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Acupuncture

Keith Kimmick has been an Acupuncturist since 1985 and practices his craft by appointment at Next Step Physical Therapy.Acupuncture is a complete medical system that has been in use to diagnose, treat and prevent illness and disease.  It treats both chronic and acute disorders and is an extremely effective preventative medicine.  Acupuncture is one of the oldest, most commonly used medical procedures in the world.

A major component of the traditional Chinese health care system, acupuncture has been practiced clinically for at least 3000 years and is used widely throughout Asia and Europe today. Acupuncture works with the natural vital energy inherent within all living things to promote the body's ability to heal itself. Acupuncture is probably the most famous modality within the umbrella system of Traditional Chinese medicine, which utilizes other techniques, such as herbal medicine, moxabustion, cupping, exercise and nutritional advice.

In recent years, acupuncture has gained greater and greater acceptance in the West as scientific research confirms its effectiveness. In fact, between 9 and 12 million patients are treated with acupuncture each year in this country. Acupuncture refers to the practice of inserting tiny threadlike needles at key points on the body. Acupuncture points are specific sites along the meridians. The meridian network is very complex, flowing superficially throughout the surface of the body and deeper into the soft tissue and organs. Each point has a predictable effect upon the vital energy passing through it. Modern science has measured the electrical charge at these points, corroborating the locations of meridians. Acupuncture focuses on strengthening the physical condition, harmonizing the emotions, preventing disease, controlling pain, and promoting longevity. The goal of acupuncture treatment goes beyond alleviating or merely masking symptoms; it is to enhance the patient’s overall health and quality of life.

While Western medicine is based upon a biochemical model, Traditional Chinese medicine is based on an energetic model: a vital energy behind all life forms and functions that the ancient Chinese recognized and labeled “Qi” (pronounced ‘chee’). Acupuncture is an important method of balancing and regulating the activity of Qi in the body. Qi is the normal functional energy associated with all living processes. It flows through the body in the meridians. Disease occurs when the flow of Qi is disrupted in one or more meridians or areas of the body. Blockage or an irregular flow of Qi can result in pain, numbness, and dysfunction of organs or uncomfortable emotions such as depression or frustration. When one sprains an ankle, for example, there may be pain alongside of the leg, not just in the ankle, but all the way to the hip, even. This is obstruction of the Qi from trauma. Although Western science has not discovered a physiological understanding of the mechanics of the meridian system and specifically how acupuncture works, the following is known:

  • Acupuncture has the effect of stimulating the peripheral nerves, which send messages into the central nervous system along the spinal cord and into the brain.
  • Research has shown that acupuncture stimulation prompts a release of endorphins as well as other neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, can be associated with a host of brain changes and health benefits.
  • From a Western medical viewpoint, acupuncture stimulates blood circulation by dilating blood vessels all over the body. It has a regulating impact on the immune system, and likely also has a regulating impact on certain endocrine functions, which may be why acupuncture is so helpful in treating menstrual disorders and promoting fertility.

What Should You Expect in Treatment?

Most patients find the treatment very relaxing, with an accompanying feeling of well being. Most are surprised at how comfortable they feel during treatment and how easily the needles are placed. Many people even fall sleep during treatment. A patient may feel a slight sensation upon entry and then a pressure or a "dull" or '''surging" reaction when the needle reaches the Qi or correct point. Acupuncture needles are far different from the hypodermic needles used for injections. The tiny, thin needles used in acupuncture treatments are specifically designed to be virtually painless.
 

How many treatments are necessary?

Each person is unique with an individualized treatment plan. No two conditions or people respond exactly the same. Some problems may be resolved within two to five treatments, others, such as chronic conditions, may require many months of care. The length of treatment depends on the type, severity and the physical state at the time of treatment. Both the evaluation process and one’s response to treatment may inform the prognosis. In lengthy cases, periodic evaluations are given to assess progress. In order to get the best therapeutic results, it is important to follow the treatment plan and recommendations carefully. It is also vital to complete the course of therapy to restore health.

What are the advantages of acupuncture?

Acupuncture effectively treats a variety of health complaints with minimal to no adverse side effects. Acupuncture not only works to alleviate pain and other health disorders, but it helps the body to re-establish balance, enhanced immunity and can reduce stress, which is endemic in the modern American lifestyle. Acupuncture can be used to treat already existing conditions and can be used preventatively in tandem with a good diet and a healthy lifestyle to forestall more serious conditions from developing.

What types of illnesses can acupuncture treat?

Following is a partial list of disorders that respond favorably to acupuncture therapy according to the National Institutes of Health, the World Health Organization or both:

  • Addictions
  • Anxiety
  • Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Back Pain
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Colitis
  • Common cold
  • Constipation
  • Dental pain
  • Depression
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Facial palsy/tics
  • Fatigue
  • Infertility
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Headache
  • Hypertension
  • Indigestion
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Menstrual irregularities
  • Migraine
  • Morning Sickness
  • Nausea
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Pain
  • PMS
  • Reproductive problems
  • Rhinitis
  • Sciatica
  • Shoulder pain
  • Sinusitis
  • Sleep disorders
  • Smoking cessation
  • Sports injuries
  • Stress
  • Stroke recovery
  • Tennis elbow
  • Trigeminal neuralgia
  • Vomiting

 

Qi and the Meridians

Qi

Acupuncture is an important method of balancing and regulating the activity of Qi in the body. Qi is the normal functional energy associated with all living processes. It flows through the body in the meridians. Disease occurs when the flow of Qi is disrupted in one or more meridians or areas of the body. Blockage or an irregular flow of Qi can result in pain, numbness, and dysfunction of organs or uncomfortable emotions such as depression or frustration. When one sprains an ankle, for example, there may be pain alongside of the leg, not just in the ankle, but all the way to the hip, even. This is obstruction of the Qi from trauma.
Qi is also understood to be the life force.  Any blockage or insufficiency of Qi results in disease, and the total absence of Qi results in death. Good health is completely dependent upon a balanced distribution of Qi throughout the meridian network that influences the organs and bodily systems: skeletal, muscular, endocrine, circulatory, digestive, respiratory, urinary, reproductive, and nervous. When Qi flows smoothly and harmoniously throughout the meridians, each bodily system and organ interacts in a like manner.

Meridians

Several thousand years ago Chinese physicians discovered that Qi, the vital force, circulates throughout the body along fourteen major channels, twelve of which are duplicated on the left and right sides of the body. The two other major channels are located in the center of the body, one in the front, and the other in the back. And there are a number of so-called Extra Channels and Miscellaneous Channels throughout the body. Today, acupuncturists usually call the channels “meridians”. Meridians form a highly complex network transporting and directing Qi to every part of the body including the head, arms, legs, torso, and organs. Good health, Chinese sages of old discovered, depends on a balanced circulation of Qi throughout the meridians. Over centuries of trial and error and meticulous observation, the Chinese accurately mapped the locations of the meridians and identified hundreds of specific points in the meridians where Qi can be accessed and stimulated when there is a disruption of flow. Acupuncture uses very fine needles inserted into specific points on any of the 14 meridians in the body.  Properly inserted, these needles act like switches or guides that re-balance the energy fields of the body, stimulate the body’s immune system and restore the proper flow of Qi.

 

For additional information on Acupuncture, our service, or any other information, please Contact Us directly.

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