WHAT IS ACUPUNCTURE

By: Alex Guasco

 

What we refer to as “acupuncture” is more than just inserting needles. It is an ancient healing modality that has been used for centuries to treat imbalances and areas of pain in the body. The goal is to restore balance to the body’s energy, or Qi, and stimulate healing. It is one of many practices in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). It uses very thin filiform needles that are inserted into the skin at various points in the body. The needles that are inserted are chosen by your practitioner based on your condition. There are over 400 different acupuncture points located on your body and all have a specific use. Each treatment is custom to your symptoms to relieve pain and stress. 

What is Qi

Qi, also known as Chi, is the life force that circulates within your body. It is the material energy your body uses that allows you to think, feel, and live. Without the circulation of qi, your body can fall to discomfort, pain, and illness. In the broadest sense, it can be referred to as energy. Theoretically, qi is the balance of yin and yang. Yin and yang are fundamental elements present in everything within us and surrounds us. Acupuncturists often refer to yin as material, contracting, quiet, slow, steady, dark, heavy, etc. Yang could then be understood as activity, expanding, quick, light, expanding, etc. Yin and yang are the root of Chinese Medical Theory. 

Theory + Practice of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine

Acupuncturists, or Chinese Medicine Practitioners, study Chinese Medicine and all its modalities. This includes: 

    • Acupuncture: thin needle insertion into the specific areas of the body to alleviate symptoms of discomfort
    • Gua Sha: scraping of the skin to increase qi and blood circulation, therefore decreasing pain
    • Cupping: suction created on the skin to loosen muscles and encourage blood flow, also decreasing pain
    • Moxa: a heat therapy used by burning an herb called Mugwort on specific areas of the body to warm and move qi and blood
    • Chinese Herbology: the combination of Chinese medicinal herbs that are chosen and made into a particular formula. Each herbal medicine is designed to fit specific ailments and individual to each person

Why Get Acupuncture

Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine is a safe and widely used remedy to treat symptoms for a variety of illnesses and is often used as preventive care. Acupuncture can relieve pain, stress, and discomfort in the body. Each treatment is catered to your individual needs. It is a holistic approach to treat illness, gain energy, and find balance.

Resources

If you are interested in Chinese Medicine, Acupuncture and it’s practice, here are a few resources where you can learn more. 

History and how Acupuncture works:

https://www.livescience.com/29494-acupuncture.html 

How Acupuncture can help:

https://medschool.ucsd.edu/som/fmph/research/cim/clinicalcare/Pages/About-Acupuncture.aspx 

Gua Sha:

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320397.php

Chinese Cupping:

https://www.pacificcollege.edu/news/blog/2014/09/20/many-benefits-chinese-cupping-1 

Moxa:

http://acupuncturestudentclinic.com/moxibustion-content-group-article-2/ 

Chinese Herbal Medicine, Basics:

https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/ConditionsAndTreatments/chinese-herbal-medicine