By Dr. Bonnie Wick
The intent of acupuncture therapy is to promote health, and alleviate pain. This form of medicine has been used successfully in China for over 2,500 years and is now finally gaining popularity in the U.S. Acupuncture is based on the concept of energetic balance. Energy is thought to run smoothly through channels or meridians in a healthy individual. When there is an energetic imbalance, illness often ensues. Treatments are based on assessing the flow and distribution of this vital energy within its pathways, and influencing health and sickness by stimulating certain areas along these meridians. Traditionally these areas, or “acupoints”, are stimulated by fine, slender needles.
Acupuncture is effective for treating many different conditions. Here are a few examples:
- Acute and chronic pain – muscle and joint pain
- Migraine and sinus headaches
- Insomnia, irritability, anxiety and depression
- Weight and appetite control
Acupuncture needles are solid and extremely thin (about the width of a human hair). They are sterile and used only once and then discarded, so there is no risk of infection from this treatment. When the acupuncture needle contacts the energy channel at specific points on the body the sensation is felt as a mild to moderate dull aching sensation or a tingling sensation. This initial discomfort usually passes very quickly. After the needles are inserted, the patient simply relaxes for twenty to thirty minutes.
Many Naturopathic Physicians are trained in acupuncture and commonly use this form of medicine in conjunction with other therap ies to bring a person to wellness. Often patients feel great after the first treatment, but it usually takes 5 treatments to see the maximum benefit.