Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medical practice that involves the insertion of thin, sterile needles into specific points on the body known as acupoints. The goal of acupuncture is to balance the flow of vital energy, known as “Qi” (pronounced chee), which is believed to flow through pathways called meridians in the body. According to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) theory, when the flow of Qi is disrupted or imbalanced, it can lead to various health issues and ailments.

The practice of acupuncture is based on several key principles:

  • Qi and meridians: Qi is the vital energy that is believed to circulate throughout the body via meridians. Each meridian is associated with specific organs and functions in the body.
  • Yin and Yang: TCM emphasizes the concept of Yin and Yang, representing opposing yet complementary forces in the body. When Yin and Yang are balanced, optimal health is achieved.
  • Acupoints: Acupuncturists identify specific points on the body where the flow of Qi can be influenced. By stimulating these acupoints, they aim to restore the balance of Qi.

During an acupuncture session:

  • Assessment: The acupuncturist first assesses the patient’s health concerns and overall condition, considering their medical history and TCM diagnostic methods, such as examining the tongue and pulse.
  • Needle insertion: The acupuncturist inserts fine, sterile needles into the selected acupoints. The needles are typically left in place for a short period, usually ranging from a few minutes to half an hour.
  • Needle manipulation: The acupuncturist may gently manipulate or stimulate the needles to enhance the flow of Qi.
  • Removal: After the designated time, the needles are removed. Patients typically experience minimal discomfort during the process.

Acupuncture is generally considered safe when performed by a trained and licensed acupuncturist. However, it may not be suitable for everyone, and it’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional to discuss your individual health needs and determine if acupuncture is a suitable treatment option for you.