How Acupuncture Works

Studies have shown that with the insertion of acupuncture needles the body responds in certain ways. Once the needle penetrates the skin the body responds by treating the needle as a foreign invader. This triggers the body’s injury response. Since the needles are so fine and sterile, and the skin is swabbed with alcohol there is no injury or risk of infection. The injury response will divert the blood flow to the needle and increase circulation to the affected area. Blood flow brings oxygen, nutrients, and the immune system and treats the problem locally.

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In order to perceive pain, an electric nerve signal travels from the affected area to the brain. Studies have shown; through the use of MRIs, that the limbic system is stimulated. This leads researchers to believe that acupuncture alters the perception of pain. Many times after an injury one may shake their hand. Movement overrides the pain signal. Acupuncture yields the same effect but longer results.

When the injury response is triggered the body will try so sedate the patient by releasing endorphins. Endorphins provide the quintessential relaxation and sense of well-being that acupuncture in known for. Most disease is exacerbated by stress. This relaxation allows the sympathetic aspect of the nervous system to get out of hyper mode and slip into the restorative aspect of the parasympathetic rest mode.

Acupuncture does not hurt

As one can see the needles we use are very small.

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Above is a typical 20 gauge syringe needle. Nine acupuncture needles fit into the other needle. With acupuncture we do not introduce or with draw any substances. There is no need to cut into any sensitive tissue. The process of insertion is painless as well. The needle rests in the tube slightly higher than the tube.

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Then the needle is passed through the skin at a high velocity that it does not register with the dermatomes (nerves that register pain signal) on the skin. When the needle is in it rests painlessly in the affected area.

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Traditional treatments for modern ailments

Traditional treatments for modern ailments refers to the history of acupuncture and traditional Chinese medical treatments. Acupuncture itself dates back the the stone age. Oetzi the mummy from the Swiss alps, some theorize, had markings on his body that may have been a primitive form of acupuncture.

Along with acupuncture, we also practice traditional Chinese herbology. the use of herbs is as old as acupuncture. We at Acupuncture Health Services use formulas that have been used for thousands of years. The system of Chinese herbology differs from other herbal schools in that we use the combination of herbs not single herbs.

One of the other treatment methods we use is cupping. Perhaps one has seen an immigrant parent or grand parent use glass suction cups on the back to treat colds. This is one of my favorite treatment methods to use because it feels great and yields great results with upper and lower back treatments. What this treatment does is draw the circulation to the affected area, oxygenating muscles, and improving circulation. Patients rave about it.

Together the above modalities plus tuina (Chinese bodywork) are collectively known as Traditional Chinese Medicine. Combined with modern science and western medicine it a systematized curriculum that we study today. Collectively it can effectively treat many conditions.

Finally I’m a big believer in yoga. It has helped me in the past since i cant treat my lower back. Through stretching, deep breathing and relaxation one can treat their chronic pain. I show some stretches and relaxation techniques to treat pain and anxiety. I encourage all my patients to take a yoga class. I think that the long term effects of yoga out weigh any short term repetitive stress injury exercise. It is important to have a good teacher. A good yoga teacher can show one how to transition through poses and get the maximum effect.

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