What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a complete medical system originated from China more than 2000 years ago. It applies traditional Chinese medicine theory to diagnose and treat illness, prevent disease and improve well-being by inserting acupuncture needles at certain acupuncture points through our body. Due to its proven effectiveness, it has been becoming more and more popular throughout the world.

How Acupuncture works?

There are different kinds of explanations about how acupuncture works. Based on the traditional Chinese medicine theory, there exists 14 meridians throughout human body and more than 360 acupuncture points are located at these meridians. Qi, or vital energy, flows through these meridians and acupuncture points to support tissue, muscles and organs. When the Qi is obstructed in certain critical acupuncture points, the function of tissue, muscles and organs will be impaired.

By inserting acupuncture needles into the acupuncture points helps the release of Qi flow and corrects Qi imbalances at the organ level to improve your energy and internal functions.

How Acupuncture feels?

Most people do not believe that acupuncture can be painless. Different sensations such as soreness, numbness, distending, warmth and pressure may be felt, but the energetic sensation differs from pain. People often comment that the feeling is unfamiliar but pleasant and relaxing.

Acupuncture needles are very thin, about the size of a thick hair. Over the centuries, refined needle insertion techniques have been developed which enable the skilled acupuncture practitioners to place an needle with little or no sensation. If you have a real fear of needles, you can discuss it with us. An appropriate treatment strategy will be arranged for you upon your request.

How many sessions do I need for treatment?

Since each person is unique, the number of treatments needed will vary. In general speaking, the determining factors for number of treatments include the type of condition, whether the condition is chronic or acute, and the vitality of the individual. Again, you should discuss your treatment plan with us.

How long each session takes?

Regularly, it will take about 45 ~ 60 minutes for each session. It may take a little longer for your first treatment since a thorough diagnosis is needed. The time also depends on the sensitivity of each individual and the kind of diseases and conditions. In general speaking, the quality of acupuncture treatment relies on the experience and skill of an acupuncturist. They are combination of diagnosis of symptom, accuracy of acupuncture points, timing, the depth and angle of insertion, techniques of manipulation, etc.

Is Acupuncture safe?

Because acupuncture needles penetrate the skin, many forms of acupuncture are invasive procedures, and therefore not without risk. Injuries are rare among patients treated by trained practitioners. In most jurisdictions, needles are required by law to be sterile, disposable and used only once; in some places, needles may be reused if they are first resterilized, e.g. in an autoclave.

Safety compared with other treatments

Commenting on the relative safety of acupuncture compared with other treatments, the NIH consensus panel stated that "(a)dverse side effects of acupuncture are extremely low and often lower than conventional treatments." They also stated:

"the incidence of adverse effects is substantially lower than that of many drugs or other accepted medical procedures used for the same condition. For example, musculoskeletal conditions, such as fibromyalgia, myofascial pain, and tennis elbow... are conditions for which acupuncture may be beneficial. These painful conditions are often treated with, among other things, anti-inflammatory medications (aspirin, ibuprofen, etc.) or with steroid injections. Both medical interventions have a potential for deleterious side effects but are still widely used and are considered acceptable treatments."

In a Japanese survey of 55,291 acupuncture treatments given over five years by 73 acupuncturists, 99.8% of them were performed with no significant minor adverse effects and zero major adverse incidents (Hitoshi Yamashita, Bac, Hiroshi Tsukayama, BA, Yasuo Tanno, MD, PhD. Kazushi Nishijo, PhD, JAMA). Two combined studies in the UK of 66,229 acupuncture treatments yielded only 134 minor adverse events. (British Medical Journal 2001 Sep 1). The total of 121,520 treatments with acupuncture therapy were given with no major adverse incidents (for comparison, a single such event would have indicated a 0.0008% incidence).

The WHO, the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the American Medical Association (AMA) and various government reports have all studied and commented on the efficacy (or lack thereof) of acupuncture. There is general agreement that acupuncture is safe when administered by well-trained practitioners using sterile needles.