Common Queries and Questions
What is acupuncture?
Through thousands of years of practice, acupuncture has evolved into a complete medical system that can diagnose, treat, and prevent illness. It is a safe, effective, and painless way to treat a wide variety of conditions.
Acupuncture is based on an energetic model that encourages your body's natural healing abilities. This health care system strengthens and improves overall function, enhances recuperative power and immunity, and so as to enable you to regain and keep physical and emotional health. The function of acupuncture is to ensure a continuous flow of vital life energy, called Qi.
Qi circulates in human body through specific pathways called Meridians. When life-giving Qi flows smoothly through meridian pathways, it will nourish every cell, organ and tissue in your body. But if Qi becomes “backed up” in somewhere of your body, the Qi flowing to other areas will be restricted. Hindering the flow of Qi circulating within your meridian pathways can lead to pain and illness.
An acupuncturist will then place fine, sterile needles at specific acupoints along your meridian pathways. The safe and painless insertion of the needle unblocks the damming or obstruction of your meridians. Releasing this blockage allows the Qi to freely circulate, eliminating pain and restoring the body's ability to heal itself.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has formed a unique system to diagnose and cure illness for thousands of years since ancient China. This natural healing system has four distinct divisions: acupuncture, herbology, TuiNa (Chinese massage), and food cures. Some TCM remedial exercises like qi-gong, and tai-ji can also be of benefits to patients.
TCM views our health in a holistic fashion. TCM applies the yin - yang principle of interconnection and continuous transformation to the human body to explain its physiology and pathology and further to guide clinical diagnosis and treatment the body. In the theories of TCM, a root cause for occurrence and development of a disease is imbalance between yin and yang.
A doctor of TCM diagnoses a patient by four clinical examinations: observing, listening and smelling, interviewing and pulse-taking. Once an illness is diagnosed, the doctor will prescribe a treatment that will focus on restoring the balance of the body's yin - yang . Treatment such as acupuncture, herbal medicine or exercises may be used. A doctor of TCM will care for the entire person, both of the physical and the mental aspects.
About one-quarter of the world's population are choosing TCM as an alternative medical care service.
Coupled with modern medicine, acupuncture has the ability to be an effective treatment for a variety of health conditions. Studies have been conducted to discover the physiology behind acupuncture and its capabilities and limits in treating patients. Here are the current theories regarding the mechanisms behind acupuncture:
1) Neurotransmitter Theory - Acupuncture stimulates areas in the brain, causing the secretion of beta-endorphins and encephalon in the brain and spinal cord. The immune system and antiociceptive system is affect by the release of neurotransmitters.
2) Autonomic Nervous System Theory - Acupuncture causes the release of nor epinephrine, acetylcholine, and types of opioids, causing changes in their turn-over rate, normalizing the autonomic nervous system and reducing pain.
3) Gate Control Theory - Acupuncture inhibits the transmission of nociceptive signals in the dorsal horn, reducing pain.
4) Vascular-interstitial Theory - Acupunture enhances the electrical system body, helping to heal by assisting electrical energy to pass through healthy and injured tissue.
5)Blood Chemistry Theory - Acupuncture affects concentration of triglycerides, cholesterol, and phospholipids in the blood, with the ability to increase and decrease these concentrations.
This ancient health care system is proving itself as an effective choice for a variety of problems. The National Institute of Health agrees that "acupuncture may be a reasonable option for a number of clinical conditions" and goes they go on further to say that "One of the advantages of acupuncture is that the incidence of adverse effects is substantially lower than that of many drugs or other accepted medical procedures used for the same conditions. As an example, musculoskeletal conditions, such as fibromyalgia, myofacial pain and tennis elbow, or epicondylitis, are conditions for which acupuncture may be beneficial. These painful conditions are often treated with, among other things, anti-inflammatory medications (aspirin, ibuprofen, etc.) or with steroid injections. Both medical interventions have a potential for deleterious side effects but are still widely used and are considered acceptable treatments. The evidence supporting these therapies is no better than that for acupuncture." - National Institute of Health Consensus Conference of Acupunture, Program & Abstrats (Bethesda, MD, November 3-5, 1997)
Can I combine acupuncture and Western medicine?
Acupuncture, herbs and acupressure treatment can be combined with Western internal medicine, osteopathic, chiropractic adjustments, physical therapy or massage. However, it is advisable that patients who are undergoing herbs treatment take their herbal medicine at different times of the day than their conventional medicine. With the approval of the patient's doctor and traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner, a acupunture patient can generally reduce their use of Western medicine as their health improves.