Acupuncture: What Is It?

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Acupuncture

Acupuncturists believe in the importance of vital energy and it is this energy which helps to restore the energetic balance in the body. When this balance is disturbed and becomes imbalanced, patients are likely to feel sick or have pain.  Acupuncture seeks to restore the flow of positive energy throughout your body and remove the negative energy, bringing balance to the body.  In traditional Chinese medicine, this is called "Qi" (pronounced "Chi") or the balance of "Yin" and "Yang."  The art of acupuncture has taken thousands of years to develop and test.  Acupuncture is all natural and allows the body to repair itself with help from stimulating specific Acupuncture points. From a modern medical perspective, acupuncture stimulates various systems of your body. This may trigger a healing response. 

Acupuncture divides your body into a series of zones and pressure points. These pressure points are seen as places where nerves, muscles, and connective tissue can be stimulated. Acupuncture needles are inserted into different pressure points, depending on your symptoms.  Qi is said to flow through meridians, or pathways, in the human body. These meridians and energy flows are accessible through 350 Acupuncture points in the body. Each meridian point has a specific meaning and can unblock and repair meridians and channels with vital energy or Qi.  Inserting needles into these points with appropriate combinations is said to bring the energy flow back into proper balance.  Through the stimulation of the meridians, an acupuncturist is able to restore balance and ergo health to the patient.  Today, acupuncturists also use lasers, magnets and electric pulses in addition to needles.    

Benefits of Acupuncture:

    • Performed correctly, it is safe.
    • There are very few side effects.
    • It can be effectively combined with other treatments.
    • It can control some types of pain.
    • It may help patients for whom pain medications are not suitable.

What to expect

Dr. Stokes will examine the patient and assess their condition. The patient will then be asked to sit or lie down on their back, front, or one side, depending on where the needles are to be inserted.  He then will insert one or more thin, single-use, disposable, sterile needles. As each needle is inserted, the patient may feel a very brief stinging or tingling sensation.

After the needle is inserted, there is occasionally a dull ache at the base of the needle that then subsides. Acupuncture is usually relatively painless.  Sometimes the needles are stimulated with electricity after insertion.  The needles will stay in place for between 5 and 30 minutes.  The number of treatments needed depend on the individual. A person with a chronic condition may need one to two treatments a week over several months. An acute problem normally improves after 8 to 12 sessions.

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