Balance is achieved using fine (about the thickness of a hair strand), sterile, disposable acupuncture needles gently inserted into the body to help redirect or increase the flow of the life energy Qi (pronounced “chee”) in the body. Many conditions are treated using acupuncture, including: insomnia, infertility, allergies, anxiety, depression, fatigue, paralysis, skin problems, migraines, pain and others.
Within the body there are 12 major meridians or channels that the qi flows through. The 12 meridians correspond to and flow through the 12 organs. The symmetrical meridians may start on the hands or feet toward the center of the body or head or vise versa starting at the center of the body or head and flowing through to the hands or feet. Qi flows from one meridian to the next in a continuum. On each meridian there are points in which the qi collects, some deeper than others depending on location in the body. There are 361 points on the classical meridians alone and hundreds of additional points throughout the body, head and ears.
After a diagnosis is established a Chinese medicine practitioner will devise a treatment principle. A point prescription is made for points to be needled that correspond to the principles of treatment. Points selected may include points on the front of the body and extremities for a face up treatment or points on the back of the body and extremities for a face down treatment.
Once the acupuncture needles are gently inserted to their proper depth and angle, the practitioner will feel a qi sensation that indicates the activation of qi flow in that point. The practitioner may stimulate the needles depending on whether the points are to be sedated (for an excess condition) or strengthened (for a deficient condition).
The patient may also have sensation at one or more of the points that may be described as a heavy sensation, a dull ache, warmth, or a gentle traveling of energy around or away from the acupuncture point. These are all good indicators that change is occurring and the needles are doing their work. There is occasionally a momentary mild discomfort on the skin surface with insertion of these very thin needles, but once inserted the needles should not be painful or feel uncomfortable. Many people are surprised how relaxing and comfortable they feel with the needles in!
Use of an electro-stimulation machine may also be included in a treatment. This painless technique involves attaching a mild current of electricity to selected needles in order to move qi for stronger stimulation or for a more calming effect.