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Acupuncture is a therapeutic technique whereby needles are inserted at specific target points in the body. Accumulating evidence from clinical trials conducted in the past decade demonstrate the effectiveness of acupuncture for various conditions including low back pain, migraine, tension type headache, temporomandibular disorders, and fibromyalgia. Often the same points are pressed (acupressure) or warmed (moxibustion). Derived from Chinese-Asian healing culture, acupuncture is asserted to provoke recipient’s local and central responses to restore the flow of vitality.
Acupuncture may produce its effects through dynamic alterations in the tissue and extracellular milieu: generates micro injuries, characterized by cytoskeletal remodeling of subcutaneous connective tissue fibroblasts and deformation of extracellular matrix proteins; induces the synthesis and release of cytokines, chemokines, and growth factors from skin, muscle, and endothelial cells promoting healing and resolve inflammation; induces the local release of endogenous opioids (β-endorphin) and cannabinoids; and regulates the metabolism of stress hormones like catecholamines.
According to traditional beliefs, disease and chronic pain results from an insufficiency or blockage of vitality (similar to Qi or life force) and stimulation of acupuncture points along meridians (routes through which Qi travels) alleviates pain by restoring the flow of vitality. Clinicians assert that patients with higher vitality respond to acupuncture better.
Acupuncture is performed after a patient is positioned comfortably, either sitting, lying down. Often heat is applied to optimize vitality flow including the flow of blood, lymph, and interstitial fluid. Acupuncturists identify target areas to needle, and insert fine needles either vertically or obliquely to an appropriate depth. Depending on types of needles used, the degree of rigidity and the adjacency of the needled target tissues, patients would feel a range of sensations including sharp, dull, heavy, and radiating. While needles are often retained for about 5-20 minutes, lancet acupuncture will be withdrawn immediately since it aims at bleeding retained deoxygenated blood in the varicose and spider veins.
As a patient you may anticipate to learn about your condition of concerns from the view of acupuncture and Asian medicine. In particular, what might have caused it, how it evolved; how to resolve it, and what might be the roles of you and the acupuncturist. The goal of the initial treatment is to establish hope that the condition of your concern can get better by, for example, experiencing less pain.
The number of sessions required to experience noticeable outcomes depends on several factors including the chronicity of the condition, vitality reservoir of the patient, and patient’s proactive participation in building vitality. In general, deep breathing, eating nutrient and digestive food, fluent movement,and good rest are important elements to build the vitality reservoir. From acupuncture and Asian medicine services, more than half of patients have reported noticeable outcomes after the first treatment.
No, you may continue any current medicine, and consult your physician to readjust the dosage as you experience pain reduction from acupuncture and Asian medicine at Meridius Clinic for Integrative Health.