Acupuncture is the relatively painless insertion of sterilized filiform needles into the body at specific places with the intent to reestablish the body’s homeostasis through the concepts and theories of Chinese medicine.
Acupuncture has been safely used for thousands of years to treat a variety of complaints and disorders. Points are selected based on a thorough diagnostic process that is tailored for the individual patient, ensuring customized and personal treatment.
Acupuncture points are arranged in a system of “meridians” or “channels” that cover the entire body, running both just under the surface of the skin as well as going deeper to connect with the various organ of the body. Traditional Chinese medicine recognizes 12 organ merdians ( Lung, Large Intestine, Spleen, Stomach, Urinary Bladder, Kidney, Heart, Small Intestine, Gall Bladder, & San Jiao), 2 Special Meridians (Conception and Governing), and 6 Extraordinary Meridians ( Yin Wei, Yang Wei, Yin Qiao, Yang Qiao, Chong, & Dai Merdians) for a total of 20. Each of these meridians will have a primary channel which is where the acupuncture points are found, an internal pathway that connects the channel with its associated organ, and a divergent pathway that will often connect the main channel with a different paired channel.
Each primary channel will have a series of points located mainly on the hands and feet called the antiquity points that represent some of the strongest and most frequently used points. There are seven categories of these that each have a different general function because of their category as well as point specific functions that will differ because of their channel and organ associations.
In addition to the antiquity point functions, each acupuncture point will have several functions that are associated with the organ system it is involved with, the anatomical area of the point, or special point functions that have been established based on empirical usage over time.
In addition to the functions of a single acupuncture point, points are often combined in groups of 2 or 3 that will serve a specific function by combing the effects and properties of the individual points to produce a specific effect.
An acupuncture treatment will often consist of a mixture of point combinations, single points selected for a special function, as well as local points selected to guide the treatment to the affected area of the body.
Acupuncture points are selected by the practitioner based on both the person’s differential diagnosis, their unique body situation that is both the manifestation and the cause of a problem, and the established point combinations that are known to be effective for the persons complaint. The result is often a treatment that is unique to that individual for that time, points will often change from treatment to treatment as the person’s body and symptoms change.
Acupuncture needles may often be combined with electrical stimulation or e-stim to increase the effectiveness of a treatment, particularly in cases of pain management. A low volt current will be run through two or more needles to increase stimulation at a specific acupuncture point. The electrical stimulation treatment should never be painful.