What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is the use of very thin needles which are shallowly inserted into specific points on the body. Targeted areas include connective tissue between the skin and muscles which help to elicit a change or response in a patient's body. Ultimately, this is in order to restore homeostasis as it is believed that all symptoms and disease arise from a lack of balance.
The use of Acupuncture needles stimulates the Peripheral Nervous System (PNS), which sends signals to the Central Nervous System (CNS), and ultimately regulates the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS). This results in feelings of pain relief, relaxation, and reduced inflammation, which are all signs that the body is healing itself. Other changes associated with the use of Acupuncture might include regulation of blood pressure, a decrease in pain perception, increased gastric/intestinal motility, temperature regulation, hormonal equilibrium, as well as a decrease in the effects of stress.
One immediate response from the use of Acupuncture is an increase in blood cell production, leading to increased immunity and energy levels. Acupuncture has been known to have a profound impact on pain sensation and emotional stress.
What is Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)?
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a comprehensive system of medicine which includes the use of Acupuncture needles, Herbal medicine, Dietary and Lifestyle recommendations, as well as Manual Therapies such as Massage, Cupping, Moxibustion and Gua-Sha. Also known simply as Asian Medicine, this complete system of medicine originated over 3,000 years ago from Asia, where it is still used as the primary medical modality in hospitals to this day. Although TCM is widely regarded as having originated in Asia, the use of similar principles and modalities exists within indigenous cultures from all over the world including Europe, Africa, as well as Central and South America.
This medical system evolved over the course of thousands of years and was and still is a collaborative work that involves countless individuals. One of the developments that arose out of the system of TCM includes the Acupuncture Meridian System - a comprehensive set of energetic channels that exists throughout the myofascial layer of connective tissue that contains the individual Acupuncture points.
One main difference that sets Traditional Chinese Medicine apart from modern allopathic medicine is its use of a diagnostic model that focuses on the root cause of symptoms instead of simply the symptoms themselves. This holistic model acknowledges the body's ability to heal itself but also the slight variations that exist from person to person. By using Acupuncture needles, natural Herbs, and making slight adjustments to Diet and Lifestyle, an Acupuncturist seeks to bring about homeostasis and encourage the body's natural ability to heal itself.
Your First Visit
If this is your first time receiving acupuncture, it is highly recommended that you have eaten something before you begin your treatment. Because Acupuncture needles stimulate changes in the body, blood-sugar levels can become affected as well as blood pressure. In order for your acupuncturist to access the various Acupuncture points that lie along the body, it is also advised to wear comfortable and non-restrictive clothing.
All needles are sterile and used only once before proper disposal. Every patient experiences Acupuncture differently. Because Acupuncture stimulates the nervous system in various locations, some feel absolutely nothing upon needle insertion, while others may feel a slight pinch initially. Other sensations which are common include a dull sensation or a slight twitch of the muscles surrounding the Acupuncture needle insertion site depending upon the nature of the condition being treated as well as the location of the Acupuncture point.
Typically, Acupuncture needles are retained for about 15-20 minutes depending upon the needs of each patient. It is not uncommon to feel relaxed during and after a treatment, or revitalized and well-rested. We recommend taking a few moments to either use the restroom, have a drink of water, or sit and regain focus following a treatment before leaving. For chronic conditions that have existed for more than a month, more than one treatment is typically recommended.
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