What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a holistic healing modality that uses thin, flexible needles to access and regulate the nervous system. This practice started in China and has been around for 2000-3000 years; it continues to gain more and more recognition in western cultures as a proven way to support the body’s own amazing ability to heal itself.
Acupuncture theory, as it is described in traditional eastern cultures, identifies “Qi” (pronounced “Chee”) as the vital energy that animates all living things. Qi is responsible for the function of our organs and muscles as well as our emotional and mental states. When Qi is blocked or stuck, it creates pain, anxiety, depression and other dysfunctional patterns in our bodies. Think of a river that gets blocked by a rock or a dam and the churning or stagnation that happens in the area that is obstructed—this is how Qi flows in the body according to the traditional definition.
Stress, overexertion, physical injury, and other types of trauma are what lead to blockages of Qi, or as western cultures are more familiar with, dysfunction of the nervous system, hormonal imbalance, and pain in our physical, mental and emotional bodies.
How Are Acupuncture Needles Used?
The sterile, single-use stainless steel needles are inserted at particular points on the body that are located along energy pathways called meridians or channels. These points correspond to particular parts of the body and nervous system, and the insertion of the needles sends signals to the spinal cord and brain that provide guidance for the nervous system to make adjustments and stimulate healing in affected areas.
Though the insertion of the needles is generally painless, there can be other sensations associated with the needles, and Melanie will go over these with you during your treatment.
Acupuncture is a cumulative practice, and though many patients notice an improvement early on in their treatment plan, it can take several treatments to reach maximum effectiveness. Think of it like an exercise program—you wouldn’t expect to get in shape after your first session of exercise. Your body needs time to develop a new habit of functionality, so multiple treatments are necessary in the majority of cases.