What does the needle do?
Acupuncture should be a relatively painless, deeply relaxing experience. Many people are reluctant to pursue it because it involves the use of needles. Rest assured, a skilled practitioner can treat you with minimal, if any, discomfort. It is common for the patient to ask, ‘did you really just put a needle in?’ after it is inserted because the procedure is so gentle. Most patients are surprised by how little they feel as the needles are inserted. After the needles are in, there is typically a sensation of dull pressure or a mild achiness. Other patients report a feeling of tingling or warmth, while others feel a tangible and strong presence of Qi coursing through the body. In any regard, acupuncture should be a pleasant, tranquilizing, and safe experience. The needles are hair-thin and are used only once, then disposed into a biohazard container.
Most acupuncturists use stainless steel needles which are said to disperse energy and get the Qi moving effectively throughout the meridian that is being worked on. The needle is used as a medium for transferring and manipulating Qi in various ways. There are some acupuncturists who are so skilled at work- ing with Qi that they don't even need to use a needle to do so. They can simply use their hands or, even more remarkably, the power of their faculties of aware- ness, to induce the desired energetic shift that needs to occur for healing to take place. Most acupuncturists prefer to use needles, simply because this is the easiest medium to utilize for changing the energetics of the body.
In acupuncture theory, all of the major organs of the body are believed to work interdependently. This means, for example, that the function of your kidneys can have a direct impact on the function of your lungs. This is one example of the holistic nature of Chinese medicine. Western medicine tends to reduce the focus down to one isolated component without regard for how the organism is functioning as a whole. In acupuncture theory, all of our internal organs are part of an inseparable matrix of function; they all have important roles to play that directly influence the health of the other organs in the body.
Therefore, the acupuncturist can insert a needle into the Spleen meridian that will have a direct effect on the Heart meridian. Or, the acupuncturist can sedate or disperse Qi by using a point on the Liver meridian to help the kidneys function better. Other times, the acupuncturist works directly on the meridian that reflects the person's symptoms. For instance, acupuncture points on the Lung meridian can be used for treating asthma. How an acupuncturist chooses which points to needle is based on their training, expertise, and knowledge.
By Brian Musial
What can I expect during treatment with acupuncture?
An Introduction of Acupuncture for Fertility
Go Healthy! Go Yoga!
It is very likely that if a patient with a specific health condition were to see three different acupuncturists, they would receive three unique styles of treatment, all of which could effectively address their presenting health issues.
Many acupuncturists assert that the ritual of needling specific points is primarily a way of making therapeutic suggestions to the body. It is like offering the body some new input to work with so it can disentangle itself from the feedback loop and habit of chronic pain, imbalance, or weakness. Our bodies are miraculous self-healing organisms. When prompted and guided in the right way, the body has the amazing ability to heal itself. This is what all forms of holistic medicine intend to induce: A non-invasive, gentle, yet potent method of intervention that naturally offers to the body what it needs to heal itself.
Inserting a needle into an acupuncture point is a way of communicating with the patient's body. It is like saying to the body, "WAKE UP! " or "relax..." In fact, there are a number of intentions and suggestions that a skilled acupuncturist can utilize when working on a patient. Acupuncture is much more powerful when the intention of the practitioner is transmitted through the needles. In this sense, the needles can absorb this intention and penetrate the barrier of the patients’ skin. This is one of the most fascinating dimensions of this form of treatment. There are numerous occasions where patients directly feel energy shift in their body and seem to awaken to the intention that has been created prior to insertion of the needles.
As with all forms of holistic treatment, Chinese medicine begins with the theory that every human being has an innate resource of wisdom, strength, and health that can be tapped into at any moment. Acupuncture is a way of making contact with this incredible resource. In this sense, it emphasizes the truth that each of us must be held accountable for our health and quality of life. If life circumstances have caused us to feel alienated from this inner wisdom, then we can certainly turn to acupuncture as a way to reconnect with ourselves and awaken to our full potential. But acupuncture is not intended to be a cure-all for our health problems nor is it a magic bullet that will make all of our pain go away. A skilled acupuncturist will engage in a therapeutic relationship with the patient to help educate them about how they can take responsibility for their symptoms or imbalances.
By Brian Musial
The Beauty of Holistic Medicine
How Does Acupuncture Work with Infertility?
Fresh Fruits For a Youthful and Healthy You
This approach is very different from Western medicine in which the patient is typically offered a pill to suppress or alleviate their symptoms. While allopathic care is certainly warranted for acute and life-threatening conditions, it fails at truly offering a deep level of support to the millions of patients with chronic, stress-related issues like anxiety, insomnia, pain, and digestive disorders. By putting the responsibility and power in the hands of the patient through effective education and treatment, Chinese medicine is mainly intent on treating the root cause of our health conditions.
Now, this does not mean that you have to believe in these techniques for them to work. It does mean that you have to believe in yourself to reap the full benefits that these strategies have to offer.
We have already touched on the fact that Chinese medicine is one of the few truly holistic medical traditions in the modern world. What does this mean exactly? Well, a skilled acupuncturist looks at health and illness differently than does a typical Western doctor. A holistic form of care is one that focuses on:
♦ The effects of the mind (beliefs, perceptions, attitudes) on the human body
♦ The role that nature plays in health and disease
♦ The relationship between emotional and physical health
♦ The subtle ways that energy is distributed through the human body
♦ The energetic processes that underlie physical and emotional imbalances
When we normally think of holistic medicine, we think of the connection between body, mind, and spirit. While this is certainly one dimension of any truly holistic paradigm, holism implies a much broader usage as well. For instance, when diagnosing your various health issues, the acupuncturist will look at:
♦ The relationship between your beliefs and predominant emotions
♦ Physical imbalances that may be contributing to emotional hardship
♦ Dietary habits
♦ Exercise habits
♦ The degree to which you are engaged with and loving your work
♦ Social support systems
♦ Spiritual awareness
♦ Intimate relationships
All of these factors are potential inputs into your current level of health. From a holistic perspective, anything that we have attracted into our lives that strengthens the momentum of our current health issues needs to be considered as a potential avenue for therapeutic intervention. In this sense, a skilled acupuncturist often is seen as a health or life coach as much as they are a healer or a doctor.
By Brian Musial
Benefits of Acupuncture for Fertility
Foods That Hydrate The Body