be painless (noticeable but not uncomfortable). The sensation of Qi has been described as a dull ache, deep pressure, tingling sensation along the meridian, or even a sensation in another area of the body. If pain is ever experienced, the needle can be readjusted or reinserted as the needles are so fine they can fit inside a hair follicle.
Side effects of acupuncture include relaxation, lowered stress, improved sleep/digestion/emotions, etc. Negative side effects may include bruising and swelling at site and occasional “residual Qi” (a Qi sensation that lasts after the needle is withdrawn). Please tell your acupuncturist if you are sensitive or afraid of needles and special care (and even special needles and/or needle less acupuncture!) can be taken to make you more comfortable.
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Needle-less Acupuncture is available as well!
Acupressure, seed stickers and/or cold light laser treatments (coming soon) are also available and yield similar results. This is great to use for people afraid of needles and/or children.