What is Acupuncture?

Many people start The Blood Type Diet as a way to manage illness or chronic pain and many experience life changing results. While Eating Right 4 Your Type can help manage these, you might want some extra relief. Consider acupuncture as a time-proven and natural way to help combat illness and pain.

So, just what is acupuncture?

Many people have heard of the acupuncturist’s use of very fine needles inserted into specific body locations for the treatment of pain. In fact, the majority of research on acupuncture in the West has focused on this use for the treatment. It can be beneficial for any of the pain syndromes resulting from an injury or associated with chronic degenerative diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.

However, acupuncture is not just about alleviating pain. Rather, it is a complete and traditional medical protocol focused on correcting imbalances in the body, and it has been used in China for more than 2,500 years to prevent, diagnose and treat disease, as well as to improve general health.

Have you ever considered an acupuncture treatment? It is a safe, individualized treatment that has many beneficial effects for the patient, as an added bonus, the effects of acupuncture treatments can be felt immediately. Intrigued? Read on to find out how acupuncture works, what a treatment entails, and how it can benefit you!

All About Acupuncture 

Your acupuncture treatment is designed with two concepts in mind: Bian bing (the type of disease) and Bian zheng (your pattern).  By selecting acupuncture points based on your individualized heath conditions and complaint, the treatment is specifically tailored to rebalance your body and not simply eliminate symptoms.

The traditional theory of acupuncture states that meridians flowing through the body transport subtle energy (qi) and the essence of blood (xue) to different systems and organs.  Anything interfering with this flow can cause imbalances and disease.  Some modern researchers have matched the pattern of these meridians to the connective tissue in our body, but there is no single modern theory for what the qi relates to in western medicine.  Small studies have linked increases and decreases in certain hormones and neurotransmitters with specific points, but have not explained the overall mechanism at work behind Acupuncture.  Larger studies have looked at the effects, but not the mechanisms, behind acupuncture – for instance, the October 2012 JAMA Internal Medicine article entitled “Acupuncture for Chronic Pain” showing strong evidence that Acupuncture successfully treats pain.

Not just anyone can practice this healing method, currently in China and several other Asian countries, Traditional Chinese Medicine (which includes Acupuncture) can be studied as one of the major specialties (like surgery) in medical school.  In America it is studied as 3-4 year Masters or Doctoral program.

How does it work?

The traditional explanation for how acupuncture works is that it modifies the flow of energy throughout the body, balancing it and thus correcting a wide range of disorders, from emotional disruptions such as anxiety, depression or post-traumatic stress, to digestive complaints such as vomiting, constipation and even irritable bowel disease.

And the list goes on! It can also be helpful in treating neurological problems such as sinus headaches, migraines, and Parkinson’s. Scalp acupuncture is a great rehabilitation strategy for individuals who have suffered a stroke. Further, respiratory conditions, such as sinusitis and asthma have been relieved with acupuncture.

It rather shines with gynecologic disorders and infertility, and can help reduce fatigue, treat fibromyalgia and addictions, soften dental pain, gentle chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting, and promote overall well being. Wow!!

What should you expect from an Acupuncture visit?

Typically, the first visit involves a health history assessment. Questions you will be asked may seem strange, a little different from standard medical intake questions, but energy flow and whole-body interaction are the keys to diagnosing in Chinese medicine.

Therefore, the practitioner may ask to examine your tongue, to feel your pulse to determine energy flow, or ask many questions that may seem to have nothing to do with the primary complaint.

After the initial consultation and assessment is over, a diagnosis is made which may also sound odd to you, so feel free to ask your practitioner what it all means. Then a treatment plan is devised, and treatment begun.

Acupuncture uses the insertion of sterile needles into specific body points to modulate a variety of nervous system signals. Upon insertion, one may feel a momentary sharp or stinging sensation; however, many report they don’t even feel the majority of the insertions.

In Acupuncture there is nothing injected so the needle can be very small.  Compared to hypodermic the gauge or width of the needle is two times smaller.  In fact 3-5 Acupuncture needles can fit inside a small hypodermic. Often the patient will feel the pressure on their skin more than the insertion of the needle.  Once the needle is inserted, the Acupuncturist may stimulate the point to causing the patient to feel a heavy, full or moving sensation.  This is referred to as Duqi (arrival of qi) and indicates the body has been stimulated enough to have a significant reaction to the point.

While the needles are left in place, the patient usually rests for 15-30 minutes during treatment in a calm room accompanied by soft music. Many people say they fall asleep during this time, as the treatments are very relaxing.

At the end of the treatment time, the needles are removed and properly discarded. Your practitioner will inquire after your well-being, and you will be able to leave. The visit is normally 60 minutes long.

How Can Acupuncture Benefit Me?

Acupuncture has traditionally been used to treat most medical and psychological conditions. Americans most commonly get acupuncture to treat pain, relieve trigger points in the muscles, relieve stress, reduce pain and severity of arthritis and autoimmune disease, treat menstrual problems, and aid in fertility.  Acupuncture is also used to treat digestive disorders, respiratory complaints, and restore mental emotional balance.

How long until results are felt?

Acute symptoms may require anywhere from one to four treatments for relief, whereas chronic situation may require 12 or more treatments, usually over a course of eight to 10 weeks. For many people, also, a general sense of well-being that goes beyond symptom relief is experienced, and this support in general goes a long way to complimenting and reinforcing the changes in lifestyle and diet being made with the GenoType protocol assigned to each patient. The entire process works very synergistic-ally.