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What is Acupuncture?

Posted on February 28th, 2013 by | 17 views

Acupuncture, part of Traditional Chinese Medicine, is the use of thin needles to stimulate specific points on the body. These points are located along meridians, or energy pathways, and needling them creates a change in the qi (translated as ‘vital energy') at that point and along the meridians. The purpose of acupuncture is to manipulate the flow of and balance the body’s qi . By balancing qi, an acupuncturist is able to assist the body in its own processes of healing and to promote optimal health, for it is the imbalance of qi that leads to disease.

Even though the art of acupuncture may seem strange to many today, it has been shown to be a safe and effective form of medicine for thousands of years.

Modalities Used Alongside Acupuncture

Acupuncturists have a wide range of tools besides thin needles. Many will also use ‘moxa’ to stimulate the body’s qi energy, especially when it comes to treating fertility and post-partum issues. Moxa is an herb that, when burned, gives off a specific wavelength of heated energy that interacts with the body’s tissues on a very therapeutic level. Acupressure (applying pressure to an acu-point), magnets, and Infra-red lasers can also be used to stimulate specific points. An acupuncturist can incorporate the use of Chinese herbs,massage, cupping, nutrition, and meditation exercises as a part of their practice.

What are Acupuncture’s Strengths?

Research has shown acupuncture to be highly effective in the treatment of infertility and in increasing the success rates of in-vitro fertilization (IFV) treatments. It has also been shown to be beneficial when trying to turn a breech baby, in the treatment of morning sickness, pain in pregnancy and birth, induction of labor, and post-operative (due to C-section or tearing) healing. In fact, the use of acupuncture as a form of anesthesia during childbirth is common practice in other countries, such as Germany.

The use of Acupressure (using pressure on acu-points, without needles) is common in childbirth to help with pain, positioning of the baby, and progression of labor. This modality can be utilized by anyone familiar with the points and their indications, which can be easy to learn.

Finding an Acupuncturist who is Right for You

Some acupuncturists specialize in specific areas of treatment, including Women’s Health, Fertility, and Pediatrics. When looking for an acupuncturist, be sure to ask whether or not they are familiar with your issues, and bring up any concerns you may have. It might help to ask what a typical treatment session is like in their office, so that you know what to expect before going in. To find an acupuncturist in your area, visit our Directory of Acupuncturists.

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