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Traditional Chinese medicine is based on the concept of Qi, or circulating energy in the body. The energy flows through various channels and networks in the body. When the body is healthy, the flow of energy is well-balanced. Disease, strss, immune deficiencies, and emotional problems create an imbalance of energy which can be corrected through the use of acupuncture. The insertion of needles at specific points corrects these imbalances to treat the underlying cause, as well as the symptoms of medical and emotional problems. Acupuncture, whether alone or in combination with western medicine, is currently being used throughout the world for the treatment of virtually all physical and emotional problems. The use of disposable needles eliminates the worry about infection.

How does acupuncture work?

It flow through meridians (pathways) in the human body. Through 350 acupuncture points in the body, these meridians and energy flows may be accessed. Illness is said to be the consequence of an imbalance of the forces. If needles are inserted into these points with appropriate combinations it is said that the energy flow can be brought back into proper balance.

How did acupuncture become popular in the USA?

James Reston, who worked for the New York Times had his appendix removed (appendectomy) during a visit to China in 1971. After surgery he experienced some discomfort and was treated for this with acupuncture. He was surprised to find that the acupuncture treatment helped his discomfort tremendously. He subsequently wrote an article that year titled "Now, About My Operation in Peking". Many believe this article triggered intense interest in acupuncture in the USA.

How is acupuncture treatment carried out?

Acupuncture generally involves several weekly or fortnightly treatments. Most courses consist of up to 12 sessions. A visit to an acupuncturist will involve an exam and an assessment of the patient's condition, the insertion of needles, and advice on self-care. Most sessions last about 30 minutes.

The patient will be asked to lie down, either face-up, face-down or on his/her side, depending on where the needless are inserted. The acupuncturist should use single-use disposable sterile needles. As each needle is inserted the patient should feel them, but initially without pain. However, when the needle reaches the right depth there should be a deep aching sensation. Sometimes the needles are heated or stimulated with electricity after insertion. Once inserted, the needles will remain there for about twenty minutes.