What is acupuncture therapy?
Acupuncture is the stimulation of specific points on the body, by the insertion and manipulation of fine needles. There are 365 ancient points empirically proven effective in the treatment of specific disorders. These points lie along channels mapped by the Chinese over 2,000 years ago. Contemporary research has confirmed that needling these points initiates chemical, mechanical, and neurological changes.
How does acupuncture work?
The body is seen as having channels of streaming Qi, Blood, and Fluid. If moving freely, life is fostered and health is maintained. If obstructed, there is pain, congestion, stagnant emotions, and eventually illness. Acupuncture moves Qi, Blood, and Fluids. It supplies where there is deficiency, drains where there is excess, and moves through where there is obstruction.
Research now confirms the effectiveness of acupuncture therapy in the treatment of many conditions including pain, anxiety, depression, nausea, vomiting, insomnia as well as many other disease conditions.
Does acupuncture hurt?
If done properly, a patient will feel sensation at a needled point. Called ‘de Qi’ in Chinese, it means the Qi has arrived, feeling heavy, achy, or tingly. The Chinese do not perceive this as pain, so they say acupuncture is 'bu tong', painless. Westerners who are less familiar with acupuncture or have a fear of needles may experience mild discomfort at insertion. There is no discomfort once the needles are in place. When acupuncture’s curative and calming effects are realized, the initial angst or discomfort seems more of an inconvenience than an obstacle.
Do acupuncturists only insert needles?
Most acupuncturists trained in an East Asian system include questions and recommendations about diet, work and lifestyle habits that will greatly augment the effects of acupuncture therapy. A session may include other manual therapy techniques such as gua sha, cupping, moxibustion, electrical stimulation, tui na, or qi gong.
Are there different styles of acupuncture?
Yes. Although acupuncture originated in China, it has indigenized to many other areas all over the world. Japan, Korea, Vietnam, the UK, Europe and the United States have adapted acupuncture to meet their specific and evolving cultural and medical needs. This has resulted in different styles and applications of practice. For example, acupuncture therapy has become very useful in the United States in the treatment of acute and chronic pain.
What are Myofascial Trigger Points?
Myofascial Trigger Points are hyperirritable spots that develop in fascia surrounding skeletal muscle tissue. They can often be felt as tender nodules in tight bands of muscle fibers. Fascia, or connective tissue, is a kind of three dimensional web like membrane, primarily made of collagen. It binds us together, and covers every part of our bodies from head to toe. It helps provide gliding movement between certain structures, while connecting and maintaing form for others. Trigger points can be identified in several ways: sensations of pain and discomfort; a twitch-like response when palpated; and referred pain.
Acupuncture Physical Medicine or APM, is a system developed by Dr. Mark Seem, which integrates Classical Chinese Acupuncture technique and philosophy, contemporary orthopedic assessment, and trigger point therapy. When an active trigger point is stimulated with an acupuncture needle, the muscle is released, and pain relief can be felt almost immediately. This approach to treatment addresses both the root of disharmony, as well as the symptoms.
Stress, worry, and anxiety create "holding patterns", or "muscle armoring" in the body. This is the habitual and familiar way in which our physical body receives, holds, and contains stress. It is how our muscles protect the vulnerable aspects of who and what we are. It helps to make us feel safe when we perceive imminent danger and uncertainty. We protect, define, and even express ourselves by maintaining these familiar patterns of tension in our bodies. By freeing up these stagnant holding patterns, pain is eliminated, stress is reduced, and balance and free flow is restored. The mind can become quieter, and the heart happier.
How many treatments will I need?
This depends on the duration and severity of the complaint. It is often recommended to try at least three sessions. By this time, both the patient and the practitioner will know if and how the problem is being helped and can evaluate together regarding further treatment.
A prognosis is positive if the presenting problem is changed in any way, even if worse briefly. Subsequent treatment is timed to retain the effect of the initial or prior treatment.
How will I feel after acupuncture?
Most patients feel deeply relaxed during and after acupuncture treatment. Alcohol, recreational drugs, heavy labor, exercise, fasting or feasting are discouraged on the day of a treatment.
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