From a Western understanding, Acupuncture involves inserting fine needles at certain points on the body’s surface in order to stimulate the nervous system to release the body’s own natural chemicals in the muscles, spinal cord, and brain. These chemicals may either change the experience of pain, or may trigger the release of other chemicals that can influence the body’s own internal regulating system and may stimulate the body’s natural healing abilities. From an Eastern point of view, symptoms and illnesses are due to blocked energy (called Qi) along channels (called meridians) that run through the body. Acupuncture is believed to unblock these areas.
Medical Acupuncture is done by a physician. Physicians have knowledge of physiological functions of the body in both health and in illness. Acupuncture can be used as a support or adjunct to other medical treatments, or can be used alone depending on the patient’s problem. It is often used for various acute and chronic pain problems (including arthritis pain, tendonitis, joint pains, chronic pelvic or musculoskeletal pain), maintenance of good health, treatment of chronic fatigue, functional bowel disorders, headaches, myofascial related problems, neuropathies (such as Bell’s Palsy, Trigeminal Neuralgia), carpal tunnel syndrome, respiratory problems (including sinus and allergy conditions), chronic gastrointestinal problems (such as chronic pain or Irritable Bowel Syndrome), urinary problems such as incontinence and interstitial cystitis), smoking cessation, and many other conditions. Acupuncture can stimulate the body’s neuromodulatory and regulatory abilities to bring the body back toward homeostasis. Physical problems related to stress and tension can also be approached with acupuncture.
If you would like more information on Medical Acupuncture, you may wish to visit the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture site at www.medicalacupuncture.org.