About Acupuncture

What is Acupuncture?
Photo of acupuncture Traditional Chinese Acupuncture (TCM) is an aspect of Chinese Oriental medicine that is based on the principle that our health is dependant on the balance of the body's energy, known as Qi (pronounced "chee"). Qi flows through the body, but is concentrated in invisible channels beneath the skin. There are twelve main pairs of channels connected by deeper pathways with twelve organ systems. The meridians are separate from the nerves, blood vessels and lymphatic ducts.

For more than 2,500 years, people from all walks of life have enjoyed the benefits of Oriental medicine. Oriental medicine is a blend of acupuncture, Chinese massage, herbal medicine, nutrition and exercise. It is a highly individualized and holistic form of medicine, valuable in the prevention and treatment of a wide range of health concerns.

There are over seven hundred points on the main meridians and many extra ones in other areas. These point do not appear to have any defined anatomical structure, but points on the acupuncture channels can be detected with electronic instruments.

It is by the stimulation of these points that acupuncturists regulate the energy flow and thereby affect your body's own healing response.

Japanese Meridian Style Acupuncture
Japanese Acupuncture in general is actually a broad umbrella of schools and approaches. Meridian style, based on the Chinese classics, was revived by Japanese practitioners around 1940. It often involves more palpation of the abdomen and channels than does TCM. Japanese Meridian Acupuncture also uses thinner needles with shallower insertions, and often seeks confirmation (through re-checking the pulse or abdomen) that the needle or moxa technique caused a noticeable change. I find that lighter techniques and fewer needles penetrating the skin are quite often more effective with Westerner clients.

Why Acupuncture?
For centuries acupuncture has proven its effectiveness in curing a host of ills. One-quarter of the world's population uses it. Every day, more and more people are discovering the life-changing, long-lasting effects of acupuncture treatments.

Benefits of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine

  • Considers all aspects of the individual. It takes an integrated view of the person. Mind, body and emotions are seen to interact and affect each other.
  • Treats the root cause of the disease as well as the symptoms; the treatment is specific to the patient.
  • Alleviates side-effects of Western medical treatment.
  • Enhances the body's natural healing processes.
  • Drug-free
  • Cures many illnesses for which Western medicine is less effective, i.e. Bell's Palsy.
  • Supports treatment involving Western medicine, i.e. cancer.
  • Improves general health as it addresses specific conditions; and restores overall harmony and health to the individual.
  • Generally has no side-effects.

How will it feel when your acupuncturist uses needles?
Photo of acupuncture Contrary to a common misperception, acupuncture is not painful. People often comment that the feeling is unfamiliar, and often causes feelings of well-being, warmth, or tingling. Sometimes there's an electric sensation or the feeling of heaviness. In fact, many of my clients become very relaxed and often fall asleep during their treatments. The needles are only about the diameter of a human hair, resulting in very little discomfort. And, for your optimum safety, I use prepackaged, sterilized disposable needles.

What if I'm nervous about the use of needles?
In some cases it is not necessary to use needles at all. For example, when treating young children or sensitive adults, there are other techniques which are also effective. If you have a real fear of needles, I will be happy to discuss this with you.

Will acupuncture help Me?
Some say, "With whatever ails you, acupuncture is likely to help in some way." Because acupuncture is part of a holistic system, it is not only about treating specific conditions, but underlying causes of disease. It also looks at a patient's emotions and realizes physical discomfort or pain can not necessarily be separated from our emotions and spiritual health. See the web section, What Acupuncture can treat, for specific examples. The World Health Organization recognized more than 40 conditions in which acupuncture can be effective. Remember that I am more than willing to provide you with a no-obligation, free consultation. Chinese herbs may be prescribed along with your acupuncture treatments.

Length of Your Treatments
The amount of time I spend with my patient may not be like your normal visit to a doctor or chiropractor. The first visit to an acupuncturist usually lasts about an hour to one and one-half hours, involving an in-depth assessment and diagnostic process. Typical follow-up visits last around 40 to 60 minutes depending upon the complexity of the case. During this time the patient has my direct attention as the practitioner.

Acupuncture is usually given in a series of treatments. Since each person is unique, the number of needed treatments will vary. Among the determining factors are the type of condition, whether the condition is chronic or acute, and the vitality of the individual.

At Harmony Acupuncture, I want to work closely with you to ensure your acupuncture treatments are supported by other healthy habits such as proper nutrition. I'll spend time learning about your health, so together we can create your personal vision of wellness.

Side Effects
One of the advantages of using acupuncture is that there are virtually no side effects associated with it. Many who take Western medications end up taking more medications to manage the side effects of their original medications. In a recent study published in the JAMA regarding deaths from adverse drug reactions, it said: "More than 100,000 patients die and another 2.2 million are harmed in American hospitals every year by adverse reactions from properly administered pharmaceutical drugs." The report conducted by Bruce Pomeranz, M.D., Ph.D., and other researchers at the University of Toronto, a meta-analysis of 39 studies spanning 32 years, estimated that nearly 7 percent of hospital patients were found to have had negative reactions to drugs administered.

More on Qi
Central to the philosophy of Chinese Medicine is the premise of the self-healing mechanism active in the body. The goal of acupuncture is to promote this mechanism from within. One can thus look at the body as self-healing and having numerous dynamic inter-related energies. These energies, if unimpeded and allowed to flow, maintain health. If stagnation occurs, this will lead to disease.

The realignment of our energy field is based on the concept of Qi (pronounced Chee). Qi is the underlying energy of life. It flows throughout the body to regenerate and nourish. It is generated by our internal organs and flows along paths or channels called meridians. Along the meridians are points where the Qi can be affected by acupuncture needles, finger pressure or sound vibration using tuning forks. In using these methods, Qi is invigorated and its functions of maintaining a balanced and healthy life are enhanced.

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