What You Need to Know About Acupuncture

What You Need to Know About Acupuncture

Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese method of inserting and manipulating ultra-fine needles into specific parts of the body to alleviate pain, swelling and muscle atrophy.

It is believed that the body has a certain flow and that inserting needles at strategic locations for example the face, neck, and back can result in improved skin firmness (decrease of the dreaded ‘double chin’ due to lost of muscle tone in the skin located under the chin and the neck area).

It has also been used in the treatment of excess fluids in the body, with great success. It is not clear why acupuncture treatment is effective in the treatment of symptoms related to certain ailments and not others. Even in this day and age, acupuncture is considered a controversial form of treatment. Much like the way traditional medicine views chiropractic treatments.

The promotion of good circulation is another aspect of acupuncture. The twelve channels of treatment used in acupuncture correspond to the following body systems:

  • Lung
  • Large Intestine
  • Spleen
  • Heart
  • Small Intestine
  • Bladder
  • Kidney
  • Pericardium
  • Gallbladder
  • Liver

For treatment of localized pain, Ashi points also known as tender points are utilized. When most of us think about being stuck with needles in multiple locations on the body we may flinch in sympathetic pain. But in actuality due to extreme fineness in the quality of the needles, it’s nothing like the needles used to draw blood or give immunizations. Which is fortunate, when you stop and think about it.

There are twelve primary pathways. The three yin channels of the hand (lung, pericardium and heart) beginning on the hand and traveling along the anterior of the arm to the hand. The three yang channels of the hand (large intestine, small intestine) begin on the hand and travel along the posterior of the hand along the arm and up to the head.

The three yin channels of the foot (spleen, liver and kidney) begin on the foot and travel along the medial and posterior portion of the leg to the flank or chest. The three yang channels of the foot (stomach, gallbladder, urinary bladder) begin in the face near the eye and travel down the entire body down the leg to the foot.

The pathways of those twelve channels complete three circuits of the body: chest to hands, hands to head/head to feet, and then feet to chest. The acupuncturist before beginning treatment makes observations of the tongue including size, shape, color and coating. They will listen to the chest for wheezing. Then they complete things with inquiries about chills, fever, menstruation (where applicable), defecation, urination, sleep and pain. They also are trained to notice body odor. All these factors are taken into consideration as to the best form of acupuncture treatment.

Feeling along the body by palpation, they can check for tenderness or swelling using two types of pressure – superficial and deep. Acupuncture treatment is highly individualized.


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