HOW DOES ACUPUNCTURE WORK?
The Medical Chinese Classics' explanation is that channels of energy run in regular patterns through the body and over its surface. These energy channels, called meridians, are like rivers flowing through the body to irrigate and nourish the tissues. An obstruction in the movement of these energy rivers is like a dam that backs up the flow in one part of the body and restricts it in others. The meridians are influenced by needling the acupuncture points. The acupuncture needles unblock the obstruction at the dams, and reestablish the regular flow through the meridians. Acupuncture treatments can therefore help the body's internal organs to correct imbalances in their digestion, absorption, and energy production activities. Acupuncture can also help in the circulation of energy through the meridians. The modern scientific explanation is that needling the acupuncture points stimulates the nervous system to release chemicals in the muscles, spinal cord, and brain. These chemicals will either change the experience of pain, or they will trigger the release of other chemicals and hormones which influence the body's own internal regulating system. The improved energy and biochemical balance produced by acupuncture results in stimulation of the body's own natural healing abilities to promote, maintain and restore health.
THE HISTORY OF ACUPUNCTURE
Acupuncture has an amazing history that has made it the world's oldest contemporary medical system. "More people have been treated by acupuncture than by all other systems of medicine combined." (According to Dr. David Brestler, director of UCLA's Pain Center.) The science and art of acupuncture is a 5000 year old healing method. It has a long history and development, and it was practiced in China 3000 years before Christ. The term itself was derived by the 15th century Jesuit Missionaries in China from the Latin words "acus" meaning needle and "puncture" meaning puncture.
Acupuncture was developed by clinical research in physiology, biochemistry, and pharmacology. In other words, it is a coming together of modern international medical science with classical acupuncture medicine. In March of 1996, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the United States of America approved acupuncture as a medical treatment method. Because of this great demand and scientific research, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) incorporated acupuncture into mainstream medicine in April, 1997. In July of 1997, Senate Bill 212 was signed into law, which indefinitely include acupuncturists in the definition of "physician" for the treatment of injured employees entitled to worker's compensation medical benefits. SB 212 will ensure that patients have the freedom to choose treatment from a healthcare provider that is most appropriate to their needs. In November, 1997, the American Health Counsel publicly announced acupuncture to be good for the treatment of pains, nausea, asthma, and arthritis. Acupuncture has proven to be an effective treatment method and a valuable medicine.
WHAT ARE THE ACUPUNCTURE NEEDLES LIKE?
Acupuncture is generally not painful. We babies, children and the elderly. People experience acupuncture needles differently. Some patients feel no pain at all when the needles are inserted, and some patients experience minimal pressure. Once the needles are in place, there is no pain felt, and you are able to relax. Acupuncture needles are very thin and solid, and are made from stainless steel. The point of the needle is smooth (Acupuncture needles are smooth, not hollow like hypodermic needles. Hollow needles increases the risk of skin bruising and skin irritation.) and insertion through the skin is not as painful as injections or blood sampling.
WHAT COUNTRIES USE ACUPUNCTURE?
ACUPUNCTURE IS USED ALL OVER THE WORLD: In terms of healing through the neuro-hormonal systems of the body, acupuncture has been proven to be one of the most effective and safest methods by countries in both Western and Eastern hemispheres. Researchers in China, Korea, Japan, India, Germany, France, Britain, Switzerland, Canada, the United States, Russia, Romania, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, and Australia have reported marvelous results achieved by acupuncture. In addition, many nations support active research programs in the physiology and therapy of acupuncture. These countries are Russia, North and South Korea, and Japan.
HOW MANY TREATMENTS WILL I NEED?
The number of treatments needed differs from person to person. For more complex or long standing conditions, two or three treatments a week for several months may be recommended. For acute problems, usually fewer visits are required. For health maintenance, one treatment a month may be all that is necessary.
DOS AND DON’TS
To enhance the value of a treatment, the following guidelines are important:
Don't over-exercise, engage in sexual activity, or consume alcoholic beverages right before or right after your treatment.
Don't eat an unusually large meal immediately before or after your treatment.
Don't be under the control of substances. Substance abuse (drugs or alcohol) will seriously interfere with the effectiveness of acupuncture treatments, especially in the week prior to treatment.
Do plan your activities so that after the treatment you can get some rest, or at least not have to be working at top performance. This is especially important for the first few visits.
Do remember to keep good mental or written notes of what your response is to the treatment. This is important for your healthcare provider to know so that the following treatments can be designed to best help you and your needs.
Do remember that good and long term results take time. Do not expect to feel better immediately. Some patients recover quickly, while others respond gradually over a period of time.