Acupuncture is a therapeutic and holistic modality of medicine based on the theoretical and philosophical foundation texts of Chinese Medicine. Chinese Medicine emphasizes the physical and spiritual energy which courses through every living being. This life force (or Qi, pronounced chee) is the vital energy that keeps the body, mind and spirit alive and functioning properly. Qi flows throughout the body, along specific pathways called meridians. Each pathway is associated with a particular physiological system and internal organ. Disease occurs when this energy becomes weakened or out of balance. The ancient Chinese traced the Qi pathways and located points where it communicates with the surface of the body. Each point has a predictable effect upon the vital energy passing through it. It is in these points that very thin acupuncture needles are inserted to influence the energy so the body can heal itself.
Acupuncture needles do not hurt like hypodermic needles because the needles are very thin. In the hands of a comprehensively trained acupuncturist, there is usually no or little discomfort. Patients may experience heaviness in the limbs or a pleasant feeling of relaxation. Many fall asleep during treatment.
Many conditions may be alleviated quickly by acupuncture. With some it takes multiple treatments, especially for conditions that have developed over a course of years. Exercise, die, herbal remedies and lifestyle will affect the outcome of treatment. Acupuncture can also be combined with other modalities and should be seen as complementary to western medicine.
During an acupuncture treatment, additional therapies are used. They include:
- A chinese herb that is burned on the needle or above the skin to promote warmth and the movement of energy through the area.
- Microcurrent electrical stimulation is passed through the needle to stimulate the point and relax the muscles. Microcurrent is used because it building and additive effects over time not just a temporary relief.
- Cold laser is used to stimulate acupuncture points. This can be very helpful with the sensitive mare that dislikes needling.
- Small pricks to release just a few drops of blood can be very effective in releasing heat and bringing fresh blood to heal tissues.