What is Acupuncture and How Does It Work?


Acupuncture is an ancient health science that authorities agree is between 5,000 and 7,000 years old. It is used to successfully treat pain and body dysfunction. It can be used to treat both acute and chronic disease in children and adults.

In Chinese medicine, and therefore in acupuncture, health is determined by a person's ability to maintain a balanced and harmonious internal environment. Harmony and balance depend upon smooth and uninterrupted flow of Qi (pronounced "chee") or vitality. The Chinese concept of Qi has no English equivalent. It is often translated as "energy". Qi is responsible for the proper function of all spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical processes of the human body. This energy travels on or just below the surface of the skin along 12 pathways or channels. It forms a continuous circuit, linking all parts of the body and connecting exterior to internal organs. This energy network consists of over 1,000 "acupoints" on the body. The health of a person is determined by a sufficient, balanced, and uninterrupted flow of Qi in all the body's systems -- circulatory, digestive, nervous, muscular, urogential, etc. Acupuncture's goal is to restore normalcy to the body's energy by stimulating one or a combination of specific acupoints through a number of different applications.

What is "Meridian Therapy"?

Acupuncture is a principle, not a technique. Therefore, there are many ways to stimulate an acupoint other than a needle. Meridian Therapy is the accepted name employed by those who practice the principle of Acupuncture without the use of a penetrating needle. Many practitioners use electronic stimulation, laser beam, pressure massage, or the tapping "teishein" needle (not really a needle because it doesn't pierce the skin) to effectively treat an acupoint. The principle of Acupuncture does not change, only the technique.

Is Acupuncture treatment painful?

Since most of us can relate to being stuck by a pin or to having a hypodermic injection, one would assume inserting a needle into the skin would be painful. However, four Acupuncture needles can easily be inserted into the hollow tube of a hypodermic needle. Because of the extreme slenderness of the needle, most people compare the sensations to less than a mosquito bite. The sensation referred to as "tehchi" occurs when the energy field is contacted. It may feel like a mild to moderate heaviness or tingling.

Needles are historically the stimulation used in acupuncture. However other techniques such as electronic or laser stimulation to acupoints are equally as effective. Also the tapping of the "teishein" needle as a form of acupoint stimulation has been successfully used for centuries.

Is there an Acupuncture Evaluation?

The ancient method of pulse diagnosis is giving way to a modern electronic, computer enhanced evaluation know as ryodoraku or "Electro Meridian Imaging" (EMI). Both examinations are to determine the balancing of the 12 energy channels.

In the EMI evaluation, an electronic probe is placed on the skin over specific acupoints. By way of a sensitive metering device, the electro potential of the point is measured. The EMI evaluation is extremely reliable and accurate. It is quickly becoming the standard method of diagnosis.

What is the cost of Acupuncture?

Acupuncture fees vary throughout the nation. The usual fee is between $50 and $125 per treatment. These figures are very general but encompass most practitioners.

How Many Treatments are Usual?

The number of treatments will obviously vary depending on the condition and the individual. Chronic (long term) problems generally require more treatments than acute ones. Researchers internationally agree the usual number of treatments is between eight and sixteen with twelve being the most common. The usual frequency is between two and four times a week.

Patients are urged not to enter an Acupuncture program with the thought of "taking a few" to see what will happen. This would be comparable for a physician to recommend a two-hour surgery only for the person to say they will try 45 minutes of it to see how it works.

Remember your practitioner is the specialist in Acupuncture. He/She will know what is the best protocol for their patients. Patients are always encouraged to be patient with the Healing Process.

Are Results Permanent?

When there has been little to no organ system or tissue damage with an acute problem, results can often be permanent. In chronic conditions, symptoms may reappear from time to time. It is suggested that patients with severe or chronic conditions return for a booster treatment three to four times a year.

Are Results Psychological?

Many acupuncture critics suggest that the science is hypnosis or "mind over matter". This criticism is totally unfounded. Acupuncture has unbelievable effects in infants and toddlers as well as veterinary application. The effects it has in surgery as an anesthetic, further disclaims the skeptic. Even total disbelievers report favorable response to acupuncture. However, a positive outlook is obviously beneficial in all phases of life to include healing.

What Conditions Are Effectively Treated With Acupuncture?

Acupuncture textbooks list over one hundred different conditions that respond favorably to Acupuncture. The World Heath Organization, working in close harmony with the International Acupuncture training center of the Shanghai college of Traditional Chinese Medicine has indicated Acupuncture is effective in the following conditions. The following is a partial list of the numerous conditions Acupuncture has been credited with helping:

acute and chronic pain relief of migraine tension, cluster, and sinus headache spine pain-cervical (neck), mid back, low back
sciatica arthritis including Rheumatoid shoulder pain tennis elbow
knee pain ankle pain bladder dysfunction
bed wetting fatigue anxiety
depression asthma allergies
skin conditions nose bleeds gastric problems
nausea vomiting morning sickness
abnormal blood pressure high/low temporomandibular dysfunction dental pain
addiction control - alcohol, drugs, tobacco myalgia (muscle) pain- fibromyalgia correction of malposition of fetus
induction of labor

What is Auriculotherapy? Ear Acupuncture

On the ear there are more than one hundred acupoints that relate to carious organ systems and parts of the body. The Ancient Chinese view the ear as resembling an upside down fetus with all the body parts proportionally arranged in and on the ear. Therefore, the earlobe would relate to the head, brain, face, etc. whereas the top of the ear relates to the knee, foot, ankle, etc. The success rate in Ear Acupuncture is remarkable. Thousands of American physicians have begun using Ear Acupuncture as an adjunct to their practice.

Hand and Cerebral Acupuncture

Throughout the body there are a number of Acupoints, which have a particular effect. The hand and scalp Acupoints are significant. Cerebral Acupuncture consists of a number of zones, which are primarily used for serious neurological conditions. Hand Acupoints are used for a variety of common conditions. By stimulating specific hand points, conditions such as headaches, sore throat, neck and shoulder pain, even a toothache may be successfully treated.

Spinal Mobilization

In America, Chiropractic and Osteopathy was discovered as a healing art in the late 1800's. But the use of spinal manipulation in the Far and Near East is estimated to be over 7,000 years old. Spinal vertebral therapy and soft tissue mobilization known in the Orient as "Tui Na" is a vital part of "Chung Guo I Hsueh" or Middle Kingdom Healing.

Since all parts of the body, to include all 300 trillion cells, are under the direct influence of the nervous system, the spinal column comprised of 24 movable segments plays an integral part in human functioning as it protects the spinal cord. Through small openings between the vertebrae, the spinal cord sends large nerve trunks to the organs and structures of the body.

Chiropractic physicians and Oriental medical doctors are explicitly trained in the detection and correction of "vertebral subluxations" which impinge or impede vital nerve impulses. Thus spinal mobilization "adjustment" as it is referred to in the west, may play a vital role in the recovery of a patient. Spinal adjustments may be delivered painlessly and safely by hand or with modern technologically advanced and effective adjusting instruments.