Acupuncture is a process in which small needles are placed in pre-determined points over the body in an effort to balance the flow of "qi". "Qi" or "chi" is the animating energy of the body. Simply put, it is the bioelectric force that courses through the body connecting all things to one another. Blockage of qi can create pain, discomfort and, over time, can contribute to disease formation and changes in the tissues. Imagine that the body is a road map, where the streets are called meridians, the traffic flow is called qi flow, and the stoplights are acupuncture points. If the flow is halted by a traffic jam, placing needles in specific acupuncture points will turn the lights to green, thus allowing the flow to be re-instated. Modern medicine (Neurophysiology) can explain approximately 90% of the workings of acupuncture. Scientists have discovered that this form of treatment stimulates a release of regulators like hormones, endorphins, and cortisol. Furthermore, it stimulates nerve conduction, increases blood circulation, relieves muscle spasms, and influences pain regulation.
The response of each patient to acupuncture is dependent upon a variety of factors:
- The number of disease processes present
- The length of time the uppermost issue has been present
- The level of tissue pathology present
- The individual patient’s innate recuperative power
- The specific medications the patient is taking
- The cooperation of the patient in the treatment process
In other words, each patient will respond to acupuncture at different rates. Initially, each patient is treated once every 1-2 weeks for multiple sessions. The individual responses are assessed and a plan is tailored to each patient. Acupuncture has a cumulative effect, thus repeated treatments result in stronger effects in those patients who are able to respond. This form of treatment is often combined successfully with Chinese herbs and/or chiropractic care to enhance the outcome.