What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is an essential part of traditional East Asian medicine, a comprehensive system of health care with a continuous written history of over 2000 years. East Asian medicine includes acupuncture, medicinal herbs, Tui na or medical massage, dietary therapy and exercise. All the aspects of the medicine work to influence Qi, the vital energy behind all life forms and life processes.

Is Acupuncture painful?

  • Teri specializes in very gentle, sometimes non-insertive acupuncture.
  • Although acupuncture uses needles, the needles are very fine and flexible—more like the diameter of a whisker. Most of the time patients report no sensation or at most a sensation like plucking a single hair.
  • Most people experience deep relaxation and a greater sense of well-being. Some fall asleep during treatment.

Will acupuncture help my condition?

Please feel free to call the office for a free, no obligation 15 minute consultation to discuss your condition prior to scheduling your first appointment. (206) 384-8736.

What types of conditions can be treated with acupuncture?

The World Health Organization has an extensive list of conditions for which acupuncture is effective. Here are some of the more common conditions.

  • Headaches/Migraines
  • Sport Injuries
  • Pain from accidents
  • Musculoskeletal pain
  • TMJ
  • Arthritis
  • Irritable Bowel
  • Sinusitis/rhinitis
  • Asthma & Allergies
  • PMS/painful menstruation
  • Menopause/hot flashes
  • Stress/emotional balance
  • Insomnia
  • Poor Digestion/GERD

How many treatments will I need to have?

It really depends upon your symptoms, the severity, and the length of time you've had them. Because acupuncture has a cumulative effect, it may take four treatments to assess the effectiveness of the treatment plan. Visits are spaced one week apart except in cases of severe, acute pain or trauma where frequency may increase to two or three visits per week.

What is Qi (Chi or Ki)?

Qi, pronounced chee, or in Japanese Ki, is the vital energy that warms and animates us. We can get Qi from the air we breathe, the food we eat, or by cultivating it through special exercises. We inherit another form of Qi from our parents.

How does Acupuncture work?

In developing an understanding of the prevention and cure of disease ancient physicians discovered that Qi flows along specific pathways called channels or meridians. Each pathway is associated with a particular physiological system and internal organ. Disease is considered to arise due to a deficiency or imbalance of energy in the meridians and their associated physiological systems. Disease can arise from internal factors, such as extreme emotions, or external factors, such as trauma or pathogens.

Acupuncture points are specific locations along the channels where one can access the Qi. Each point has a predictable effect on the vital energy passing through it. East Asian medicine uses an intricate system of pulse and tongue diagnosis, palpation of the abdomen, points and meridians, medical history, and other signs and symptoms to create a composite medical diagnosis. A treatment plan is then formulated to induce the body to attain a balanced state of health.

There are a number of Western medicine theories how acupuncture works. Cumulatively they indicate that a number of the body's systems are activated with acupuncture. Studies have measured decreased electrical resistance at the acupuncture points. Thus, there are theories about the nervous system involvement. Studies have shown an increase in endorphins during and following treatment showing neurotransmitter involvement. A recent study showed a release of a protein at the site of needle insertion indicating release of other biochemical messengers. Infertility studies show an increase in blood flow to treated areas of the abdomen. A 1991 Russian study has shown that the body conducts light at acupuncture points similar to a fiber optic cable. These light-conducting structures are called Bonghan Channels. For a more information Acupuncture Today (April 2009, Vol. 10, Issue 4) has a great article.

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