Acupuncture is an essential part of traditional Oriental medicine, a comprehensive system of health care with a continuous clinical history of over 3000 years. The ancient Chinese recognized a vital energy behind all life forms and processes they called Qi ('chee'). This energy flows along specific pathways called "meridians". Disease is considered to arise due to a deficiency or imbalance of energy in the meridians and their associated physiological systems.
What to Expect from an Acupuncture Treatment The first acupuncture treatment takes about 1.5 hours. During this time I take a thorough case history of present and past medical history. In Chinese Medicine the practitioner asks many questions and takes a very in-depth medical history. All the information is taken into consideration before a Chinese diagnosis can be formed. The particular acupuncture points are chosen according to the Chinese diagnosis. The follow-up treatments usually last about one hour.
The tongue and pulses are also used as part of the diagnosis in Chinese Medicine. The tongue can show heat, cold, dampness and dryness in the internal organs. The pulses, which include three on each wrist, also tell me how your internal organs are doing.
One of the things that I love about acupuncture is that it treats the whole person. For example, if you were to come in with an acute flare up of low back pain, I would also ask you about your sleep, digestion, etc. If for example you report some sleep complaints, I would insert needles for the low back pain as well as the insomnia.
After the needles are inserted, the patient lays on the table for twenty minutes of rest and relaxation. During this time the needles are tapping into your energy (Qi). Some people feel the needles during the treatment and others do not feel the needles at all. While the needles are in you can either have music or have quiet. Many of my patients report that their hour of acupuncture is the best hour of their week!!
HOW DOES ACUPUNCTURE WORK? Through the application of hair thin needles, energy and pressure is applied to specific points of the body. Each acupuncture point facilitates optimum health and well being by regulating the free flow of vital energy (Qi). Vital energy is either increased, sedated or moved, depending on what your symptoms are.
In the body there are 12 channels related to the internal organs. The internal organs are lungs, large intestines, spleen, stomach, heart, small intestines, kidneys, bladder, pericardium, triple heater, liver and gallbladder.
I like to use the analogy of a river to describe how the organ channels have energy moving through the body. There are three ways the free flowing of energy can be abnormal: not enough energy, too much energy and energy that is not moving.
You can have a dried up river bed, which would be a channel that does not have enough Qi or vital energy, flowing through it. A good example of this is asthma. Asthma being considered not enough energy (Qi) flowing in the lung channels. So, the treatment would be to tonify or increase the energy of the lungs. This brings more energy (Qi) to the lungs and opens the breathing capacity.
Next, you can have a dammed up river which has a lot of water sitting above the dam. Back to the channel analogy, migraines are seen as excess energy (Qi) in the head region. To treat migraines the acupuncture needles are placed in specific points which drain the excess energy from the head.
Lastly, we have an eddy of water stuck along the side of the river. The water is not flowing and has become stagnant and murky. In Chinese Medicine, this is the analogy related to pain. Pain is looked at as stagnancy of energy (Qi). The treatment is to move the stagnancy and bring more energy (Qi) into the areas of pain.
Sharon McNichols Licensed Acupuncturist Masters of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine Schedule M:9:30AM-1:00PM T:2:00PM-6:30PM W:2:00PM-6:30PM TH:9:30AM-1:00PM F:9:30AM-1:00PM