What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is one of the treatment choices of Traditional Chinese medicine. It involves the insertion of fine needles into specific points on the body called acupuncture points. It can be used to treat a wide array of symptoms, including painful and chronic conditions. Acupuncture addresses not only a patient’s current symptom but also the underlying root, which prevents the occurrence of future symptoms and promotes better overall health.

What is Traditional Chinese Medicine?

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is an ancient form of medicine that has been in use in China for over 3,000 years. It includes an array of modalities, with the most common choices being acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine. Both medicines are used together to replenish and soothe the flow of chi throughout the body. Chi is a form of energy found in all life and when it is disrupted, illness and pain can occur.

How Does Acupuncture Work?

Acupuncture involves the insertion of fine needles into the circulation of chi underneath the skin’s surface. Specific points are selected based on the diagnosis and the nature of the complaint. With proper point selection and manipulation, acupuncture corrects disruptions in the flow of chi without pain or discomfort.

Does Acupuncture Hurt?

Acupuncture is typically painless. The needles used are no thicker than a human hair and when inserted correctly, the needles are rarely felt. There may be warming, tingling, or heavy sensation at the insertion site but patients often describe these feelings are pleasant. Most people find acupuncture to be incredibly relaxing and even fall asleep during a treatment.

How Many Treatments are Required?

The length of a treatment plan varies depending on the nature, duration, and severity of the complaint. Some acute conditions require only one treatment. Chronic issues often require 5-10 treatments, while some serious health conditions necessitate many treatments over time. To help reduce the number of treatments, practitioners may suggest some dietary modifications, relaxation techniques, exercises, and/or Chinese herbal remedies in order to strengthen the effects of an acupuncture treatment.

Why take Chinese Herbs?

Chinese herbs are used to supplement the effects of an acupuncture treatment. Taken regularly over a period of time, Chinese herbal formulas strengthen the body’s ability to correct its own imbalances so regular treatments will be no longer necessary. Herbs are selected based on each patient’s constitution and complaint history, and often formulas are created to match each patient.

What can TCM Treat?

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a complete system of medicine capable of treating a full spectrum of complaints. Almost any painful issue can be addressed, as well as many internal medicine conditions. Some of the common complaints seen by a TCM practitioner are: migraines, back pain, knee pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, arthritis, flu, insomnia, depression, asthma, infertility, menopausal symptoms, allergies, smoking cessation, and weight loss.

How is TCM Different from Bio-Medical Medicine?

The TCM approach to medical treatment considers the entire body before focusing on one aspect of it. For example, the practitioner must know about the patient’s diet and sleep (among other things) before treating a headache. By taking the whole person into account, the true problem can be addressed, not just the symptom.

Since it is rooted in the logic and philosophy of a foreign country, TCM uses terms, such as “dampness” or “heat”, to diagnose a disorder. Although the language may be unusual, it is merely the jargon of the traditional science, comparable to bio-medical terms such as “virus” or “bacteria”.

Here at the Center for Complementary Medicine, Wensi Xu practices Traditional Chinese Medicine, using primarily acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine.