Alternative Treatment for Better Health
Acupuncture is among the oldest healing practices in the world, and is part of Traditional Chinese Medicine. This ancient system is based on the concept that disease results from disruption in the flow of qi, or "chi," and imbalance in the forces of yin and yang. Traditional Chinese Medicine uses practices such as herbs, meditation, massage, and acupuncture seek to aid healing by restoring the yin-yang balance and the flow of chi.
Acupuncture is the stimulation of specific points on the body by a variety of techniques, including the insertion of thin metal needles though the skin. Acupuncture needles are intended to remove blockages in the flow of chi and restore and maintain health. The needles are solid, and contain no chemicals, as in western medicine. These disposable needles serve only as an antennae to allow transfer of energy through a point in the body.
In the United States, where wellness practitioners incorporate healing traditions from China, Japan, Korea, and other countries, acupuncture is considered part of complementary and alternative medicine. Complementary medicine is used together with conventional medicine, and alternative medicine is used in place of conventional medicine.
Acupuncture Key Points
- Acupuncture has been practiced in China and other Asian countries for thousands of years.
- Acupuncture became better known in the United States in 1971, when New York Times reporter James Reston wrote about how doctors in China used needles to ease his pain after surgery. American practices of acupuncture incorporate medical traditions from China, Japan, Korea, and other countries.
- American scientists are studying the effectiveness of acupuncture for a wide range of pains or symptoms, ignoring the vastness of acupuncture because it doesn't fit in their paradigm.
- Tell your health care providers about any complementary and alternative practices you use. Give them a full picture of what you do to manage your health. This will help ensure coordinated and safe care.
How Does Acupuncture Work?
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, maintaining the body in a "balanced" state will result in health and wellness. A balanced state is when the Yin, the cold, slow, or passive principle, and the yang, the hot, excited, or active principle, are at the same levels. Disease, then, is due to an internal imbalance of yin and yang. This imbalance leads to blockage in the flow of chi, and vice versa.
In western health care, the slow and fast principles are diagnosed and labeled with a name, and then chemicals are usually prescribed to help return the clinical values to within normal limits. Relying on chemicals to restore the body's natural balanced state has little regard for the actual cause, or reason why, the body strayed from its natural course. Chi, in traditional Chinese medicine, is the vital energy or life force proposed to regulate a person's spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical health, and is influenced by the opposing forces of yin and yang. This vital energy, or chi, flows along pathways known as meridians. Chi can be unblocked, by using acupuncture at certain points on the body that connect with these meridians.
Sources vary on the number of meridians, with numbers ranging from 12 to 20. One commonly cited source describes meridians as 14 main channels "connecting the body in a web-like interconnecting matrix" of at least 2,000 acupuncture points.
What to Expect From Acupuncture Treatment
- During your first office visit, your doctor will ask you at length about your health condition, lifestyle, and behavior.
- Your doctor will also ask if your goal is overall health and well-being, or pain management, so that your goals, and his, are aligned.
- Your doctor will try to obtain a complete picture of your treatment needs and behaviors that may contribute to your condition.
- Please inform the doctor about all treatments or medications you are taking and all medical conditions you have.
Acupuncture needles are metallic, solid, and hair-thin. People
experience acupuncture differently, but most feel no or minimal pain as
the needles are inserted. Some people feel energized by treatment,
while others feel relaxed. Movement of the patient can cause soreness
and pain during treatment. It is important to seek treatment from a
qualified acupuncture practitioner. Treatment may take place over a
period of several weeks or more.
Duration of Acupuncture Treatment
- Acupuncture treatment is usually begun at a frequency of two visits per week.
- At the beginning of each visit, electro meridian imaging will be utilized to assess the overall, and specific, balance of your meridian system. This test is relatively quick, and completely painless.
- Needles will be inserted to re-create balance, as well as pain control, of areas of complaint.
- Balancing can result as early as after two visits, or may take multiple visits to accomplish, depending on many factors that will be explained to you.
- Once balance is achieved, the recommended schedule for re-balancing is once every change of seasons, or four times a year in the US, or five times a year in China (they have five seasons).
How Does Acupuncture and Meridian Therapy Work?
For thousands of years Oriental medicine has acknowledged that there is a vital life force that flows through all things which is called "qi" (pronounced "chee").
In Western culture, it is often referred to as "energy." Energy (qi) flows along pathways in the human body which are related to the organs, the muscular system, and nervous system. When the balance of this energy is disturbed due to trauma, poor diet, medications, stress, hereditary conditions, environmental factors, or excessive emotional issues, then pain or illness results.
Acupuncture and Meridian Therapy focus on correcting these imbalances, which stimulates the body's natural ability to heal itself. In other words, Oriental medicine focuses on treating the factors that cause disease.
At Greenapple Health & Wellness, Acupuncture in used in two main ways:
- Orthopedic Acupuncture as an adjunct to chiropractic treatment.
- Energetic Acupuncture to treat systemic conditions with an underlying energetic imbalance.
Orthopedic Acupuncture involves using needles or other
stimulation to treat trigger points, ligament sprains, tendon strains,
and other physical conditions. Typically we treat local musculoskeletal ailments by adding
acupuncture points distant to the site of injury to give an energetic
assist to the treatment. I have seen remarkable results using just a few needles at the right time, in the right place.
Energetic Acupuncture involves analyzing the energetic pattern of the entire body, looking for imbalances, and then using needles or any other technique to restore the balance of energy, primarily in the main meridians, or energy channels as defined in the classic Chinese texts.
Treatments received will not only be made up of acupuncture
(Traditional acupuncture, "Motor Point" acupuncture and "Trigger Point"
acupuncture) and body work such as Tui Na & stretching, they will also
include a full postural assessment, using orthopedic physical evaluations and
manual muscle testing in order to assess the integrity of the
musculoskeletal system and determine any muscular imbalances or postural
distortions that may be the underlying cause of one's discomfort or decline in
athletic performance. These assessments will also help to determine the
strength or weakness of a particular muscle or muscle group which can give
insight into what type and/or level of injury or condition we are dealing
with. In addition to the above assessments performed, stretching
recommendations and strength and rehabilitation exercises will be shown and
given to the patient to do at home. This Western assessment & approach
combined with the knowledge of Chinese Medical Diagnosis & acupuncture will
provide the patient with an extensive and well balanced overall assessment and
Dr. Scott Greenappple has been practicing acupuncture and energy medicine for several years. He uses traditional needle acupuncture, electro micro-current acupuncture, and laser acupuncture. He received his training through and is a Fellow of the International Academy of Medical Acupuncture.