Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine

What is Traditional Chinese Medicine?

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is an ancient, holistic and comprehensive health care system that has been used for thousands of years to diagnose, treat and prevent disease. It enhances the body's own recuperative while strengthening its immunity. Unlike conventional medicine which focuses on treating the symptoms of illness, TCM focuses on treating the root cause of illness and the proactive prevention of disease.

TCM encompasses a variety of treatments including acupuncture, moxibustion (heat therapy), food and diet therapy, exercise (Qi Gong, Tai Chi), Tui Na (massage therapy), and Chinese herbal therapy. Though the approaches vary, all aspects of TCM focus on creating and maintaining a balanced, unobstructed flow of the body's Qi (pronounced "chee"), or life-force energy.

An unobstructed flow of Qi allows the body to effectively function, promote its own natural healing and allow nourishment to reach structures such as skin tissue, nerves, bones and organs. When the flow of Qi is obstructed, areas of the body develop deficiencies and excesses of Qi which produce symptoms of common health problems.

Treatments in TCM emphasize individual treatment. Two different people may show similar symptoms on the surface, yet the root causes of those symptoms can and do vary. Before undergoing a course of treatment in TCM, a client undergoes a thorough diagnostic interview in which questions are answered related not only to symptoms but the entire biological health system so the practitioner can tailor a unique treatment.

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is one of the most recognized aspects of TCM. Acupuncture treatments utilize extremely thin, disposable needles to manipulate the flow of Qi through energy pathways known as meridians. The needles affect acupuncture points like gates in an electrical circuit to direct the flow of Qi through the body in a beneficial and balanced manner. Acupuncture has proven effective and safe for treating ailments and maintaining health for thousands of years.

During a treatment, needles are painlessly inserted into specific points on the body. The client may feel a mild tingling, warmth or dull ache at the acupuncture point following insertion. As the Qi moves throughout the body, the client often feels a deep sense of relaxation and well-being. Many clients fall into a relaxing sleep during the treatment.

Depending on the severity of the initial disorder and factors unique to each person, the client usually experiences at least some symptomatic relief immediately or in the days or weeks following the treatment. The duration of a treatment and follow-up treatments varies with the prescribed course of treatment for each client.

Does it hurt?

Acupuncture doesn't hurt or even remotely resemble an injection. Normally you will feel no pain at all. At the worst you may feel the sensation of a small mosquito bite for a brief instant.

Acupuncture needles, unlike the hollow, sharp-tipped needles used for injections, are solid, hair-thin and have smooth, rounded tips that push aside skin tissue without cutting or piercing it. I have performed acupuncture for over a decade and developed a reputation with my clients for gentleness with needles. I've also dealt with clients who were afraid of needles and surprised them at how painless acupuncture really is.

Acupuncture and Modern Science

Acupuncture may seem mysterious to those accustomed to conventional chemical, pharmaceutical and surgical remedies. Modern science does not fully understand how it works, but scientists using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) have observed corresponding changes in a patient's brain chemistry when acupuncture needles are inserted at specific acupuncture points.

A 1997 study by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) on the biological basis of acupuncture demonstrates that stimulation of an appropriate point can activate the release of various chemicals such as endorphins, hormones and other biologically active substances from the brain, organs and tissues. These chemicals can change the experience of pain or trigger the release of other substances that influence the body's internal regulatory system to control biochemical imbalances in the body that result in the symptoms of diseases.

Conventional medicine usually treats these symptoms with chemical medications that do not address the underlying cause of the disease and often produce undesirable and/or dangerous side effects. Adverse reactions to prescription medications rank among the leading causes of death in the United States. Acupuncture does not utilize chemical medications and therefore causes no side effects or drug interaction problems.

Conditions Treated

The World Health Organization recognizes Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine as effective in the treatment of many health conditions including, but not limited to:

  • Alcohol Dependency
  • Allergies/ Asthma
  • Anxiety/Depression
  • Arthritis/Joint Problems
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Colds/Flu/Cough/Bronchitis
  • Constipation/Diarrhea
  • Drug/Nicotine Dependency
  • Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat Disorders
  • Fatigue
  • Gynecological Disorders/Infertility
  • Headache/Migraine
  • Immune System Deficiency
  • Impotency
  • Insomnia
  • Menopausal Symptoms
  • Numbness/Poor Circulation
  • Pain Control
  • Premenstrual Syndrome
  • Sciatica
  • Skin Problems
  • Stress/tension
  • Tendonitis
  • TMJ/Jaw Pain