Dr. Jody Citrigno-Danese, D.C.,Lac.
I wanted to start my blogging with an overview of acupuncture. In the coming weeks I will specifically discuss how it helps with stress, Fatigue, pain relief, digestion, allergies and women’s health. For now here are the basics about acupuncture and what you should expect if you want to explore it as an alternative to typical western medicine.
What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is an ancient medical practice involving the use of thin, sterile and disposable needles inserted into the skin at specific points on the body to relieve pain and treat diseases. It is a 2,000-year-old therapeutic treatment recognized by the National Institute of Health (NIH) and the World Health Organization (WHO). It is effective in the treatment of virtually any form of medical condition.
Acupuncture promotes natural healing and circulation. It can enhance recuperative power and immunity, support physical and emotional health, and improve overall daily functioning and well-being. It is a safe, painless way to treat a wide variety of medical problems. Acupuncture does this by promoting the flow of the body’s Qi (sometimes spelled “Chi” and pronounced “chee.”) At the core of this ancient Eastern practice is the meridian philosophy which maintains that a person’s health is influenced by the balance and flow of Qi through the body’s meridians, or channels. Whenever we experience physical or emotional trauma, stress, or injury, we restrict our Qi’s movement through the meridians. Qi’s balance is also affected by lack of exercise, poor diet, and overexertion.
After a thorough initial exam, a treatment plan is developed to help remove obstructions and balance the blood and energy in the body. When the energy is flowing freely throughout the body, the cells, tissues, glands, muscles, and organs affected by the imbalance will be effectively nourished, restoring the body to a natural state of optimal health and well-being.
Using an integrative approach to Eastern medicine, patients receive highly personalized care. In addition to acupuncture, other therapies such as cupping, herbs, functional nutrition planning, and moxibustion may be used. I also incorporate my chiropractic and emotional healing disciplines along with acupuncture.
How Acupuncture Works
The traditional explanation of how acupuncture works is that complex networks called meridians or channels transport Qi to every part of the body. These channels can be thought of as rivers or highways. There are twelve channels on each side of the body, as well as one channel on the front, and the back of the body. There are fourteen channels in all. Over centuries of observation, the channels have been mapped out, and hundreds of specific points where they are most accessible have been located.
The meridians carry Qi through the body to the head, feet, legs chest, hands, arms, and internal organs. Qi is the vital life energy force. It is present in all living things. It is necessary that it is balanced in the body, and that the flow is not impeded. If the Qi flows in the wrong direction, or is blocked, it may result in pain, illness, or compromised function. Acupuncture unblocks the flow of Qi and reestablishes harmony in the body. This results in the return to good health.
The modern scientific explanation is that acupuncture stimulates the body to release chemicals and hormones in the muscles, spinal cord, and brain that reduce inflammation or nourish the immune system which influences the body’s own internal regulating system.
What conditions can be treated with Acupuncture?
An amazing amount of conditions can be treated with acupuncture. Here are just a few:
- Back pain
- Knee pain
- Frozen shoulder
- Sports injuries
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Migraines / headaches
- Bell’s palsy
- Shingles / post herpetic neuralgia
- All pain problems / musculoskeletal issues
- Anxiety / Stress
- High blood pressure
- Heartburn / GERDS
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- Gas / Bloating / Cramping
- Chronic sinusitis
- Common cold / flu
- Low immunity / susceptibility to catching colds
- Morning sickness
- Irregular menstruation
- Painful menstruation
- Prostate problems
- Erectile Dysfunction
- Gynecological concerns
- Stroke rehabilitation
- Chemotherapy / radiation side effects
- Post surgery pain
What should you expect on your first visit?
During your initial consultation and examination, you will be asked about your health concerns, overall health, and lifestyle. It is important to have a complete picture of your needs and concerns, as well as past and current treatments and medications. A physical examination, including tongue and pulse diagnosis is performed. The acupuncture points are selected based on your individual needs and diagnosis. Herbs may be used as well as acupuncture. The objective of treatment is to normalize the flow of blood and energy in your body. Stimulating the proper acupuncture points enables the body to heal itself.
Is it safe?
When a trained acupuncturist practices acupuncture, it is very safe and generally free of complications. A small number of patients may have reactions to the procedure that may include light-headedness, or soreness at the acupuncture site. Acupuncture needles are pre-sterilized, individually packaged and disposed of after a single use.
There are very few situations where acupuncture is not advised. While fertility is frequently treated, if the patient is pregnant, certain acupuncture points should not be used because they strongly stimulate blood or energy flow.
Does it hurt?
The sensation of receiving an acupuncture treatment can rarely be described as painful. Generally, it is experienced as a tingling sensation. Acupuncture needles a very different from injection needles. They have a rounded tip, and therefore do into cut the skin. The needles are flexible, hair like and very small. Following treatment, it is common for patients to feel a sense of relation and general well being. Frequently, there is some relief of symptoms with the first treatment.
How many treatments will I need?
The number of treatments required to effect change in a condition will vary with the disease and its severity, the duration of the illness, and your overall condition. The treatment program is based on your needs and the results obtained from the initial visit. The initial treatment usually lasts about an hour and a half. Follow-up visits require forty-five minutes to an hour.
Check back soon for more information on acupuncture and other Eastern medicine ideas for your alternative health strategy soon.
Dr. Jody Citrigno-Danese, D.C., Lac. practices in Newport Beach with offices at 120 Newport Center Drive. She may be reached at 949.720.1551 or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org