What Is Acupuncture?

In its modern form, acupuncture has existed for more than 2,000 years, but the first record of acupuncture is found to date back to nearly 5,000 years ago. Acupuncture is the insertion of fine needles into specific locations on the body shown to be effective in the treatment of health problems. There are as many as 2,000 acupuncture points on the body each having a different effect on the Qi (energy) passing through it. Through examination and conversation, an acupuncturist learns to balance an imbalance in the body and creates a treatment program that is unique to the patient.

How Does It Work?

There are many theories about this, ancient and modern. Acupuncture is based on ancient theories of the flow of Qi (Energy) through the meridians or pathways that cover the body somewhat like the nerves and blood vessels do. Some explain that the insertion of the needles creates a ripple of Qi through the body; others use a microcosmic viewpoint and map the body onto a particular region such as the ear or hand. For the West, most people think of acupuncture as stimulating the nervous system since many points are located at, or near neural structures.

Does It Hurt?

Prior to the first acupuncture treatment, many wonder if it will hurt. While certain areas of the body are more sensitive than others, the sensation generally varies from, warmth, pressure, distension, numbness and often a light electrical sensation along the course of an acupuncture channel.

Is It Safe?

When practiced by a licensed, trained acupuncturist, acupuncture is extremely safe. As a system of health care, acupuncture has several inherent safeguards. Because the treatment is drug-free, there is no worry of having to take any medication or suffer from adverse reaction. The needles are only used once and then disposed after the treatment. Slight bruising may occur, but this is rare.

What Can Acupuncture Do?

Many people use acupuncture for painful conditions such as headaches, back and neck pain or arthritis, but acupuncture has a very long history of treating neuromuscular conditions (such as insomnia and dizziness); emotional & psychological disorders (depression and anxiety); circulatory disorders (hypertension and angina); addictions to alcohol, nicotine and other drugs; respiratory disorders (allergies and bronchitis); and gastrointestinal conditions (gastritis and bowel diseases).

How Many Treatments Will I Need?

That depends upon the duration, severity, and nature of your complaint. You may need only a single treatment for an acute condition. A series of five to fifteen treatments may resolve many chronic problems. Some degenerative conditions may require many treatments over time.

How Long is the Treatment?

This varies depending on the condition. Visiting an acupuncturist generally takes longer than visiting a medical doctor. You should expect to spend 25-55 minutes for your first visit, and then with subsequent visits 25-40 minutes is needed.