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What is Acupuncture?

Getting poked with needles might not sound like the most practical way to feel better. But that’s exactly how acupuncture works. In fact, the traditional Chinese practice has been used for centuries to treat all sorts of health conditions — and it’s still very common.

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a tool used in Traditional Chinese Medicine, and it’s been around for about 2,500 years. It’s used to help heal illness, improve well-being and prevent dis-ease. This is done by placing needles into specific points on the body to help activate an energy in the body, called qi (pronounced chee). According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, qi is the lifeforce energy in the body — it is a vital substance used in every physiological process of the body, and is just as important as the air we breathe.

Stress, environmental factors, physical injuries, lifestyle behaviors, and genetics are some of the things that can block qi in the body. Acupuncturists use needles to unblock or move qi to other areas in the body to help you heal.

What is Acupuncture used to treat?

In China, acupuncture is used to treat everything. It’s not thought of as an alternative medicine. For most people there, it’s just a common part of their medical care and is even offered in hospitals. In the West, Acupuncture is utilized to treat a variety of ailments, including but not limited to pain, G.I issues, fertility (for men and women), menstrual irregularities, hormone balancing, autoimmune disorders, cosmetic concerns, anti-aging, low immunity, allergies/food sensitivities, anxiety, insomnia, fatigue, low libido, brittle dry hair/thinning hair, and more.

What can you expect during your Acupuncture treatment?

The acupuncturist will ask about your medical history and symptoms. They’ll also do an exam — similar to what you’d experience in a doctor's visit. In addition, they may look at your tongue. This is a way for them to find any imbalances in your body. The tongue is an internal organ that can be seen on the outside of the body – so examining the tongue can give the Acupuncturist insight into internal imbalances. Think about it – if the tongue is very pale, perhaps a deficiency, if the tongue is bright red likely inflammation, and if there is a thick tongue coating the Acupuncturists know to inquire about digestion, and so on.

After the initial consultation, your Acupuncturist will inform you which articles of clothing to remove. After the Acupuncturists leaves the room you will undress, lie face down on the heated table covered by a sheet and blanket. The Acupuncturists will begin the treatment using Acutonics Tuning Forks, Tuia Na massage or fire cupping to relax your body and ground you, which will prepare you for the treatment. Then the Acupuncture point locations will be cleaned with alcohol and needled using single-use stainless steel Acupuncture needles. The needles will be retained for 15-20 minutes. During this time, you will be given a call-button, the lights will be dimmed, and gentle music will play while you rest and fall into a deep relaxation. Once the needle retention duration is reached, the Acupuncturist will come back in the room, remove the needles and leave the room again. You will have privacy to dress and the Acupuncturist will speak to you about your treatment plan once you are ready.

Does Acupuncture Hurt?

When most people think of needles, they think of ones that are used for vaccines or drawing blood. These hollow needles have to puncture the skin — and can be painful. But these hollow needles aren’t used for Acupuncture. Acupuncture needles are solid, stainless steel needles that are usually not much larger than a strand of hair, making them less painful.

Acupuncture is working with the nervous system, so the sensation is good! But that sensation does not have to be pain. Acupuncturists call sensation De Qi (pronounced duh chee), which is “the arrival of qi”. The sensations of De Qi can be heavy, achy, hot, cold, itchy, or throbbing. And these sensations are all good! It means the brain knows the Acupuncture point is being stimulated. After a few deep breaths, the sensation will begin to diminish, and usually by the end of the treatment, you will have fallen asleep. However, if you are feeling uncomfortable with a point or the sensation does not diminish, you can always tell your Acupuncturists or hit the call-button and the Acupuncturists can move or remove the needle until you are more comfortable.

How does Acupuncture work?

According to TCM theory, disruptions, or imbalances in the flow of Qi can lead to pain, illness, and other health problems. Acupuncture aims to restore the balance and flow of Qi to promote health and alleviate symptoms. It is believed to work based on the following TCM principles and modern research:

  1. Meridian System: In TCM theory, meridians are pathways through which Qi flows in the body. Acupuncture points are specific locations along these meridians where Qi can be accessed and influenced. By inserting thin needles into these points, acupuncturists aim to stimulate and regulate the flow of Qi to restore balance and promote health.

  2. Regulation of Neurotransmitters and Hormones: Modern research suggests that acupuncture may influence the release of various neurotransmitters and hormones in the body, including endorphins (natural pain-relieving chemicals), serotonin (a mood-regulating neurotransmitter), and cortisol (a stress hormone). These biochemical changes triggered by acupuncture may help reduce pain, inflammation, and stress, and promote a sense of well-being.

  3. Modulation of Nervous System Activity: Acupuncture has been found to modulate the activity of the autonomic nervous system, which regulates involuntary bodily functions such as heart rate, blood pressure, digestion, and immune function. By stimulating specific acupuncture points, acupuncture may help regulate the balance between the sympathetic and parasympathetic branches of the nervous system, promoting relaxation, stress reduction, and improved overall function.

  4. Enhancement of Blood Circulation: Acupuncture is believed to enhance blood circulation to the targeted areas of the body. Improved blood flow can help deliver oxygen, nutrients, and immune cells to tissues, promote healing, and reduce inflammation and pain.

  5. Activation of Local and Systemic Healing Responses: Insertion of acupuncture needles into the skin and underlying tissues triggers a localized healing response, including increased blood flow, release of growth factors, and stimulation of tissue repair mechanisms. Additionally, acupuncture may have systemic effects on the body's regulatory systems, influencing immune function, hormone balance, and inflammation levels.

It's important to note that while there is substantial evidence supporting the effectiveness of acupuncture for certain conditions, the exact mechanisms underlying its effects are still not fully understood and may involve complex interactions between physiological, biochemical, and neurobiological processes.

At Botanical Point we take the time to listen to you and understand exactly what your body needs, which allows us to be direct with our treatment protocols. Our goal is to make the treatments as comfortable for you as possible. If you are nervous about needles or uncomfortable with the sensations, please let your Acupuncturists know. Thinner needles, less needles or Acutonics Tuning Forks may be used to perform your treatment, ensuring it is efficient but painless.

If you still have questions about acupuncture please do not hesitate to reach out, we would love to answer any questions you might have. If you are looking for the ultimate relaxing experience at Botanical Point, considered cosmetic acupuncture.


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