Acupuncture Basics

By Mark W Meade LAc  

I am an Acupuncturist and Practitioner of Natural Medicine and here are some of the common questions I am asked by patients that are new to Acupuncture and are interested in trying it for the first time.

1. What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is the insertion of ultra-fine, single use, sterilized needles into specific points on the body.

2. How does it work?
There is a life force that permeates all of the cells that make up the human body. This life force, or energy field, is called Qi in traditional Asian medicine and it is the basis of our well-being and health. If the bodies Qi is not flowing efficiently or if the Qi is deficient, it will lead to disharmony, pain and disease. The insertion of the needles below the surface of the skin activates the circulation of this energy, and thus facilitates the bodies return to its natural state of well-being.


3. What is a typical session like?
An acupuncture session is usually performed while the patient is lying comfortably on a massage table. It's similar to a typical spa treatment where the lights are dimmed and soft music is played to facilitate a relaxing atmosphere. In most cases, on insertion of the needles, a slight tingling or numbing sensation can be felt, but it's not uncommon for people to feel nothing at all. After the needles are place the practitioner may slightly manipulate the needles to elicit a stronger sensation and enhance the effectiveness of the treatment. After this, the patient is encouraged to allow the body and mind to enter the meditative state, where the healing benefits are optimized.

4. What are the benefits of it?
Acupuncture is most famous for alleviating all types pain. But it has also been proven to both enhance the Immune system and down-regulate the Sympathetic Nervous system. Which means it can be an effective treatment for any condition that is either caused or exacerbated by stress. The list is a long one, and includes many of the most common medical conditions.

5. Are there any insider tips about acupuncture that a beginner should know?
Improvements in well-being will continue for hours and even days after the session is over, and this effect can be compounded with subsequent sessions. So, for this reason, it's recommended to follow up with 5 or more sessions before deciding if Acupuncture is right for you.