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What is Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture?

Chinese Medicine has a history dating back at least 4000 years, making it one of the world's oldest forms of medicine. Chinese medicine includes acupuncture, Chinese Herbal Medicine, dietary therapy, and Tui na (a type of physical therapy/massage), and other related disciplines including Qigong and Taiji. Chinese medicine is based on the concept that the body is a complex matrix with numerous interconnected systems that work in unison to maintain balance and health in the body. Life force energy, known as "Qi" flows throughout the body in channels known as Meridians. The flow of Qi can be disrupted by many different factors, leading to various states of disease, whether physical or emotional. The Chinese medical practitioner uses a number of diagnostic techniques, including questioning, palpation, and observation, to pinpoint the mechanisms of the diseased state, and then treats that condition accordingly. Acupuncture is the most widely recognized form of Chinese medicine, and it involves the insertion of hair-thin needles into acupoints along the body's meridians to balance the flow of Qi.

How Does Acupuncture Work?

As mentioned above, the aim of acupuncture is to promote the flow of "Qi", or life force energy within the body by inserting acupuncture needles into specific points along the body's meridians. Meridians, which circulate the body's Qi run throughout the body and loosely follow the pathways of blood vessels or nerves. Acupuncture works to promote the free flow of Qi and thus reduce pain and other disease states. There is a saying in Chinese medicine that states where there is no free flow there is pain and disease. Thus the most basic aim of acupuncture is to restore the free flow of Qi. There is extensive empirical evidence that acupuncture works, and western research studies continue to explore the mechanisms, from a Western Medical perspective, that make acupuncture such a powerful treatment modality.

Does Acupuncture Hurt?

Unlike hypodermic needles, acupuncture needles are very thin, and their insertion is virtually painless. You may notice a sensation of heaviness, achiness or warmth at or around the area where needles have been inserted, all which indicate the circulation of Qi in the area. Most people find acupuncture to be very relaxing, and some people even fall asleep during treatment.

How Many Treatments Will I Need?

The number of treatments that you will require depends upon the severity and duration of your health issue. In general, treatment of acute conditions requires fewer treatments, whereas the treatment of chronic conditions requires more treatments. It is generally recommended that you begin with 5 to 6 treatments and then reassess your treatment progress with your practitioner.

Are The Needles Sterile?

Absolutely! Acupuncturists in the United States only use single-use, sterilized, disposable needles to ensure your safety.

Is There Anything I Should Know About Before I Try Acupuncture?

Please do not come to your appointment excessively tired or hungry. Please wear loose clothing. And please be sure to tell your practitioner about any medications you are taking, especially blood thinning medications.

What Can I Expect After A Treatment?

Many patients feel relief of symptoms after a single treatment, while for others it may take longer. Often your symptoms will recur within a few days, but with continued treatment the effects will be more enduring. The aim is to resolve your symptoms altogether.