Acupuncture is a time-tested, natural healing treatment that originated in China more than 5,000 years ago. It is an entire system of health and healing predicated on the concept that energy or the vital life force (Qi or chi) flows throughout the body via 12 major energy pathways or meridians.

The philosophy of acupuncture is based on the concept that disease emanates from troublesome — excessive or inadequate — energy flow through a meridian. This problematic energy flow causes disease and/or dysfunction of organs and tissues along that meridian.

What Are Meridians?

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the term meridian refers to a pathway in the body in which a small electrical current or energy flows.

Each pathway courses through specific organs and tissues and is named accordingly; for example, there is a heart meridian and a kidney meridian. A disturbance of the energy flow in one organ along a pathway alters the energy flow to every tissue and organ along that pathway.

Benefits of Acupuncture

Acupuncture is used to treat many conditions and illnesses:

  • Chronic and acute pain
  • Chronic headaches
  • Sinusitis
  • Various ulcers
  • Inflammation
  • Athletic injuries
  • Tinnitus
  • Stroke paralysis
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Allergies
  • Illnesses associated with environmental toxins
  • Women’s health (menstrual problems, menopausal issues, fertility, prenatal and postnatal care)
  • Emotional issues (stress, anxiety, insomnia)
  • Mental disorders (depression, schizophrenia)
  • Addictions (work, sex, smoking, alcohol, drugs, food) have been treated successfully with a type of ear acupuncture called auriculotherapy

What Does Acupuncture Treatment Involve?

During your first visit with our acupuncturist, you will be asked about your overall health, any conditions you have, lifestyle and other topics. Our goal is to put together a holistic picture of your treatment needs. We also try to understand the factors that contributed to your condition. Always inform us about all of your medical conditions, treatments and any medications you are taking.

Pre-treatment diagnosis also includes inspecting the tongue and face and checking the pulse in the radial or wrist area. This determines where the acupuncture needles will be placed.

Thin, flexible acupuncture needles are placed at particular points along a meridian, normalizing the energy flow to the diseased or dysfunctional organs and tissues along that meridian and healing the problem areas. Treatment may take place over a period of several weeks or more.

Most patients don’t feel the placement of the needle at all, while some have varying pain sensations ranging from minimal to moderate. Patients who find this painful are usually toxic and need detoxification prior to a full acupuncture treatment. Those who do find needle placement painful often report that any initial pain quickly subsides.

Other Aspects of Acupuncture Treatment

At Gentle Wellness Centers, we may recommend acupuncture as adjunct therapy to other treatments. Treatment of the immune system and many other therapies (even surgery) can be enhanced when combined with acupuncture.

In combination with acupuncture, your clinician may also prescribe Chinese herbs and diet and lifestyle changes, including increased physical activity.