What is Acupuncture & How Does It Work
The Ancient Chinese believed that there is a universal life energy called Chi in all living creatures. This energy is said to circulate throughout the body along specific pathways called meridians. As long as this energy flows freely throughout the meridians, health is maintained, but once the flow of energy is blocked, the system is disrupted and pain and illness occur. Imagine rivers that flood and cause disaster or an electrical grid short circuiting causing blackouts. Acupuncture is the insertion of very fine needles, (sometimes in conjunction with electrical stimulus) on the body’s surface in order to influence physiological functioning of the body. Acupuncture works to reprogram, and restore normal functions by stimulating certain points on the meridians in order to free up the Chi energy.
Historically, acupuncture points were believed to be holes that allow entry into channels. These holes provide us gateway to influence, redirect, increase or decrease the body’s vital substance known as chi, thus correcting many of the imbalances. The insertion of needles have a physical and chemical effect on these “trigger points” or “acupoints”. Trigger points are sensitive spots often, often where nerves leave or enter muscles or tissues. Inserting a needle at these points stimulates the nervous system to release chemicals in the muscles, spinal cord and brain. These chemicals will either stop the discomfort, or they will trigger the release of other chemicals and hormones which influence the body’s own internal regulating system. The improved biochemical balance produced by acupuncture results in stimulating the body’s natural healing abilities to promote physical and emotional well being.
Effect of Acupuncture
Acupuncture has been shown to stimulate the immune system and affect circulation, blood pressure, secretion of the gastric acid and production of red and white cells. It also stimulates the release of a variety of hormones that help the body respond to stress and injury.
How Many Treatments Are Usual?
The number of treatments vary with different conditions and individuals. Chronic problems generally require more treatment than acute ones. Some patients notice an immediate improvement after the first treatment, whereas others may not notice any effect until the seventh or eighth visit. A small number of patients will experience a worsening of symptoms, as the body’s energies are returning to normal. This is usual and there is no need for alarm as it is followed by improvement. For acute problems where there has been little or no organ system or tissue damage, results are often permanent. For chronic conditions, symptoms may reoccur from time to time. Usually a few additional monthly treatments are sufficient to obtain relief.
What Conditions Are Accepted?
The World Health Organization recognizes the use of acupuncture in the treatment of a wide range of medical problems without chemicals or medicine. This is just a partial list of the conditions acupuncture has been credited with helping:
Acute and chronic pain relief, fibromyalgia, dizziness, migraine, tension and cluster headaches, cervical (neck ), mid back and low back pain, sciatica, tendonitis, bursitis, improve circulation, carpal tunnel syndrome, pain from arthritis, improve sleep, reduce stress and anxiety, joint pain, joint dysfunction as in sprain/strain injuries, biomechanical conditions of the spine and musculoskeletal system, trigger points, myofascial adhesions, sports injuries and overall health maintenance.
Is Acupuncture Expensive?
At the present time, acupuncture is not covered under most insurance plans. Financial arrangements can be made so that everyone has the opportunity to benefit from acupuncture treatments. Please feel free to discuss any of your concerns with Dr. Campion.
Other Instruments Used to Treat Acupoints
These instruments are safe and effective for children and those with special medical conditions preventing the use of acupuncture needles.