Acupuncture: Your Questions Answered
Over the few months, we have seen an increase in patients interested in acupuncture. We often get a question about what acupuncture is, how is it performed, and what it can help. This post is dedicated to answering some of these questions.
WHAT IS IT?
Acupuncture is the treatment of specific points on the body to help the body heal and recover. Acupuncture originated in China more than 2,000 years ago. The exact origins of the treatment are unclear but the most widely accepted theory is from battle wounds and the relief of symptoms that followed. This can be difficult to understand due to the different ways of thinking between the Western and Eastern worlds. In the Western way of thinking, it is often important to find out the reason and the cause. We want to know how and why something works and need to fully understand it before accepting its therapeutic effects. This differs from the Eastern way of thinking, which does not need to know why or how something works, it is simply accepted that if something is done and there is a positive effect, then that is the way that it is and the process can be repeated for the same effect.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
There are many theories about the benefits and effects of acupuncture on the body. One theory is the balancing of energy channels in the body (QI (pronounced chi) energy channels) to relief pools of energy and allow the body to heal itself. Another theory is, during the treatments and after, the body releases an increase in cells of the immune system and this increase speeds up the healing natural healing process.
HOW IS IT PERFORMED?
Specific acupuncture points are located throughout the body along the different energy channels. By stimulating these points, typically with small, fine needles, these points are either stimulate or slow the energy to achieve the required effect. Different points correspond to different areas and conditions of the body. Acupuncture needles can also be placed in areas of inflammation and tension to stimulate the immune system and relieve tight and even painful muscles and areas.
The most common fear of getting acupuncture is the fear that needles are involved. Most acupuncture needles are from 0.5 inches to 1.5 inches in length but most people are less concerned with the length and more concerned with the size of the needle. Acupuncture needes are solid pieces of surgical-grade steel, not hollow like hypodermic needles. The average thickness (gauge) of the acupuncture needles used in our clinic is 0.20 mm. In comparison, the average hypodermic needle for drawing blood is 0.82mm and for blood donation is 1.65mm. Some of the needles we use are even thinner at 0.16mm. To better understand the size of the needles and how thin they are, we could put about 30 acupuncture needles into the hole of a hypodermic needle!
No matter the size, we understand that some patients are not comfortable with needles. Our office offers needless acupuncture, using a device called a Tei-Shin, to perform therapeutic treatments without the needles.
CAN IT HELP ME?
In our office, we see the benefits of acupuncture first hand. We treat and help frozen shoulder, rotator cuff strains and sprains, headaches, stress, addiction, weight loss, knee problems, and many others. The benefits are vast and vary greatly depending on the area that is treated. Generically, we see an increase in the blood flow to the area, allowing the body to heal the particular situation faster. We also regularly see an increase in the pain-free range of motion of a particular joint.
The main determining factor of success with acupuncture is the physician’s skills and experience. Dr. Mike has over 100 hours of specialty training in acupuncture and over 2 years of acupuncture experience. He has treated over 100 patients with a variety of conditions.
I THINK IT MIGHT HELP ME, HOW DO I FIND OUT MORE?
If you want to find out more if and how acupuncture can help you, call our office at (636) 937-6500, or CONTACT US. We will schedule a time to sit down with you and discuss your current health and your goals for treatments. We like to ensure that our patients are comfortable with the health decision that they are making and strive to offer the best information available and ensure that you are comfortable with the treatment options before any treatment is performed.