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Acupuncture is an important part of Chinese medicine.

About Acupuncture

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Acupuncture is an important part of Chinese medicine. While it is well known for treating pain, it is also incredibly effective at calming the mind. No matter why someone comes in for acupuncture, they always leave with a feeling of calmness and well-being. Since this effect is immediate, it is a very good accompaniment to herbs when used for emotional issues or chronic issues, since herbs can take longer to become effective. For pain, acupuncture enables me to focus on a specific area, while herbs are more systemic and long-lasting in their effects.

How Does Acupuncture Work?

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The theory behind acupuncture is that there is a flow of vital energy (qi; pronounced “chee”) through the body. This occurs within a closed system of channels, or meridians. There are 12 major meridians, and they correspond to the 12 organ systems: six yin organs and six yang organs. This network of meridians allows the qi, or life force, to reach all the tissues and organs, providing nourishment, warmth, and energy to all parts of the body. The flow of qi travels from channel to channel, passing through all the meridians. 

The theory behind acupuncture is that there is a flow of vital energy through the body.

In this way, qi passes through all the major meridians and their corresponding organs every day. Although the meridians are deep within the body, points along them are accessible from the surface of the skin. It is the manipulation of these points by means of pressure, heat, or needles that is the basis for acupressure, moxibustion, and acupuncture, respectively. The qi that flows through the meridians can be manipulated at the acupuncture points, bringing healing energy to organs that need it and moving energy away from areas that are impaired due to stagnation of qi. Qi works in conjunction with the other vital substances to keep your body healthy.

Acupuncture or Herbs

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For most conditions, a combination of both acupuncture and herbs will be very effective. For example, a person with a facial twitch around the eyes might get immediate relief from an acupuncture treatment directed at that area. By following up with an herb formula that nourishes the liver and calms rising energy, a recurrence of the condition can be prevented. The most effective use of either herbal medicine or acupuncture occurs when there is an accurate diagnosis by a qualified practitioner. As the person goes through the healing process, the nature of their imbalance will change, so the herb formula and/or acupuncture treatment can also change along with them. Some herbs or points will be deleted when they are no longer needed, and others will be added to more closely follow the changing pattern.

Most practitioners in the United States use a combination of acupuncture and herbs. However, in some conditions, such as an acute bacterial infection, an herbal treatment is more likely to be effective. In other conditions, such as drug or smoking withdrawal, acupuncture is more likely to have a positive result. There are many practitioners who use only herbs or only acupuncture, and they all have satisfied clients. The ultimate choice is up to the patient, who may have a fear of needles or a dislike for herbs to contend with. The most important factor is to find a qualified practitioner with whom the patient feels comfortable and who practices the modalities preferred by the patient.

Is Acupuncture Right For You?

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Acupuncture is right for many people and many conditions, sometimes alone but most often in combination with Chinese herbal medicine. I can determine whether acupuncture is right for you during your initial examination. Visit the New Patients page here or the contact page here.