What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a component of Eastern medicine that is gaining popularity in the Western hemisphere as a safe and effective treatment for a variety of conditions. Specific anatomic sites are stimulated by the insertion of fine, sterile needles into the skin.
The Eastern Philosophy
The Eastern philosophy of acupuncture is revolves around the restoration of the bodies energy balance to restore health. By inserting fine needles into specific points along meridians (or energy channels in the body), the energy flow is restored.
The Western Philosophy
The Western philosophy of acupuncture revolves around human anatomy, physiology and modern neuroscience. The benefits of acupuncture are well documented in the West; however, the mechanism is not yet clearly understood. Several theories include:
- Immunity Theory – acupuncture stimulates the body’s immune and healing response.
- Endorphin Theory – acupuncture stimulates the release of the body’s natural pain killers (endorphins) into the blood stream.
- Circulatory Theory – acupuncture stimulates increased blood flow to injured areas which in turn improves healing and recovery from injury.
- Neurotransmitter Theory – acupuncture stimulates the release of chemicals in the brain that make us feel good.
One of the key benefits of acupuncture is the almost complete absence of side effects. Furthermore, acupuncture is safe when performed by a trained healthcare professional. Licensed practitioners use only individually packaged, sterilized, and single use needles to prevent any risk of communicable disease.
Does Acupuncture Hurt?
Naturally, this is the most common question asked regarding acupuncture treatments. The answer is no! Unlike hypodermic needles which are large, hollow, and designed to penetrate deeply into your muscle to deliver medication, an acupuncture needle is solid and thin like a human hair and in most cases is inserted too much shallower levels. Most people report that they don’t feel the needles at all.