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Common Questions About Accupuncture

What is acupuncture? How does it work?
Acupuncture is safe, natural, drug-free and effective. Acupuncture is an essential part of traditional Oriental medicine, a comprehensive system of health care with a continuous clinical history of over 3000 years. Oriental medicine includes acupuncture, Chinese herbology and bodywork, dietary therapy and exercise based on traditional Oriental medicine principles. These therapies work with the natural vital energy inherent within all living things to promote the body's ability to heal itself. This system of health care is used extensively by one-quarter of the world's population residing in Asia and is rapidly growing in popularity in the west.

Oriental medicine is based on an energetic model rather than the bio-chemical model of Western medicine.  The ancient Chinese recognize a vital energy behind all life forms and life processes.  They called this energy Qi (pronounced chee).  In developing an understanding of the prevention and cure of disease, these healing practitioners discovered that this energy flows along specific pathways called meridians.  Each pathway is associated with a particular physiological system and internal organ.  Disease is considered to arise due to a deficiency or imbalance of energy in the meridians and their associated physiological systems.

Acupuncture points are specific locations along the meridians. Each point has a predictable effect upon the vital energy passing through it.  Modern science has been able to measure the electrical charge at these points, thus corroborating the locations of the meridians mapped by the ancients.Tiny, disposable, sterile needles are placed gently into specific acupuncture points.

What is a session like?
Every session is unique and caters to each individual and their specific goals. It is standard for practitioners to discuss the primary issues and concerns in your life during sessions. Your diet and your lifestyle are often reviewed as well. Your session may simply include acupuncture, vibrational medicine or a combination of both modalities. It is not uncommon for herbal and dietary recommendations to be made as well.

An acupuncture diagnosis involves four main techniques: 1) Pulse diagnosis; 2) Looking; 3) Asking; and 4) a physical exam. Pulse diagnosis consists of feeling up to 26 subtle variations in the quality of the pulse and are felt at six different positions on each wrist. Looking consists of viewing a person's appearance, skin color, demeanor and tone of voice. Looking also considers the color, shape and size of the tongue. The technique of looking provides me with vital clues regarding your internal health. The asking technique allows me to gather past medical history, present health, current lifestyle and emotional state. The physical exam consists of palpating specific areas and acupuncture points which can help reveal imbalances.

During an acupuncture session, tiny needles which are thinner than a piece of your hair, are gently inserted into specific locations along your body, usually along the arms and legs.  Within minutes, a deep sense of relaxation overcomes your body and you have the opportunity to rest for 20 - 30 minutes  before the needles are gently removed. Acupuncture does not hurt.  On occasion, you may be aware of the insertion of the needle throughout the treatment. That awareness is the acupuncture doing its job.  The acupuncture is breaking through blockages in your body so that the energy (Qi) can flow freely, allowing your body to reach its optimal state of well being.

Is acupuncture painful?
Acupuncture bears no resemblance to the feeling of receiving an injection, since the main source of pain from injections is the larger diameter, hollow needle and the medication being forced into the tissue by pressure.  Acupuncture needles are very fine and flexible, about the diameter of a human hair.  In most cases, insertion by a skilled practitioner is performed without discomfort.  You  may experience a sense of heaviness or electricity in the area of insertion.  Most patients find the treatments very relaxing and many fall asleep during treatment.