Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a safe and effective treatment for many common conditions

As a certified acupuncturist, Dr. Shari uses this ancient Chinese treatment to help heal a number of different conditions. Although this is not a complete list of what acupuncture treats, here are some common examples acupuncture is used for treatment.

The main goal of Acupuncture is to balance the body’s energy (Qi) by using the body’s own energy pathways. Ancient Chinese physicians discovered an energy network, just under the skin’s surface, that flows throughout the body. This energy network intertwines with the body’s major systems and works in unison with them. Put simply, when this energy network is disturbed either by blockages or miscommunication, the body suffers pain and dysfunction. The goal of Acupuncture is to restore natural flow within the body’s energy network, resulting in the body’s ability to heal itself.

The human body’s energy network, clinically termed as Meridian Channels, contains twelve different Meridians and eight extraordinary meridians. When you and Dr. Shari decide to use Acupuncture in your treatment plan, she will first find where the blockage and dysfunctions lie in your meridians. She uses your pulse and tongue as a guide to find these areas and once she finds them, she utilizes various oriental techniques on the acupoints in order to restore harmony within the entire energy network, thereby reducing and ultimately ridding your malady.

HOW MANY TREATMENTS WILL I NEED?

Chronic problems may demand more treatments than acute issues. The average number of treatments that patients receive is between 4 and 16, at the rate of two per week. Dr. Shari encourages her patients to be patient in the healing process, and always keep in mind that the longer you have had a problem, the longer it takes to make it go away. It is recommended each person have acupuncture monthly, and at the very least during the change of seasons.

An acupuncturist may be consulted for specific symptoms and conditions such as pain, anxiety, arthritis, asthma, migraine, menstrual disorders, intestinal disorders, addiction and a plethora of other conditions. The World Health Organization (WHO) has listed the above conditions and many more as being responsive to acupuncture treatment. See below for a list.

The goad of acupuncture is to treat the whole patient and restore balance between the physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of the individual. Many people also have acupuncture as a preventative treatment, which is the most important benefit of this medicine.

Usually, a series of treatments are necessary to resolve a condition. Each case and condition is treated individually. A consultation is required to determine requirements. Treatments can be between 45 to 90 minutes in length with the first consultation usually lasting longer.

Most patients have stated that there is little or no pain as very fine, sterile, disposable needles are used. Treatments are available without the use of needles through Asian Bodywork Therapy.

Children of all ages are treated and respond well to acupuncture. In addition, young children of those apprehensive of the use of acupuncture needles may be treated without needles using Asian bodywork and/or electrical probes. In addition, herbal formulas are usually prescribed to enhance the acupuncture treatments and to provide further care between treatments as well.

It is advisable to always inform your physician about any treatment that you are seeking and it is also very important to have a list of medications and supplements that you are taking available during your first consultation with your acupuncturist. Some physicians will also refer acupuncture and Oriental medicine practitioners to patients.

Though it seems mysterious, acupuncture has a scientific explanation and does not require a patient’s belief in order to work.

The brain is signaled when the needle is positioned. The brain responds by increasing blood cell counts and various other immune system elements, and lastly, by activating neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters (or messenger molecules) are responsible for sending information to all cells in order for the body to function.

Endorphins and enkephalins are well known neurotransmitters that stop pain and increase a feeling of well-being. Acupuncture causes the release of these natural, morphine-like substances from the brain.

Aside from the well-studied effect on pain, researchers are still exploring exactly how acupuncture aids the immune system. We know that certain blood counts and immune enhancing chemicals stay elevated for at least 3 days following an acupuncture treatment.

Modern research has described other various physiological shifts following acupuncture as well, such as beneficial changes in the body’s anti- inflammatory agents and hormonal activity.

Most patients would say, “relaxing.” Usually patients leave in less discomfort and are more functional than when they walked in. Sometimes the effects are too subtle to perceive, especially in the beginning of treatment. Over time, improvements become more and more apparent.

Everyone is different. Acute problems like a sore throat, sinus congestion, pain can be resolved in a single session — even during the session. With chronic problems, significant results will more likely occur within 4-6 treatments. The total number of treatments needed depends upon:

1.the severity of the person’s condition
2.how long the condition has existed
3.the overall state of health, energy and motivation of the patient
4.the patient’s participation in the healing processing (e.g., changing eating habits, making lifestyle changes, etc.)

Usually the first visit is the longest in order to allow for a complete history taking and exam – typically one and one-half hours. Follow-up visits are shorter, usually 30 to 45 minutes, depending on patient needs. Sometimes other therapies, such as moxibustion, acupressure/massage and exercises are incorporated with the acupuncture treatment.

An exam/consultation includes the practitioner taking a comprehensive medical history, questioning the patient about his/her chief complaints and making observations about the patient such as, the appearance of the face and body build, the shape and color of the tongue, the quality of the pulses, the feel of diagnostic areas such as the abdomen and back. The acupuncturist may also test for weaknesses along the “meridians” and weaknesses in the muscles. From this information, a Chinese diagnosis can be made.

When performed by a properly trained and licensed practitioner, acupuncture is safe and effective, free from adverse or addictive side effects. Quite often, a sense of relaxation and well-being occurs during and after treatments. While undergoing therapy for one ailment, other problems may resolve concurrently. This is a common side benefit that again demonstrates the value of balancing the quality and quantity of “vital energy” within the entire person.