What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is one of the oldest and most commonly used forms of medicine in the world, although it is still considered part of alternative medicine. Originating in China over 2,300 years ago, acupuncture is now the most common modality of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practiced in the United States. It has become increasingly popular as patients look for safe treatment options for symptoms ranging from pain management to stress relief.

 

How Does Acupuncture Work?

Treatment involves the insertion of very fine sterile filaments of stainless steel, commonly referred to as needles. They are placed in one of 359 standard acupuncture points along the meridians (energy pathway) of the patient’s body, and in other commonly used acupuncture points, which include extraordinary points, motor/trigger points, and tender spots in muscles. Once inserted, the needles are often manipulated manually or with a mild electrical current to increase circulation and achieve a therapeutic effect.  The acupuncturist first evaluates the patient’s condition and then determines the method and intensity of manipulation along with the duration of filament retention.  Acupuncture treatment stimulates the body’s energy to achieve balance, health and healing.  Commonly reported side effects include: heightened senses, feeling of serenity, clarity, and general well being.

Does it Hurt?

Acupuncture is not painful.  It is a subjective experience, so no two patients are alike.  Some patients feel nothing during an acupuncture treatment,  while other patients may feel a heavy sensation at the point of insertion or the feeling of ‘something’ moving to other areas of the body.  With intense manipulation (a common treatment for sports injuries), muscles may be sore the next day as if one had worked out.  While uncommon, it is possible for points to bruise the next day. First-time patients often describe the sensation as ‘weird’ but not uncomfortable.