For most people, the word acupuncture conjures up an image of a person lying on a table whose face and body are filled with hundreds of tiny needles. The fact is, acupuncture is not so much about the needles as it is about the body’s energy system (known as chi or qi) being balanced. The image of acupuncturists sticking needles into points in a person’s body is a classic example of what almost everyone thinks of when they think of acupuncture.
A medical practice thousands of years old, acupuncture is a Chinese original. In several places of China, there are indeed hundreds of different ways and theories about how this treatment is done. Over the course of time, these traditions is being translated and practiced in the West.
Of course, acupuncture is mostly about needles. These tools are not the same as the syringes people are familiar with from hospitals or doctor’s clinics that are large and really generate fear. An acupuncture needles is about the size of or smaller than a pin used by a dressmaker.
Qi or vital energy circulates throughout the body. This flow is contained in energy vessels known as meridians that like capillaries veins and arteries, radiate throughout the body. On each meridian are acupuncture points where a qualified acupuncturist can manipulate the flow of qi. These are the points the needles are inserted.
The points that the acupuncturist selects are meant to restore to qi flow which then leads to the treatment of the symptoms and the illness. The patient needs to undergo a series of treatments in order for the results to last a long time. The body becomes used to certain imbalances and even if the patient may get well after a treatment, it is natural for his/her body to go back to its familiar state of health. This is one possible explanation why acute conditions, such as an injury, generally respond much faster to acupuncture treatments than longstanding or chronic ailments.
After the insertion of the needles into the acupoints, the patient is usually told to lie down on the table for around 20 to 30 minutes as the needles take effect. In certain instances, the session might take longer. There is rarely a complaint of discomfort during the entire procedure. In fact, most of the time, the patient feels so relaxed that he/she dozes off during the rest of the procedure. At the end of the session, the acupuncturist removes the needles and may sometimes massage the area where the ailment is felt. The practitioner may give advices and recommendations on lifestyle and diet changes and tell the patient when to return for another round of treatment, if required.
There are a few side effects associated with acupuncture treatment and these are usually limited to bruising in the site of insertion. Patients react differently to acupuncture; there are some who will end up feeling energized, some may feel so relaxed that they fall asleep, and others may feel tired after a treatment. But the universal feeling all patients get out of acupuncture is a sense of well being. More often than not and depending on how the patient responds to the treatment acupuncture isn’t a one-time treatment and the patient should make a commitment of persevering in their treatments. That’s easy to do because the treatment is a gentle, effective, and safe way of healing.
DeJongh Acupuncture Clinic
2929 SW 3rd Ave #610
Miami, FL 33129