Reduced to its simplest, acupuncture is the millenia-old practice of inserting sterile, hair-fine needles at specific points in the body to strengthen, stimulate and relieve symptoms of disease. But here’s what you really want to know:
Do you feel it? Yes. Does it hurt? No. It feels weird, like no other feeling you’ve had before, but it’s not an “ouch feeling.” If you are “afraid of needles” should you still try it? Totally: more often than not, the “scared patient” is the first to fall asleep once the needles are in and then be surprised by how relaxing the whole thing was. Is it really weird that you’d stick needles in your body for health and serenity? Absolutely. It’s really weird. I’m the first to admit it. However, the fact that it has been treating patients in nearly every continent for at least 4000 years (compared to Western medicine’s 100 years) speaks to its efficacy.
The gist of it is: Energy (or “qi” if you like) is constantly moving through the body (blood is a thicker form of this energy), and when it is circulating properly, we don’t feel it. We are just at harmony, balanced and strong. When it gets blocked, stuck or deficient, it causes pain, dysfunction, depression and disease. Pain specifically is considered energy and blood that has stagnated, and it is my job to figure out where to insert the needles to recirculate that energy, to free your body up so that it may operate at its strongest and most efficient.
This medicine requires patients to look at health with a different perspective. Western medicine dictates that “health” is the absence of pathogens, and most medical treatment is therefore seeking out and destroying latent problems in the body after they’ve occurred. Chinese medicine operates under the construct that our bodies are constantly seeking balance and strength naturally, just like nature does, so health is more about nurturing, supporting and cultivating the inherent intelligence of the body to do its own job. If our bodies are operating at their highest potential, without the interference of stress and trauma, and if we slow down enough to pay attention, we shouldn’t be sick, we shouldn’t be in pain and we shouldn’t be cranky, tense and agitated. Sounds good, right?
Every now and then I come across someone who declares they “don’t believe in acupuncture.” While everyone is entitled to his opinion, I do like to remind these *fun people that canine acupuncture has been repeatedly proven effective and none of those dogs claimed they believe in it either. Fortunately for them, acupuncture doesn’t require a person’s (or puppy’s) belief.
And fortunately for you and me, the World Health Organization, whose authority concerning health-related matters internationally cannot be challenged, lists the following symptoms, diseases and conditions to be treated effectively by acupuncture:
Common Cold, Sinusitis
Neurogenic Bladder Dysfunction
Blood Pressure Regulation
Immune System Toning
Battle Ropes & Pulleys
Barbells & Bumper Plates
Weight Training Gloves
Yoga Mats & Blocks
Gymnastics Studio & Rings
Custom Obstacle Course
Showers & Towels