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Q: What is acupuncture?

A: Very basically, acupuncture is the insertion of very fine needles, (sometimes in conjunction with electrical stimulus), into certain acupuncture points, in order to improve the physiological functioning of your body. It is one of the healing modalities used in Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Q: Is acupuncture painful?

A: Prior to their first treatment, many people do not believe that acupuncture can be painless. Different sensations such as warmth or pressure may be felt, but the energetic sensation differs from pain. People often comment that the feeling is unfamiliar but pleasant and relaxing. Acupuncture needles are very fine, about the size of a thick hair. They are solid and nothing is injected through them. Over the centuries, refined needle insertion techniques have been developed which enable the skilled acupuncturist to place a needle with little or no sensation.

Q: How does Acupuncture work exactly?

A: Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is an integrated system, which has been used for thousands of years to treat injury and illness. Acupuncture is a key component in the TCM approach to healing disease and disorders of the body. In the TCM system of medicine, the body is seen as a delicate balance of two opposing and inseparable forces: yin and yang. Yin represents the cold, slow, or passive principle, while yang represents the hot, excited, or active principle.

TCM likens the human body to a highly complex electrical circuit. Like any electrical circuit it must be kept in good working order if it is to function effectively, and if the circuit breaks down the result is illness. Among the major assumptions in TCM are that health is achieved by maintaining the body in a “balanced state” and that disease is due to an internal imbalance of yin and yang. This imbalance leads to blockage in the flow of qi (pronounced “chee”, meaning vital energy) along pathways known as meridians. Treatment involves needling at different points along the meridians where there is too much or too little energy to restore balance to the body.

Currently, there is not one western scientific theory that collaboratively explains all of the physiological mechanisms underlying the effects of Acupuncture. This is because Acupuncture has a variety of therapeutic effects on the body thus the action must vary depending on the type of pathology. However it is proposed that acupuncture primarily produces its effects through regulating the nervous system. Regulation of the nervous system aids the activity of pain-killing biochemicals such as endorphins and immune system cells at specific sites in the body. In addition, studies have shown that acupuncture may alter brain chemistry by changing the release of neurotransmitters and neurohormones. This explains why people are so relaxed and feel so good after receiving treatment.

Q: Is acupuncture safe?

A: We use sterile single use, disposable, silicon free acupuncture needles. The needles are safe. The procedures are safe and relaxing. Patients ask me "Is it normal to feel euphoric after a treatment?" Yes, it is!

Q: What kinds of health problems does acupuncture treat?

A: Acupuncture was/is the primary medicine in China so it treats the common ailments we all suffer from. Here is a brief list of symptoms: Headaches, Body Aches, Respiratory Diseases, Menstrual discomforts, Arthritis, Allergies, Digestive Diseases.

Q: A: How long do treatments last?

The initial visit is about 90 minutes long. An initial acupuncture visit includes consultation and treatment. Follow up sessions last about 60 minutes.

Q: What is "cupping"?

A: Cupping is another type of traditional treatment that is used by many different cultures. This is a method of stimulating Acupuncture points by applying suction through a glass jar, in which a partial vacuum has been created. Cupping is used for low backache, sprains, soft tissue injuries, and helps to relieve fluid from your lungs. It pulls the fluids and cell metabolites that are stuck in your spasmed muscles to the surface of your skin so they can be reabsorbed and fresh blood can come into heal your muscles. This was recently demonstrated in the remake of the Karate Kid movie.

Q: I am looking into trying acupuncture for both weight loss and depression. Does this clinic practice acupuncture for these conditions? And can both of these conditions be treated at once or is there an additional cost?

A: Yes, acupuncture treats for both weight loss and depression. Oriental Medicine tries to get to the root cause of disease rather than "chasing" the symptoms. Often with weight loss and depression there is one root cause - usually its an imbalance between glucose absorption and the stress hormone cortisol. Acupuncture treatments balance both of these hormones. We also have herbs and supplements to help with these conditions. I hope this answers your question - please feel free to call the clinic if you need any more assistance.