Acupuncture is one of the five branches of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). It is among the oldest, most commonly used systems of healing in the world. Originating in China over 2,500 years ago, only in the last few decades has acupuncture become popular in the United States.
TCM holds that there are as many as 2,000 acupuncture points on the human body, which are connected by 20 pathways (12 primary, 8 secondary) called meridians. These meridians run alongside blood vessels and nerve pathways, connecting to organs and the lymph system. Simply put, we view these pathways as a highway that allow energy (qi) to move through the body. When people experience a traffic jam (injury of some kind) on these highways, disease can occur due to the blockage and build-up. The way we help the body heal itself through acupuncture is to access these highways through specific points along the meridians. These points can have many different possible indications, but when you pair them with other acupuncture points in the body, it sends a message, like a prescription, to the body so it can interpret the message and start to heal itself.
Does it hurt?
Each person experiences acupuncture differently, most people feel minimal sensation (if any) as the needles are inserted. Unlike hypodermic needles, acupuncture needles are solid and hair-like, and they are not designed to cut the skin. Depending on the gauge, it is estimated that you could fit around 30 acupuncture needles in one hypodermic needle.
Often patients fall asleep during the treatment and feel deep relaxation while they rest.
Is it safe?
When practiced by a licensed and trained acupuncturist, it is extremely safe. As a system of health care, acupuncture already has some inherent safeguards. During the treatment we use isopropyl alcohol to clean the skin and sterile, single use needles that are disposed of and destroyed after each use.