According to TCM, when you experience illness, it's because there's an imbalance in your life force, or Qi ("chee"). Acupuncture involves stimulating the energy pathways (called meridians) by applying slim needles to the surface of the body. Stimulation of the meridian points is believed to re-balance Qi.
Many of the energy pathways identified in TCM correspond with known neurological and electrical pathways that are organized throughout the human body. These pathways connect with muscles, connective tissue, organs and other physiological systems in the body. Scientists believe this is the foundation for how acupuncture works.
What to Expect
Based on your primary concern, your practitioner will assess your lifestyle habits, energy level, emotional state and medical history. You'll also be evaluated regarding body temperature, the condition of your tongue, and strength of your pulse, all of which indicate where your Qi/energy may be blocked. Your practitioner will then describe a course of treatment, including the use of extremely thin needles, which can be placed at specific acupuncture points on the body to stimulate healing.
While many people are relaxed during treatment, some experience a dull ache or numbness around certain needles. This is an indication that "healthy flow of qi" is being restored. Generally, there is no long lasting sensation during or after an acupuncture treatment.
To some, the thought of needles can be very stressful, however the benefits that acupuncture brings are very rewarding. It is helpful for many health conditions including stress and anxiety, fertility and pain, and because acupuncture does provide benefit to the body and mind with minimal risk of side effects, it would be good to incorporate it into an integrative medical plan. So give it a try!
Mayo Clinic Online. "Acupuncture." Accessed March 24, 2016. http://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/acupuncture/basics/definition/prc-20020778
American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. Patient Resources Section, News, Articles, Clinical Trials & Other Information. http://www.aaaomonline.org/?page=PatientResources
Nolting, M. "Acupuncture." as cited in Pizzorno, Joseph E. (2013). Textbook of Natural Medicine. St. Louis, MO Elsevier. (chapter 31), 244-247.
NaturalNews.com "Latest study reinforces link between acupuncture and relief from hot flashes." Posted on August 05, 2014. Accessed on March 24, 2016. http://www.naturalnews.com/046321_hot_flashes_menopause_acupuncture.html
- also see: "What to expect at your first acupuncture visit" posted May 03, 2014. Accessed on March 24, 2016. http://www.naturalnews.com/044969_acupuncture_patient_experience_licensed_practitioners.html
App based on the book: A Manual of Acupuncture. (2001). Journal of Chinese Medicine Publications. England. -- 7-day free trial available as of March 2016: https://amanualofacupuncture.com/about-manual-of-acupuncture
Photo Credit: AndreyPopov/bigstockphoto.com