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What is acupuncture?

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 Acupuncture is a traditional health care modality that has flourished in Korea and China for more than 3,000 years.  Acupuncture has grown significantly in the United States as medical doctors, oriental health care providers, medical researchers and the public apply in their health care and spread its benefits.  

 The classical explanation for how Acupuncture works is based on ancient Eastern theories of the flow of qi.  Qi is energy which circulates within the body.  It is the animating force that provides you with the ability to talk, walk, think, metabolize, dream, and love.  Qi also protects you from illness, pain and discomfort, keeping you strong and healthy.  Qi flows through specific pathways called meridians.  Like a river, it floats back and forth to transport and nourishes every cell, organ, and tissue in your body. 
 Physical or emotional strain, trauma, stress, lack of exercise, overexertion, seasonal changes, poor diet, accidents, excessive activity, or weakness can all lead to blockages of qi.  If qi is disturbed and your body cannot regain to balance and health sooner, this disruption or imbalance of qi can make the body weakness, ill, painful or even let disease settle in. 
 In order to restrain qi, an acupuncturist would place a sterilized, disposable needle at specific outpoints along the meridian pathways.  The safe and painless needle insertion of the needle unblocks the damaging or obstruction of your meridians.  Releasing this blockage allows qi to freely circulate, thus eliminating pain and restoring the body’s ability to heal by itself. 
 Far more than inserting tiny threadlike needles along meridians of the body, acupuncture’s system of diagnosis considers a patient’s symptoms as a whole, not just individual.  Acupuncture is practiced based upon distinguishing a pattern of disharmony and treating accordingly.  Many acupuncturists use a number of modalities like cupping, electro-stimulation, herbal decoction and moxibustion.  
 Acupuncture is used to strengthen physical body, prevent disease, control pain and achieve longevity.  The aim of acupuncture is not limited to relieving or getting rid of symptoms, but to increase both the quality of life and ability to function.  
How does acupuncture work?

 Acupuncture is a therapy which uses natural laws and energetic with the application of sterilized, disposable needles to specific “points” of the body.  These points are grouped along specific pathways or meridians that cross the body.  As long as energy, called qi, freely flows through these pathways, health is maintained.  When the flow of qi is absent, excessive, interrupted or blocked in an area, health is disrupted as well resulting in illness or pain.  By stimulating acupuncture points along the meridians, qi is released and regulated, restoring health. 
 
 Acupuncture has been proved scientifically in three ways.  First, when an acupuncture needle is inserted into a traditional acupuncture point, certain nerve fibers are stimulated, which results in a nerve impulse being sent to the spinal cord. Here, endorphogenic cells are stimulated to release endorphins (brain chemicals) such as enkephalin and dynorphin.  These substances provide local inhibition (blocking) of the incoming pain signal. 

 Second, the nerve impulse produced by the acupuncture needle is also transmitted to the periaqueductal gray area of the mid-brain, where enkephalin is released.  Enkephalin, in turn, brings about the release of monoamine neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine in the spinal cord. These monoamines play a role in suppressing the transmission of the pain impulse.  In addition to its role in reducing pain, serotonin is involved in producing an antidepressant effect in the brain.  

 A third effect of acupuncture is the release of beta-endorphin and Andreno-Cortico-Tropic Hormone (ACTH) from the pituitary gland into the bloodstream system-wide pan relief, remote from the area where the acupuncture needle was inserted.  ACTH, in turn, activates the adrenal gland to release cortisol into the bloodstream.  Cortisol is a naturally occurring steroid substance that had anti-inflammatory properties. 
 
 The net result of these 3 areas being simulated is an inhibition of the incoming pain sensation locally, a general, morphinelike, pain-relieving effect throughout the body, an anti-inflammatory effect, and a general sense of improved well-being. Depending on which acupuncture points are chosen, whether they are near the painful site or father away, determines which of the 3 pathways mentioned are primarily activated. 
 
 Also, studies indicate that acupuncture influences the central and peripheral nervous system.  It encourages brain to release more endorphins, the hormones which are effective in relieving pain.  Acupuncture affects sugar, cholesterol and triglyceride level in the blood, the functioning of gastroentero system and activity of endocrine system.  It harmonizes and balances qi, improves circulation and allows body to heal by itself more quickly.  
Side effects

 The side effects of acupuncture (although very rare) may be bruising, minor bleeding, feeling light-headed, fatigue, dizziness, nausea and muscle spasm.  They should only last for a short time.  Always hydrate yourself after treatment to minimize these side effects.  

 We strongly encourage patient to eat something (even a light granola bar) before receiving acupuncture treatment.  The reason is that without eating anything, patient might faint after the treatment due to significantly lowered blood pressure. 
 
 You should not receive treatment when excessively tired, hungry, shortly after sexual intercourse or drinking alcohol.