The human body is part mechanical, part electrical, and part spiritual. Acupuncture speaks to all three of those aspects.
Simple acupuncture is the insertion of very fine needles in order to influence physiological functioning of the body.
The first record of acupuncture is found in the 4,700 year old Huang Di Nei Jing, Yellow Emperor's Classic of Internal Medicine, perhaps the oldest medical textbook in the world. It is said to have been based upon earlier theories by Shen Nung, the father of Chinese Medicine. Shen Nung documented theories about circulation, pulse, and the heart more than 4,000 years before European medicine had any concept about them.
Shen Nung believed that the body had an energy force running throughout it. This energy force is known as Qi (pronounced Chee). A person's health is influenced by the flow of Qi in the body. If the flow of Qi is insufficient, unbalanced or interrupted, Yin and Yang become unbalanced, and illness may occur. Yin and Yang are opposite forces, that when balanced, work together. They are the positive and the negative, the outside and the inside of the body's electromagnetic structure.
Qi travels throughout the body along "meridians" or special pathways. The acupuncture points are specific locations where the meridians are near the surface of the skin, and are easily accessible by needling. Energy constantly flows up and down these pathways. When meridians become obstructed, deficient, excessive, or just unbalanced, Yin and Yang are said to be thrown out of balance, causing illness. Acupuncture is used to restore the balance.
At the Arizona Center for Advanced Medicine, acupuncture is done on a massage table in a private room with soft music. If you wish to have a companion with you, you may.
Needles are sterile, disposable and bi-metallic (made of two different metals) so they conduct electrons more easily. Is it painless? Just about. Or as one of my patients who just hates needles says, "No big deal."
The points that most need treatment are the points that are most sensitive. Healing is an individual matter, it may happen in one treatment or eight to ten. One patient for example came in hobbling with a broken toe. It took only two treatments to remove the pain, although the bruising remained for a couple of weeks. Your body will be your guide.
We use acupuncture therapy for many different conditions, from the densely physical (like the broken toe) to the functional organic (for irritable bowel syndrome or asthma) to the infectious (acute colds, chronic viral infections) to very deep-seated conditions for which a change of mind-set or perception is necessary.