Acupuncture is an Asian healing practice that dates to the first century in China. The underlying concept is that energy flow in the body can become impeded or distorted leading to less than optimal functioning in a person. An acupuncturist will place very thin needles in the body to stimulate specific points to change how the energy is flowing and restore optimal flow. The decision to where to place the needles is determined by the acupuncturist after examining the client and looking for specific signs of the overall functioning of the person. Often the use of acupuncture is accompanied by other traditional Chinese medicine techniques such as cupping (where a slight vacuum is created over an area to draw more blood into it), moxibustion (burning of an herb over a point), specific massage techniques and herbal supplements for the client to consume.
Acupuncture is used for a variety of acute problems such as pain, injuries, or fevers, and for long term improvement of a person’s constitution in order to treat and prevent chronic problems. In the West research has primarily focused on using acupuncture for treating pain and nausea where it has been shown to be of benefit with these problems but it has also been used for treatment of insomnia, allergies and digestive issues as well as other chronic problems.
Over the centuries various areas of Asia such as Japan, Vietnam and Tibet have developed different styles and philosophies of acupuncture and herb use. In fact, the way acupuncture is practiced today in China is not the same as described in the ancient texts.
Many people get nervous at the idea of having needles placed in them because they think of getting a shot but acupuncture needle are not hypodermic needles – they don’t need to be so big as to have a hole in them to squirt medicine through. Consequently, acupuncture needles are thin as a cat’s whisker and very light and most people they feel very little when the needle is inserted and even less when it is removed. New, sterile needles are always used every time.
At Great Plains our acupuncturist Monica Barnard, LAc. is familiar with several styles of acupuncture and the other traditional methods that are used in conjunction with them and is able to adapt to the style that best suits your needs.