A couple of weeks ago I was doing an event and an elderly gentleman came up to me and said, "I do not believe in acupuncture!" Up until then, the event had been going well. "It exists," I said with a chuckle. He then asked, "What is the chance that you can hurt someone with those needles?" I responded, "Less than 1% and as a matter of fact only 86 people have died after acupuncture (mostly in China and Japan) in the last 45 years. Compare that with the large numbers of adverse events each year from Western Medicine. I ask you, which would you do?" His eyes were wide and he asked, "Could you treat my neck?" "Perhaps," I chuckled.
This incident really made it crystal clear that ordinary people off the street do not know as much about acupuncture as I thought they did, so the following are a couple of common questions I hear:
How does acupuncture work?
Answer: To tell you the truth no one really understands the mechanism behind acupuncture. However based on some of the current thinking, I look at it this way: The body is a closed circulation system and within this system there are blood circulation, nerve pathways, and the fascial matrix. So inserting thin acupuncture needles in this closed circulatory system results in the normalization of blood circulation, nerve impulses are regulated, pain modulating endorphins are released, and the fascial matrix relaxes, which as a result reduces pain and tension in the body.
What conditions are acupuncture used for?
Quick answer: Acute or chronic pain and stress.
Long Answer: Considering that it has been estimated that 75 – 90 percent of all visits to primary care physicians are for stress related problems, it is clear that acupuncture is beneficial for relieving stress as well as some of the consequences of stress such as headaches, insomnia, digestive disorders such as IBS, menstrual problems, depressed immune function, weight gain, and emotional disorders to name a few. As a matter of fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) has compiled a list of symptoms, syndromes, disease processes, pathologies, traumas and conditions that have definitely been proven as effectively treated by acupuncture.
How many acupuncture treatments will I need in order to see results?
Answer: Acupuncture is a process in which there is a beginning, middle, and an end to treatment. The number of treatments needed depends on the condition and whether it is acute or chronic. In the beginning of treatment the frequency may be 2-3 times per week and then reduced to once a week as the symptoms improve. Eventually maintenance treatments once every 3-4wks may be performed if necessary. Usually results can be seen within 6-10 treatments however chronic or complicated conditions may require many more treatments.
So do you have any questions? If so please feel free to post them here or on the comments section on our Facebook page.
Christian Hoffert L.Ac.
Outside the world of Chinese Medicine, Christian enjoys hiking, trail running, reading, martial arts, and cooking.
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