Acupuncture is a form of treatment that employs fine needles at specific points to stimulate the body’s healing response. A traditional perspective is that acupuncture interfaces with channels and vessels of Qi (vital force) and Blood which flow through the body. Disease occurs when Qi and Blood are blocked and circulation becomes impaired, causing imbalance in the body. Acupuncture is used to activate the flow of Qi and Blood, catalyzing the body’s return to balance.
Modern research has shown that acupuncture initiates neural, vascular, immune, and endocrine responses that together result in:
~ Pain control and muscle relaxation
~ Reduction of inflammation and swelling
~ Normalization of blood flow and lymphatic drainage
~ Tissue and wound healing
~ Enhanced or normalized immune response
~ Increased joint range-of-motion
~ Normalization or organ activity
~ Stress reduction and mood enhancement
The net effect of these processes restores both local and systemic homeostasis, the body’s normal state of dynamic, balanced function.
Acupuncture is recognized in the United States as a viable treatment for many conditions and is increasingly being included in primary care settings throughout the country. In 1997, the National Institute of Health (NIH) issued a consensus statement on acupuncture, concluding that:
~ There is sufficient evidence of acupuncture’s value to expand its use into conventional medicine and to encourage further studies of its physiology and clinical value.
~ The data in support of acupuncture is as strong as those for many accepted Western medical therapies.
~ The incidence of adverse effects is substantially lower than that of many drugs or other accepted medical procedures used for the same condition.
“Is is safe and will it hurt?”
The most common concerns patients have about acupuncture regard safety and comfort. With the use of sterile, single-use, disposable needles, the risk of infectious disease transmission through acupuncture is negligible. Adverse effects are uncommon and are generally limited to temporary, mild dizziness, faintness, or bruising or irritation around needle sites.