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What is Acupuncture?

Traditional Chinese Medical theory: Several thousand years ago, East Asian practitioners discovered that the body is connected by a network of energy. The body's energy flows through this network along channels/meridians. Physical and emotional stressors create imbalance which disrupts the movement of the vital energy (qi). Acupuncture restores the smooth flow of qi. By inserting and manipulating hair-thin needles at specific points, I am able to return the body to its natural balance and promote the body's ability to heal itself.

Western Medical Theory: The main therapeutic effects of needling are achieved through stimulation of the nervous system (sensory stimulation),with some overlap with transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation and spinal cord stimulation. Acupuncture needling has local effects through local antidromic axon reflexes, releasing neuropeptides such as calcitonin gene related peptide and increasing local nutritive blood flow, improving, for example, the function of salivary glands. In the spinal cord and brain, there is well established evidence that acupuncture causes the release of opioid peptides and serotonin. The clinical effects on musculoskeletal pain are best explained by inhibition of the nociceptive pathway at the dorsal horn (segmental effects) by activation of the descending inhibitory pathways, and possibly by local or segmental effects on myofascial trigger points.
There are clearly other actions of acupuncture on the central nervous system that remain to be fully explored, including its effect on nausea. Imaging studies with functional MRI and positron emission tomography have provided good evidence of effects on various brain centres involved in pain control, notably the limbic structures,including the insula. These effects are somewhat greater than are seen when the skin is simply stimulated by needles, and seem to depend on elicitation of the particular needling sensation. https://aim.bmj.com/content/27/1/33

Is Acupuncture Safe?

Yes. Acupuncture is used by millions of Americans every year. Acupuncturists are required to undergo extensive education, including detailed study of human anatomy and training in Clean Needle Technique. I have passed comprehensive national board examinations administered by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) and am licensed by the state. As required by law, I use pre-sterilized, disposable, single-use needles to ensure your complete safety.