Acupuncture works to enhance the body’s own innate healing mechanisms by redirecting Qi, the bioelectric current of energy that flows continuously through the body, powering all of our metabolic processes. These energy channels form a network of communication between all organs and tissues of the body that regulate and coordinate their functions.
It is crucial that this energy flow remain smooth and even in order to supply the entire body with this vital force and prevent pain and illness. By inserting thin sterile needles which act as conductors into specific points on the body, blockages may be cleared. The proper flow of Qi is reestablished thereby invigorating and normalizing function of the tissues, nerves, blood vessels, hormones and organs. By strengthening the body’s physical condition our response to disease is optimized and homeostasis may be restored.
There is now sufficient evidence to place acupuncture on solid scientific ground. Research has documented the existence of energy pathways and acupuncture points. There are indications that stimulation of these points result in the release of neurotransmitters at corresponding sites in the brain.
Neurological research has shown that acupuncture also works by chemically activating natural pain suppression in the brain stimulating the release of endorphins, the body’s natural pain killers. Acupuncture has been proven to have a stimulating effect on the immune system by mobilizing and strengthening the body’s natural defense mechanisms evidenced by the anti-inflammatory and immune boosting effects induced by acupuncture.
What can be expected from a treatment?
After reviewing the patient’s health history a treatment plan will be determined based on the patient’s unique presentation and pattern of symptoms including acupuncture, herbal and nutritional supplements as well as suggestions for dietary and lifestyle modifications. Most patients find acupuncture treatments to be deeply relaxing and usually feel rejuvenated after a session.
As a sign of accessing Qi, there may be a sensation of pressure, warmth or heaviness around the point of needle insertion that quickly subsides. Only sterile, disposable needles are used. One might be immediately aware of the benefits of acupuncture, especially for acute conditions while for others, the effects will compound gradually with subsequent visits. Herbal therapy works in conjunction with the energetic rebalancing effects of acupuncture to nourish and rebuild the physical body in cases when it is depleted or fatigued or to clear the body of inflammation and congestion when necessary.
How many treatments are necessary?
Each patient is unique therefore each treatment plan is individualized depending on the severity and duration of their health problem and their overall physical condition. An initial course of treatment is typically six to twelve sessions.
Those with acute conditions or whose bodies are especially run down should be treated two times per week while some chronic conditions may respond more slowly and be adequately treated by weekly appointments extended over time. The aim is to address the problem at its deepest level to make lasting changes in a patient’s health.
While some minor symptoms may be relieved quickly it is essential to attend to the root of the imbalance through treatment and lifestyle changes to avoid recurrence of a pattern in the form of a more serious illness. Many patients choose to schedule regular maintenance treatments to boost vitality, manage stress, prevent illness and injury and for acupuncture’s anti-aging effects.