Premier Alternative Health Center | Dr. Sean P. Billings | 107 N Union Blvd
| Colorado Springs, CO 80909
The ancient art and science of Acupuncture sprouted from humble beginnings in China more than 2000 years ago. Originally, bian stones served as the needles. Today these needles are known as filiform needles and can be purchased in differing lengths and thicknesses. They are estimated to be the approximate width of 5-10 hairs from the average human head and differ from a venipuncture, or blood-draw needle, by the fact that the acupuncture needles are solid throughout. This feature allows them to be inserted with relatively no pain but depending upon the points used a “biting” sensation may be noticed.
Acupuncture has been practiced in the USA for more than 150 years but it was not until President Nixon returned from his trip to China in the 70’s that there was a boom in popularity. In 1971, New York Times political analyst, James Reston had an appendectomy in Beijing using ONLY acupuncture for anesthesia and to reduce pain post surgically with moxa (Chinese herb often burned over specific needle points or on top of the needle).
What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is inserting and manipulating filiform needles into designated points on the body to restore health and treat pain and disease.
What is Qi (pronounced Chee)
Qi is the energy that travels through the body via the meridian system. There are many forms of Qi (da Qi is the sensation most commonly felt during the insertion of needles in an Acupuncture treatment session).
How does Acupuncture treatment work?
There are two or more differing theories on the how and why of acupuncture’s usefulness. The Neuro-hormonal theory suggests there is an analgesic action of acupuncture that is mediated by stimulating the release of natural endorphins in the brain to affect the thalamus. This has been documented on PET scans as well as functional MRI studies of the brain (while the needles are being inserted and manipulated within the patient’s body). One other theory suggests there is a release of nitric oxide gases from the body that produces a pain-relieving effect (very similar to the effects of a chiropractic manipulation).
Are there any safety concerns with Acupuncture?
The 3 most common minor adverse events include:
- Minor bleeding
- Bruising or hematoma development at the needle site
- Dizziness or needle sickness (may be due to deficiencies in the patient and not necessarily a result of treatment)
These risks are slight and can be avoided through proper training and credentialing of acupuncture practitioners.
****All Acupuncture needles are single-use needles and will be properly disposed of after each treatment concludes.
What to expect on your first visit?
The initial acupuncture consultation will include a detailed patient history, review of systems and questions used to determine quantity of treatments as well as which needling or non-needling techniques will be suitable. Paperwork must be filled out by the patient prior to commencing this first visit.
After this phase of the consultation is completed, treatment can begin that same day or be scheduled for a future visit. Typical treatment protocols will include the use of traditional Acupuncture body points including but not limited to auriculo (ear) or even scalp points. Duration of an average treatment usually lasts approximately 30 minutes.
This length of time may be increased if the patient is in a very critical state or perhaps needs to have their needles re-inserted on the front or back of the body for phase 2 of the treatment protocol.
If the patient presents with an acute condition (ankle sprain) then the treatment plan may contain 4-5 visits for complete resolution. If the patient has a more long-standing issue or chronic condition (ulcerative colitis) then their treatment plan may be extended to 10-12 sessions. The treatment of human maladies with Acupuncture is known to be a cumulative therapy. This means that if/when treatment sessions can be stacked closer together the successfulness of treatment increases.
What diagnostic criteria are used.
The palpation of the pulse is a technique employed by many of the world’s acupuncturists and some elements of this basic skill will be utilized. Tongue diagnosis, which is easier to grasp for beginning practitioners, will also be employed to confirm diagnoses being made from the patient history portion of the initial consultation.
The 12 Channels or Meridians
There are 12 named organ channels or meridians that course throughout the body. The Stomach meridian has 45 points available to be used by the practitioner if the case warrants it. The Stomach meridian is not only used to treat problems with gut function but also with local issues such as pain in the foot and ankle or even sleeping problems. The other channels or meridians included in most texts include: Large and Small Intestine, Heart, Pericardium, Liver, Gall Bladder, Kidney, Bladder, Spleen, Lung and Triple Warmer.