All about Acupuncture.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: What is qi?
A: Qi (pronounced “chee”) is based on the ancient Chinese theory of the flow of energy. Qi and blood (xue) flow through distinct meridians or pathways that cover and fill the body, somewhat like the nerves and blood vessels. Open meridians are essential for optimal health.
Q: How does acupuncture work?
A: Acupuncture treatment is rendered based on an Oriental medical diagnosis that includes an assessment of pulse quality, shape and color of the tongue, medical history and whole body evaluation. Following the diagnosis, acupuncture points are chosen on the body along acupuncture meridians, or pathways. Needle stimulation of these points increases the body’s healing energy or qi. The body has approximately one thousand acupuncture points.
Qi circulates throughout the body within the meridians, which also are related to the internal organs. Qi surfaces to the skin level at specific points. Good health depends on the smooth flow of qi. When the flow of qi is blocked due to trauma, poor diet, medications, stress, hereditary conditions, environmental factors, or excessive emotional issues, the system is disrupted. Illness is then generated. In accordance with ancient theory, acupuncture allows qi to flow to areas where it is deficient and away from areas where it is in excess. In this way, acupuncture regulates and restores a harmonious energetic balance in the body. There is a Chinese saying, “There is no pain if there is free flow; if there is pain, there is no free flow.”
Q: How deeply are the needles inserted and what health benefits can I expect to be achieved?
A: Needle size and insertion depth depend upon the nature of the problem. Depths can be from 0.2 to 3 inches. Also taken into consideration are: the patient’s size, age, and constitution. Scientific research has discovered that acupuncture points show a variety of unique bioelectric properties. Stimulation of acupuncture points cause definite physiological reactions affecting brain activity, such as releasing pain-killing endorphins, influencing blood pressure, enhancing the immune system, balancing the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems and enhancing the endocrine system. Most of all, acupuncture stimulates the body’s natural ability to heal itself, regain homeostasis, and maintain its relationship with nature.
Q: Is there medicine on the needle?
A: No. It is the needle itself that initiates physiological changes and stimulates the movement of qi to cause a corrective change in the body.
Q: Are the needles sterile?
A: All acupuncturists in Texas are required to use needles that are pre-sterilized, non-toxic and disposable. Communication of disease through acupuncture has not been an issue in the U.S., a record few other health care professions can claim.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved acupuncture needles for use by licensed practitioners in 1996. The FDA requires manufacturers of acupuncture needles to label them for single use only.
Relatively few complications from the use of acupuncture have been reported to the FDA when considering the millions of people treated each year and the number of acupuncture needles used.
Q: Is acupuncture painful and what will I feel during a treatment?
A: At the time the needle is inserted, some may feel soreness or slight pain. Others may feel nothing. Common qi sensations around the needle include: tingling, electrical sensations that may travel above or below the needle, or a sense of swelling at the insertion site. Stimulation of needles can be done manually, or by attaching electrodes that transmit a weak current. Some people are energized by treatment, while others feel relaxed.
It is important to seek treatment from a qualified acupuncture practitioner to ensure proper needle placement and stimulation. In any case, if you experience discomfort during or after the treatment, it is usually mild and short term. Because the purpose of acupuncture is to balance your body, there are no long-term negative side effects. On the contrary, relaxation and a sense of well-being often occur during and after treatment. Often patients become so relaxed that they sleep during treatment.
What is Dr. Weil’s view regarding acupuncture?
“Although there are certification courses offered to medical doctors to learn acupuncture, preferably, the practitioner will be trained in a TCM program to be maximally qualified. An understanding and background in TCM is important in achieving optimal results with acupuncture. Look for acupuncture practitioners who have thorough knowledge and training in this modality of treatment and who specialize in TCM or acupuncture as their primary form of treatment.”
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