Acupuncture is a body of medicine that has been continually practiced for at least 3000 years. It differs from Western allopathic medicine in that it sees the human body as more than just a collection of chemicals. Rather, acupuncture is concerned with the intangible component of the human being, a substance the Chinese called chi or qi (pronounced chee). While chi is often translated as vital force or energy, there is really no single word in the English language that describes this concept. Chi is a dynamic process; the term life-breath most closely conveys its meaning. Chi is what gives us life and is life itself; it is what animates us, allows us to focus and to feel and be, to sense beauty and pain, to be who we are.
It is said that chi travels though the body in channels known as meridians. When the chi is able to flow smoothly and appropriately for the person, he or she will be healthy. When the chi becomes blocked or is not able to flow appropriately disease will ensue. These obstructions can occur on any level: the physical, emotional or psychospiritual. Acupuncture’s goal is to restore smooth and harmonious chi flow.
Where the meridians run close to skin, acupuncture points can be found. There are hundreds of points on the body and each has different indications for the type and manner of chi obstruction it will clear. Knowing which point or combination of points for a particular person’s needs at any given time in his or her life is part of the mastery of this medical art-form. This is generally accomplished by using what the ancient Chinese termed the four inspections (to look, to hear, to ask, to feel). In other words, by fully using one’s senses.
Most often these points are stimulated via the use of very thin, pre-sterilized disposable needles not much thicker than a human hair. Other methods of stimulation are sometimes used including massage, magnets or the application of heat and/or vacuum. Sessions typically run about 45 – 60 minutes, although your initial session will generally last about twice as long.