Acupuncture is the insertion of hair-thin needles at specific points along the body. The points are selected according to a detailed Chinese diagnosis. These points are located along lines of bio-electricity (Qi) called meridians. Many people think that the meridians are merely nerve pathways, but this is not true. Meridians may follow nerves, muscles, massage trigger points and sometimes there appears to be no physical way to explain a meridian's route. A well-trained acupuncturist knows the points and meridians from both an anatomical approach as well as an energetic approach.
Do The Needles Hurt?
The needles do not hurt like getting a shot. You may feel a slight pinch when the needle first goes in and then feel nothing. Most acupuncturists want you to have a slight sensation called “de qi” (pronounced ‘day chee’). This sensation may vary. It may feel as if someone is pressing gently with a finger or it may produce a warm or cold sensation. Interestingly, these sensations are not always at the locations of the needling.
After the needles are inserted, you will lay quietly, just relaxing, and often falling asleep. Although the needles can be left in place for up to one hour, they are normally removed in 15 to 20 minutes.
The number of needles used can vary greatly depending on the practitioner and the problem, but normally you can expect between 10 and 20 needles.
Acupuncture can treat many types of pain, including sore muscles, low back pain, injury and abdominal pain, and it can be effective for both acute and chronic pain. Acupuncture can also be used effectively for a host of internal problems including gynecological, gastrointestinal and immunity, as well as chronic disease and stress.