Acupuncture involves inserting very fine needles into channels of energy that run along pathways in the body that run from the head to the foot or arm, and from the foot or arm to the head. There is also a set of acupuncture points on the ears.
Specific points along these pathways have specific functions. When stimulated by the needles, they may alter blood flow through the area, and communicate with the brain to regulate impulses and fluid balance either right at the point of insertion or parts of the body correlated with the point.
How does it work?
While no one knows all the ways acupuncture works, there are some things we do know.
What will I experience during an acupuncture treatment?
Acupuncture needles are about the diameter of a human hair. They are thinner and shaped differently than other needles you’ve had when getting a ‘shot’ so that they slide into the skin, thus the sensation is different when they are inserted. Sometimes people describe it as being like a mosquito bite. Others feel nothing.
Acupuncture treatments can involve anywhere from one to 25 disposable needles inserted anywhere on the body, but most commonly on the arms, legs and back. You might be treated while sitting, reclining or lying down.
Once the needles are inserted, you may feel an itching, heaviness, or electrical or tickling sensation. The needles may be left in place for anywhere from a few minutes to a half hour.
Many people grow very relaxed during their acupuncture treatment, and often fall asleep. After the treatment is finished you will often feel a sense of calm or lightness. An acupuncture treatment, while often pleasurable, is also work for your body. It is important to factor that in when planning the remainder of your day.
The effect of the acupuncture may keep changing over the course of the 24 hours following treatment as the impulses set off from the needles travel the course of the body.
There are other time-tested techniques that don’t involve needles that may be used in the course of your treatment.