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
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