What is Acupuncture?
In order to understand acupuncture one must first understand qi. (pronounced “chee”) According to Traditional Chinese Medical theory our bodies have energy flowing through them. The energy, referred to as qi, flows into our bodies from the sky above, from the earth below, as well as through the air we breathe and the food we eat. The qi flows through 14 main channels in the body and each of these is associated with a specific organ. When the channel becomes blocked the qi cannot flow. Consider a bridge that leads to a village. If the bridge is out of commission imagine the traffic backing up along the road. This is similar to the stagnation of energy in our body. And then imagine that there is a truck filled with important supplies for the village stuck in the traffic. The village will not receive the supplies and therefore there is a deficiency being caused by this malfunction as well. Acupuncture works on opening up blockages in the channels so that the energy can get to where it needs to go in the body. Acupuncture is an ancient technique of inserting hair-thin needles called acufibers into active points along the channels of energy. Legend has it that acupuncture is 4,000 to 5,000 years old.
How will I respond to acupuncture?
Each person responds differently. Many people report feeling relaxed after acupuncture; others feel energetic, drowsy, emotional or even blissful. Regarding symptoms, some people feel immediate improvement. Other people don’t feel the effects of the treatment for up to 72 hours after the treatment. It is also normal for muscles to be sore the following day. With chronic issues that involve severe qi stagnation there is the possibility of feeling a temporary worsening of symptoms. This is because the acupuncture moves the bundled up energy and as it begins to flow it will likely come across other blockages along the channel. As the qi pushes up against the stagnation there can be an achy sensation experienced.
How many treatments are necessary?
This depends on the duration, severity and nature of the complaint. Rarely is one acupuncture treatment sufficient to resolve an issue. However, in acute circumstances, fewer treatments are generally required for relief. (ie the treatment plan may require twice a week for a few weeks) Whereas chronic problems will often call for a longer-term treatment plan involving weekly treatments until the bulk of symptoms improve, then moving to twice a month and slowly spreading them out. For degenerative diseases, a similar plan would be followed but it is likely that the patient would continue on a regular basis to prevent any further damage. And some people come in once a month for the maintenance of health and quality of life.
What is community acupuncture?
Community-style acupuncture is administered in a group setting. Rather than being seen in a private treatment room on a massage table, the patient sits in a large open room in one of 6-8 recliner chairs. Community-style acupuncture is growing in popularity throughout the United States, with hundreds of community clinics opening since 2002. Although it may seem like a novel concept, it closely resembles the way acupuncture is administered in China today as well as in its distant past.
How can acupuncture treat my low back in a recliner?
The most potent points on the body are the distal points on the arms and legs. Any part of the body can be treated with simple points on the 4 limbs.