How Does Acupuncture Work?

According to the principles of TCM, energy flows through the body via 12 primary meridians and 8 extra channels. To strengthen the flow of energy, or remove blockages in the meridians, acupuncturists insert a few disposable tiny, sterile, flexible needles just under the skin at certain specific points (called acupoints) along these channels. These acupoints are associated with specific body function, and when stimulated, they trigger the immunity system to provide almost instantaneous pain relief and cessation of symptoms ailing the patient.  For example, if you are suffering from psoriasis, a few carefully selected points might be stimulated on your ear, scalp, hands, feet, wrist or ankle.  TCM practitioners believe that acupuncture stimulates the body’s internal regulatory system to nurture a natural healing response without having to directly treat the site of injury.

Acupuncture stimulates the body’s internal regulatory system to nurture a natural healing response.

Centuries of empirical observation indicate that acupuncture leads to real changes in the body.  The insertion of acupuncture needles has an effect on the autonomic nervous system and homeostatis.  Recently, numerous studies have shown that acupuncture stimulates nerves, send a signal up the spinal cord to the brain, leading to the release of endorphins and monoamines, which are natural chemicals in the body that block pain signals.  This may be one explanation why acupuncture is so good at stopping pain, but does not fully explain the healing response one has with other disorders.   More research is needed to fully explain the acupuncture mechanism.

What To Expect

When first visiting a practitioner, there will be a thorough medical history inquiry.  The pulse is checked on both sides, the tongue is examined, and the body may be palpated to check the site of disease or pain.  A treatment plan will be discussed.  Depending on your ailment, you may also have your first acupuncture treatment and Herbal Therapy prescription at that first visit. In general, visits occur initially two or three times a week until therapeutic results and stabilization have occurred.   After that, follow up visits will be scheduled as needed.  Therapeutic exercise and meditation may also be prescribed to aid in overall well being.

Does it hurt?

Acupuncture needles do not hurt like hypodermic needles used to give injections or draw blood.   The needles are hair-thin, and may feel like a tiny prick or pinch upon insertion.  Sterile disposable needles are always used.  Once the needles are inserted, the practitioner may manipulate them manually or send a weak electrical current through them to stimulate them.  The needles are typically retained for 20 – 45 minutes, depending on the ailment.  Some people experience sensations  of a “tingling”, “distended”, “electrical” or “full” feeling, whereas others may feel numbness or nothing at all.  Most find the sessions relaxing, and fall asleep during the treatment, waking up refreshed and feeling great.

Herbal Therapy in a nutshell

In our society, herbs have now come into vogue, but there are dangers.  Although herbs are natural substances, they can be dangerous if wrongly or self prescribed.  Herbs are combined with other herbs of similar function to reduce the danger of toxicity and increase synergistic effect.  In our clinic, we use the finest Herbal Therapy formulas in pill and powder form for convenience.  There is no need to be inconvenienced by the taste, smell and time preparing raw herbs.  There are also herbal lotions, liniments, herbal wraps, patches and pastes that may be used externally, depending on your condition.