Acupuncture is one of the many therapies that constitute Traditional Chinese Medicine. This ancient healing system view is that the basis of good health is the balance of qi ("chee"), or vital energy, in the body. Accordingly this energy moves through the body along 14 main pathways called meridians, and when this flow is obstructed the result may be pain or disease.
By stimulating key points, usually with needles, the acupuncturist is able to restore balance to the normal energy flow and thus relieve pain and treat disease. It is well documented that stimulation of these acupuncture points effects the nervous system. It also triggers the release of brain chemicals that help control pain.
What it's Good For
The following are a few examples of clinical studies involving acupuncture:
MENSTRUAL CRAMPS: 43 patients were assigned to one of four groups. 11 were treated with acupuncture, 11 were treated with "shame" acupuncture, 10 visited a physician monthly, and 11 received no treatment. Nine months later, 91% of the first group, 40% of the second, 18% of the third, and 9% of the last group reported significant reductions of symptoms.
CHRONIC LOW BACK PAIN: Of 50 patients, 83% of those who had acupuncture and 31% who were not treated showed improvement. Nine months later, 53% of those treated, but none of the untreated patients, continued to report significant pain relief.
NECK PAIN: 12 of 15 patients who underwent acupuncture demonstrated improvement after 12 weeks, compared to only 2 of 15 patients who were untreated.
SUBSTANCE ABUSE: When treating alcoholics there were substantially fewer drinking episodes and hospitalizations for detox among those treated with acupuncture than among those in the control group.
What to Expect
Your first visit to an acupuncturist will be similar to a visit to your medical doctor. Health history, current health concerns, and some physical exam will take place. Generally 10-12 sterile surgical steel needles will be used. The needles are about 1" long and as fine as a strand of hair. Most patients experience no discomfort at all, rarely there may be a vague tugging or achy sensation that lasts but a few moments. The needles are left in for 15 to 30 minutes.
In the hands of a skilled practitioner who uses sterile surgical steel disposable needles, the risk of complications is extremely low. On a rare occasion there may be some minor bleeding or even more rarely, some slight bruising.
Conditions Commonly Treated
Allergies/Asthma Anxiety/Depression Arthritis Back Pain
Drug Addiction/Smoking PMS Headache/Migraine Neck Pain
Sciatica Dizziness Fatigue Stress
Dr. Steve Stroud, N.D., L.Ac. 310 South Mission Street • Wenatchee, WA 98801 • (509) 663-4365