The modern practice of medical acupuncture reflects the current understanding of neuromuscular anatomy and pain physiology as well as the classical Chinese perception of the subtle circulation of life force called "Qi" (pronounced chee) through the body's meridians (energy channels). Like other so called alternative medical practices, the ancient Chinese art of acupuncture has gained in popularity over the past few decades. The National Institute of Health (NIH) acknowledges that research has demonstrated acupuncture to be an effective pain management tool.
As to how acupuncture works the explanation depends upon who you ask.Traditional Chinese practitioners maintain that the placement of needles stimulates the body to regain healthy balance by releasing energy that has been blocked or stagnated for a variety of reasons. A more scientific theory may be that acupuncture needles stimulate nerve endings under the skin to send alerting messages that remind the brain and spinal cord structures to increase production and release of vital neurotransmitters. These naturally produced substances not only relieve pain but also help to repair damaged tissue by restoring healing functions. This is the view of acupuncture endorsed by the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture.
Disposable needles are used and discarded at the end of each session. Suddenn treatment effects are rarely seen initially as improvements come from a cumulative response. Patients tolerate the treatment well and often unaware of needles being placed. Patients usually feel relaxed and may fall asleep during acupuncture treatments. Treatments last close to an hour and should be repeated at least twice a week, especially at the beginning of the treatment. There is no medicine on acupuncture needles and simply inserting the needles themselves stimulates the flow of energy along the "sick" meridians.
The number of treatments varies among patients and depends upon the time required to reach maximal response. A frequently asked question is : "Do I need to continue my treatments indefinitely?" The answer is NO. The desired realistic response from acupuncture is restoration of the body's natural self healing functions that maintain improved health without external ongoing care.
Dr Ingberman received board certification by the American Board of Medical Acupuncture after advanced training in the procedure at UCLA School of Medicine. Her continuing education in acupuncture has included a wide variety of techniques with numerous renowned acupuncture experts. Dr Ingberman has been practicing medical acupuncture for 16 years.