Originating in China thousands of years ago, acupuncture is one of the oldest medical treatments and forms of healing in existence. Its philosophy is rooted in the traditional teachings of Taoism, and finding balance between yin and yang.
Acupuncture involves placing hair-thin needles in various pressure points throughout the body. Stimulating these points is believed to promote the body’s natural healing capabilities.
According to Chinese philosophy, the body contains two opposing forces: yin and yang. When these forces are in balance, the body is healthy. Energy, called “qi” (“chee”), flows throughout the body along pathways, or meridians . between the surface of the body and its internal organs. This flow of energy keeps the yin and yang balanced. However, it is when the flow of energy becomes blocked that people become ill.
There are as many as 2,000 different acupuncture points along the body’s meridians. The idea behind acupuncture is that stimulating these points with acupuncture needles relieves obstructions in the flow of energy, enabling the body to heal.
Acupuncture, like any type of treatment, begins with a consultation. The acupuncturist/ND/MD will ask about your medical history and any conditions you’re currently experiencing.
When the acupuncturist is ready to begin your treatment, he or she will swab the chosen points on your body with alcohol or another disinfectant to cleanse the area, and will then insert the amount of needles required.
Unlike hypodermic needles, acupuncture needles are hair-thin, made of solid stainless steel and they are not designed to cut the skin. They are also inserted to much more shallow levels than hypodermic needles, generally no more than a half-inch to an inch depending on the type of treatment being delivered.
While each person experiences acupuncture differently, most people feel only a minimal amount of pain as the needles are inserted. Some people reportedly feel a sensation of excitement, while others feel relaxed.