What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture involves palpation and acupressure as well as the insertion of fine, sterile, stainless steel needles at very specific points where qi is said to enter and exit the body. Acupuncture helps facilitate the free flow of energy throughout the body, reduce pain, regulate organ function, and enhancing well being.
Tools of acupuncture also include observation, listening, inquiry, touch, sorts and sizes of needles, various types of heat and fire, oils, cupping, scraping, and various types of electromagnetic stimulation.
Acupuncture does not occur in a vacuum. It accompanies an integral process of association with thought and behavior, learning and integration. Discovering points with multiple functions that correspond to patterns of imbalance is a process of integral associations that reaches around the medicine wheel and across the domains of life, bringing internal and external into harmony.
What can you expect?
One may or may not experience a prick as very fine needles penetrate the skin. Beneath the skin, one may experience a dull ache, radiating, warmth or coolness, heaviness, or an electric feeling, either locally or between needles in different regions. These are all considered therapeutic sensations.
After treatment, it is quite common to feel tired or forgetful. One may also feel calm and relaxed, even mildly euphoric. After a rest, it is common to feel renewed and refreshed.
Needles are invariably inserted below the elbows and knees, or parallel with the spine, before local needles are inserted around the affected area. If there's inflammation, needles are inserted in the affected Channel, above and below the area of inflammation. Sometimes an electric current is conducted between needles, sometimes the needles are warmed, sometimes other tools are used. The number of needles used may vary from two to twenty. For more serious and chronic conditions, a course of treatment is generally ten visits.
Results may be immediate, the next day, or up to 72 hours later. If the treatment is ineffective, an experienced and traditionally trained acupuncturist has an extensive body of theory from which to reexamine treatment options inaccessible to a superficially trained acupuncturist using point formulas.
Does it work?
Acupuncture exceeds the standard of care for many conditions. As an integral art, it is not possible to separate the 'active treatment' from other aspects of the therapeutic encounter.
Aspects of engagement and sharing generally relegated to the art of medicine have a systemic role in the iterative process of Chinese medicine. Ted Kaptchuk, Professor of Medicine at Harvard University, suggests it’s time we transform the Art of Medicine into the Science of Human Care. Collection of this breadth of information requires a holistic and integral way, a new means of organization and data analytics.
World Health Organization published a list of conditions for which acupuncture has been proven effective. A groundswell of research has emerged since this publication in 2003. http://www.evidencebasedacupuncture.org/who-official-position/