Acupuncture is a Chinese medical practice based on the belief that pain, dysfunction, illness and other ailments result from imbalances in the body. Acupuncture involves the insertion of fine needles into the body at specific points that are effective in the treatment of specific health problems. Treatments aim to harmonize and regulate the body’s imbalances with the goal of treating underlying patterns to relieve symptoms and promote overall wellbeing.
Chinese doctors mapped acupuncture points over thousands of years, often by trial and error, and there are more than 1,000 known acupoints. In the past three decades, electromagnetic research has confirmed the existence and location of many of these points.
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Acupuncture has evolved over time, as well, and is not confined to the practices developed millennia ago. Over the past several decades, modern practitioners all over the world have built on ancient practices and developed new approaches and techniques. Today, practitioners tend to have their own styles and preferences for treatment methods, and acupuncture can include not only the use of “traditional” points and techniques but also the insertion of needles into muscles (e.g. trigger points) and other points based on more of a Western physiological model.
While acupuncture’s exact mechanisms of action are still not yet fully understood, research is continually providing more insight into ways in which acupuncture works. Specifically, acupuncture has been shown to:
- Increase blood circulation to injured tissues, which promotes faster recovery
- Release trigger points to ease the cascade of symptoms caused by tight and stuck fascia
- Stimulate motor points, which can help with muscle dysfunction and muscular imbalances
- Trigger the release of endorphins, our body’s natural painkillers
- Decrease sympathetic nervous system activity and balance the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems to allow you to rest, digest and repair more effectively
- Reduce both local and systemic inflammation
- Decrease fatigue and increase resistance to fatigue
- Treat insomnia, both difficulty falling asleep and difficulty staying asleep
- Reduce stress and anxiety, possibly by blocking the chronic stress-related release of certain hormones and neurotransmitters
Acupuncture is based on the Chinese theory of qi. Qi is the energy or essential substance that promotes all of the functions of the body. According to the qi theory, acupuncture adjusts and regulates the flow of qi in the body by removing blockages, draining areas of excess Qi and nourishing areas of insufficient qi. In doing so, acupuncture restores balance to the body’s physical and mental aspects.
Chinese Medicine has a saying: “If there is pain, there is no free flow; if there is free flow, there is no pain.” Acupuncture reestablishes and promotes the free flow of qi to not only relieve symptoms but also promote general health and wellbeing.
For information on how acupuncture can treat sports-related conditions, click here.
In general, the longer you have had the dysfunction, the more treatments you will need. For an acute condition, a single treatment might provide great results, while a series of 10 to 12 treatments may be needed for more chronic problems. Some degenerative conditions may require many treatments over time. Different ailments and different bodies heal at different rates, but patients often leave each treatment feeling at least somewhat better and more relaxed.
To help reduce the number of treatments and speed healing and recovery, I might suggest corrective exercises, dietary modifications, relaxation techniques, massage and/or Chinese herbal medicines, all of which complement the acupuncture treatments. When appropriate, I will also refer you to other medical professions, such as physical therapists, chiropractors, general practitioners, or specialists.
No. Sometimes I use cups, magnets, lancets, moxibustion, Tui Na (Chinese bodywork) or other Oriental Medicine techniques. Here is a link to brief descriptions of the various adjunctive techniques. Before performing any of these types of treatments, I will discuss the technique with you and answer any questions you have. I will never do anything without your prior consent.
No. While some states permit acupuncturists to perform injection therapy, Arizona does not, and I rely on the ability of acupuncture points themselves to cause changes in the body.
In short, yes, I do dry needling. Dry needling aims to release muscular trigger points using a needle. This is a type of acupuncture technique, and one of many that I use regularly. Dry needling can be very effective for certain situations, and I will use it if appropriate. I will usually use dry needling in conjunction with other types of needling and systemic treatments.
Also, it is important to note that a licensed acupuncturist receives over 2,000 hours of training, while most basic dry needling certification courses consist of 20-50 hours of training.
Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine focus on putting the body back into balance, not just on temporary solutions or on treating symptoms. It may take time for chronic issues to resolve, and, particularly at first, the problem might come back, but the goal is complete resolution. However, I can never guarantee that a condition will not recur, and sometimes corrective exercises or other lifestyle modifications are necessary to prevent relapse.
Definitely. In addition to my sports medicine training and experience, I have extensive experience treating patients for a myriad of internal and external conditions. Some of these aliments include, but are not limited to: pain management, gastro-intestinal dysfunctions, stress/anxiety, allergies, and migraines.
Please do not hesitate to contact me with questions about what ails you.