Acupuncture and Its Benefits

By: Jaime Marks, L.Ac. (Acupuncturist)

Traditional Chinese Medicine has been practiced for thousands of years. Through empirical research, and practical experience, acupuncture is one of the primary modalities used by a Chinese Medical Practitioner to restore balance in the body.  Primarily, by inserting thin and sterile needles into acupuncture points along well mapped out channels along the body, a practitioner will access qi (energy.) The concept of qi is analogous for energy flow in the body. In order to achieve optimal health, it is essential that there is a smooth flow of energy along these channels. Only when there is a disruption of energy in the channels, qi and blood circulation is obstructed, creating pain and pathology in the body. Acupuncture can redirect and reestablish the proper flow of energy, unblock accumulations, and allows the body to restore it’s balance at a very deep level.

The benefits of acupuncture extend to a wide variety of conditions: improve sleep, reduce stress, improve digestive complaints (nausea, abdominal pain, flatulence, bloating, constipation, diarrhea) emotional disorders (anxiety and depression,) musculoskeletal conditions (sports injuries, chronic pain, tension/stress, arthritis,) respiratory problems (asthma, allergies, the common cold,) gynecology (infertility, irregular cycles, pregnancy, menopause, fibroids, PCOS), autoimmune conditions (Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Inflammatory Bowel Disease- Crohn’s and Colitis, Lyme’s Disease, Muscular Sclerosis,) as well as many other disease states.

The most common questions regarding acupuncture are generally the following: How does it work? Is it safe, and does it hurt? Can it be used in conjunction with Western Medicine?

Acupuncture, is a comprehensive medical system that can address health concerns on it’s own. It also works synergistically with Western Medicine and other modalities (Physical Therapy, Chiropractic care,) lifestyle modifications (nutrition, exercise, meditation, and exercise programs) can help individuals improve a patient’s overall health, and quality of life.

Many studies indicate that acupuncture has multiple biological functions. The responses that occur are thought to activate pathways in the Central Nervous System and effects various physiological pathways in the brain that can lead to an analgesic effect, and hormone regulation.  Furthermore, acupuncture promotes and reestablishes the circulation and flow of blood, promotes the flow of lymph, has an effect on balancing the nervous system, reduces inflammation, and alleviates pain.

Chinese Medical Professionals visually describe acupuncture as a metaphor for a tree. The tree bark represents how practitioners’ see and treat the body as a whole. The root of the tree mirrors the underlying factors that can be contributing and causing the problems/symptoms.. Many of the core imbalances or dysfunctions present in many different branches of the tree and manifest into various symptoms a patient seeks treatment for. Typically the same imbalances will appear in multiple systems of the body and present across various specialties in Western Medicine. In contrast, Chinese medicine treats the root cause, instead of focusing on the branch symptoms.

Acupuncture is extremely safe when administered by a qualified and licensed professional. Thin sterile needles are inserted and disposed of after each use so there is minimal to no risk of infection. There have been very few complications reported to the FDA of people who are treated with acupuncture each year.

Lastly, acupuncture needles cause minimal to no pain.  It is very normal for individuals to feel apprehensive about needles.  However, acupuncture needles are hair-thin and very different then hypodermic needles used at a medical doctors office to draw blood or get a shot.  The sensations and perceptions may vary.  Patients report a pleasant sensation of warmth, heaviness, dullness, tingling, or numbness.  The patients who report discomfort describe it to be a minor prick feeling that disappears rapidly.  Many patients indicate they feel a deep sense of relaxation and increased energy after a treatment. While the responses to treatment may vary, it is not uncommon for the therapeutic effects to appear hours or days after a treatment.

Jaime Marks, L.Ac. is an acupuncturist at ProClinix Sports Physical Therapy & Chiropractic, practicing in both their Armonk location (within Equinox) and their Ardsley location (within House of Sports). She can be reached at 914-202-0700. 

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