Acupuncture is a method of encouraging the body to promote natural healing and to improve functioning. This is done by inserting needles and applying heat or electrical stimulation at very precise Acupuncture points.
Classically, the traditional Chinese explanation involves channels of energy that travel in regular, well-defined patterns throughout the body and on its surface. These energy channels, called meridians, are like rivers flowing through the body to irrigate and nourish the tissues. An obstruction in the movement of these energy rivers is like a dam that backs up the flowing in one part of the body and restricts it in others.
Needling the Acupuncture points can influence the meridians. The Acupuncture needles unblock the obstructions at the dams and reestablish the regular flow thorough the meridians. Acupuncture treatments can therefore help the body’s internal organs correct imbalances in their digestion, absorption and energy production activities, and in the circulation of their energy through the meridians.
The scientific explanation as to how Acupuncture works theorizes that needling the Acupuncture points stimulates the nervous system to release chemicals in the muscles, spinal cord and brain. These chemicals will either change the experience of pain or they will trigger the release of other chemicals and hormones which influence the body’s own internal regulating system. The improved energy and biochemical balance produced by
Acupuncture results in stimulating the body’s natural healing abilities, and in promoting physical and emotional well-being.
Acupuncture is a very old medical art (in fact, there were Acupuncture points for back pain tattooed on the back of an Alpine ice age mummy found embedded in a retreating glacier), and there are many approaches to learning and practicing it. Medical Acupuncture is the term used to describe Acupuncture performed by a physician trained and licensed in Western medicine who also has had thorough training in Acupuncture as a specialty practice. The UCLA School of Medicine course on Acupuncture trains physicians in several types of Acupuncture so that they can use multiple approaches and/or combinations with Western medical techniques to treat an illness. Dr. Wingert completed the six-month UCLA program in November of 2000.
Medical Acupuncture is a healing system that can influence three areas of health care:
1 Promotion of health and well being
2 Prevention of illness
3 Treatment of various medical conditions
While Acupuncture is most often associated with pain control, in the hands of a well-trained practitioner it has much broader applications. Acupuncture can sometimes be used effectively as the only treatment, or as the support or adjunct to other medical treatment forms for many medical problems, which may include:
The number of treatments needed differs from person to person. For complex or long standing conditions one or two treatments per week for several months may be recommended. Unfortunately, not all conditions respond to Acupuncture; it may take six to twelve visits without improvement before it is decided that treatment was not successful. For acute problems, usually fewer visits are required, and for health maintenance, four sessions a year may be all that is necessary. The number of treatments is based upon an individual’s response. Acupuncture treatments build upon themselves and once improvement occurs the time between treatments is usually extended.
People experience Acupuncture needling differently. Most patients feel only minimal pain as the needles are inserted. There will often be a dull achy sensation when the meridian energy is contacted. Once the needles are in place, pain is rarely felt. Acupuncture needles are very thin (far thinner than hypodermic needles), solid and made of stainless steel. The tip is actually smooth (not hollow with cutting edges like a hypodermic needle) and as it is inserted it pushes the tissues aside, thus minimizing trauma. The risk of bruising and skin irritation is less than when using a hollow needle. There is little to no risk of infection as Dr. Wingert uses sterile, disposable needles.
The simple answer is yes. The first textbook on Acupuncture was written 150 years before the birth of Christ. Since that time, more people have been successfully treated with Acupuncture than with all other health modalities combined. Today, Acupuncture is practiced in Asia, the former Soviet Union, and Europe. Its acceptance is increasing in the United States and Canada as more physicians and patients are exposed to it. You do not have to “believe” in Acupuncture to have it work, as there are well-identified Acupuncture points on animals for the treatment of their illnesses.