What is Acupuncture? This is a question I get asked every so often after telling somebody I am a acupuncturist.
Acupuncture is an effective, natural, and increasingly popular form of health care that is being used by people from a wide range of cultural and social backgrounds. It provides drug-free pain relief and can be used for treating a wide range of acute and chronic ailments.
Acupuncture involves the shallow insertion of very fine, sterile, disposable needles into strategic points on your body. They are usually left in place for about 20 to 30 minutes.
When most people think of needles they think of the standard medical needles used to draw blood from your body. Acupuncture needles are in no way like that. They are so fine that most people only feel a slight prick – if that – when they are inserted. Many of my first-time patients are surprised to feel how painless it is. Furthermore, we insert the needles only a few millimeters into the skin.
The history of acupuncture in China goes back at least 2000 years, making it one of the oldest and most long-standing health care systems in the world.
In its original form, acupuncture was based on the principles of traditional Chinese medicine. The general theory of acupuncture is based on the premise that there are patterns of energy flow through the body that are essential for health. Traditional acupuncturists understand health in terms of a vital force of energy called Qi which circulates between the organs and along channels called meridians. The traditional Chinese medicine acupuncture practitioner seeks to identify the nature of any imbalance in Qi, and then selects the appropriate acupuncture points from among approximately 360 points distributed along the meridians.
When healthy, there is an abundant supply of qi or “life energy” that flows throughout the body. Blockage can be a result of stress, overwork, poor diet, disease pathogens, weather and environmental conditions, and other lifestyle factors. If the flow of qi becomes blocked or there is an inadequate supply of qi, then the body fails to maintain harmony, balance and order, and disease or illness follows.