Acupuncture is an ancient healing science used by the Chinese for over 2000 years. It is based on the theory that qi or vital energy flows through a network of channels throughout the body/mind. Acupuncture regulates this flow of vital energy by directing it to areas of deficiency and draining it from areas of excess. In this way it regulates and restores the energetic balance so that the body can heal itself.
From a physiological point of view acupuncture stimulates the body's relaxation response, releases endorphins (our natural feel good chemicals), and can lower blood pressure.
Practitioners of acupuncture often use other healing modalities to reinforce their treatment. These may include: the use of moxabustion (heat therapy), massage, and herbs, as well as advising the patient of diet, exercise and possible lifestyle changes.
The number of acupuncture treatments depends on the duration, severity and nature of each complaint as well as the individual's constitution, their biological age, and their rate of recovery. An acute condition may only require one to five treatments while a chronic condition may require a few months of treatments.
Some of the possible side effects of an acupuncture treatment are: a feeling of calm and balance, a deep and restful sleep, more energy, and the ability to handle stress more effectively.
People generally find acupuncture to be a very relaxing experience and often fall asleep on the table.
Acupressure massage is the stimulation of acupuncture points by applying pressure with the thumbs or fingers along the energetic pathways. It strengthens the acupuncture treatments and alleviates stress.
Moxibustion is the use of heat on acupuncture points. This is accomplished by holding a moxa stick (the compressed dried leaves of Chinese mugwort) an inch or so away from the acupuncture point. This has an invigorating effect on the body and is particularly effective with cold symptoms. For example, it is used to alleviate muscle soreness or warm a cold low abdomen in cases of infertility or digestive issues.
Chinese Nutrition is a way of balancing the body/mind by choosing foods that augment the acupuncture sessions. For example, if you have a condition defined as "cold", you feel cold, and being in cold weather makes your condition worse, eating warm, cooked foods or foods that are energetically warm, like ginger and garlic will help bring you back into balance.