By: Suzanne Swearengen, DOM, AP
Here in the United States, Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine is commonly viewed as a last resort when Allopathic medicine has failed. This is when patients learn that Acupuncture truly works and what it is like to feel healthy. Once their current health issues are resolved, patients take advantage of what they have discovered and focus on staying well.
Prevention is a vital component to good health. Lifestyle and diet are two key factors for longevity; coupled with Acupuncture, one can efficiently fend off illness to keep the body performing at its best. Various questions arise with this topic, such as "How does Acupuncture work?". Many wonder how stimulating areas on the body with whisker-like needles can restore and maintain well-being.
Think of the body as an intricate system of roadways; there are major thoroughfares (blood vessels, nerves), and smaller side streets (capillaries, connective tissue). When blood, energy, body fluids and nerve pathways are allowed to flow uninhibited along these roadways, the body stays healthy. However, factors such as physical trauma, poor diet, and emotional upset present roadblocks and traffic jams. These create imbalances resulting in some areas not receiving necessary signals or nutrients and others getting overwhelmed. Picture a faulty traffic light – one side of the intersection is congested with cars and the other side is empty. Chaos ensues when people can't get to their destination. Once the light is fixed, proper flow resumes. The needle is the tool that fixes the broken light. When placed in strategic points along channels that follow the roadways of the body, it restores the balance. There are skeptics who believe that there must be a placebo effect involved. The high success rate with treating animals disproves this way of thinking. In fact, animals typically respond faster than humans.
Another common question is "Does it hurt?". A 1200lb horse would be the first to protest if it did. Acupuncture is not painful when proper technique is used. There is a range of sensations one might experience, such as, tingling, heaviness, or pulsing. All are considered positive and subside within a few seconds. In some cases, there is no particular awareness of the acupuncture needle insertion. Treatments are meant to be relaxing and many people fall asleep on the table.
It is best to have additional questions answered by a licensed, board certified Acupuncture Physician. These professionals have spent many years studying this medicine and are happy to assist in educating the public. One can also obtain viable information on Acupuncture from the National Institute of Health, the World Health Organization, and the National Commission for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. These organizations offer data, which support the belief that Acupuncture is an effective and painless way to restore and maintain good health.