What is Acupuncture?

close up of acupuncture

Acupuncture is a major branch of a health care system based on traditional Chinese medical theory. This theory states that disease and health are determined by the balance and flow of energy in the body. A state of health and well-being is a reflection of a balanced flow of energy, while an imbalance or obstructed flow of energy results in illness, disease or pain.

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, which is often referred to as TCM, the stimulation of special points near the surface of the skin (acupuncture points) has the effect of adjusting and rebalancing the flow of energy in the body. The acupuncture points are connected by a complex system of channels, called meridians, which connect the surface of the body with the internal organ systems. Stimulation of carefully selected points allows the acupuncturist to direct energy to specific areas of the body, thus activating the natural self-healing process.

Scientific research has clearly demonstrated certain physiological responses to acupuncture treatment. These include changes in nervous system activity, endocrine function, blood pressure, heart rate and intestinal activity. It has been determined that the nervous system and the endocrine system both play an important role in the reaction to acupuncture.

Acupuncture Treatment

The first appointment

During the initial visit, which lasts 1 to 2 hours, I take a detailed medical history in order to assess the present condition, and then I formulate a treatment plan and discuss the treatment goals with the patient. The acupuncture treatment following the evaluation consists of the insertion of extremely fine sterile needles into acupuncture points in specific combinations, according to the individual diagnosis. The needles are usually left in for approximately 20 minutes. Other treatment methods from traditional and modern Chinese medicine may be used in conjunction with stimulation by the acupuncture needles. These include moxibustion (which involves treatment of points with heat), mild electrical stimulation and cupping (the use of suction cups on the skin).

Follow up appointments

Subsequent visits last approximately one hour. It begins with an evaluation of progress and discussion of any changes in treatment plan. That is followed by an acupuncture treatment.

Unique care

I pay careful attention to those factors which contribute to each person's uniqueness. After a thorough diagnostic consultation I arrive at a treatment plan which will promote optimum health and well-being and will involve the patient in his/her own healing process. This is important because healing is best facilitated when the patient takes active responsibility for his/her health in conjunction with the acupuncturist.

Treatment options

Acupuncture may be combined with Chinese herbal formulas, moxibustion (heat therapy), acupressure, dietary recommendations, Qi Gong and movement education. I also offer NO NEEDLE, state of the art, electro-acupuncture and magnet therapies, combining ancient tradition with modern methods.

For my patients' safety and peace of mind, I use only single use, sterile disposable acupuncture needles.

Is acupuncture treatment painful?

The actual insertion of acupuncture needles and their removal generally causes little or no discomfort. Any discomfort usually does not last once the needle is in the acupuncture point. The needles do produce a brief characteristic sensation of heaviness or tingling felt under the skin. While the needles are in place, patients often experience a feeling of deep relaxation.

Who can benefit from acupuncture?

In my practice I treat children and adults of all ages, from young children to elderly adults. I work with patients with acute problems such as sinus infections and sports injuries to chronic issues such as asthma, back pain, weakened immune function or recovery from long illness. Many of my patients call acupuncture their "health maintenance organization" because they find that acupuncture and Chinese medicine allow them to maintain a feeling of vibrant health.

How many treatments are needed?

The number of acupuncture treatments required varies with the severity and duration of the problems being treated. For an acute sprain or a cold two or three treatments may be all that are needed. With more complex and chronic issues six to twelve treatments would be more common. There is, however, no formula or set number of sessions required. I always work with my patients to achieve results as quickly as possible, and I strive for sustainable improvement.