What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is an ancient therapy used for improving the function of the body, acupuncture has its origins approximately 4000 years ago. The basis of acupuncture is to treat the energy or “chi” in the body which influences the function of the nerves, muscles, tendons, blood vessels and internal organs of the body. The use of needles, Tei Shein (a tapping, non-puncturing “needle”) and Gua Sha (a scraping tool used to manipulate soft tissue) can all be used to treat the Meridians, or energy pathways in the body.
How does acupuncture work?
The theory of acupuncture is that by balancing the energies in the body the body is more capable of healing itself and performing at optimal levels. This is not only possible for pain and visceral ailments, but also addiction to nicotine, drugs, alcohol and food, where a person may be compensating a chemical need for an energetic need, very similar to pica in individuals with mineral deficiencies. It has also been hypothesized that acupuncture increases blood flow and collagen formation at the insertion sites, thus increasing healing.
What conditions can acupuncture help?
Pain syndromes, especially chronic, systemic and/or autoimmune related. Sprain/strains and injuries to the spine and extremities, and headaches as well as musculoskeletal complaints such as low back pain, sciatic neuritis, plantar fasciitis, tennis elbow. Visceral complaints such as GERD, IBS, constipation, diarrhea, incontinence, painful or heavy periods, infertility, bronchitis and sinus congestion and allergies.
What can I expect on my first visit?
After taking a detailed past medical history, the doctor will perform an EMI (Electro Meridian Imaging) test to determine what acupuncture points should be treated according to the balancing of the 12 major meridians, or energy pathways, in the body. The doctor may also select points to specifically treat the symptoms that the patient may be suffering from. Gua Sha may be used to increase blood flow and break down scar tissue if necessary and needles may be inserted or the use of the Tei Shein may be used to treat the points. Depending on the case, heat or ice may be applied to the patient as well as electric stimulation to the needles to increase stimulation and decrease pain or spasm. Supplements or herbals maybe suggested to the patient to increase results.
What are the side effects?
Bruising or bleeding at the areas of needle insertion of use of the Gua Sha are possible. It is important for the patient to inform the doctor if she is pregnant as some points are contraindicated in pregnancy. Nausea, light-headedness and fainting are possible. Although not all patients receive improvement of the primary complaint after the first visit, most patients experience an increased level of well-being or increased functioning within the body. Acupuncture has been shown to decrease blood pressure and improve the immune system.