Very simply put, acupuncture is the stimulation of a specific point on the body using a single-use, sterile needle. There are hundreds of acupuncture points all over the body, and they are connected to each other by the body’s meridians, or channels.
One of the questions people most often ask me is if acupuncture hurts. The experience of receiving acupuncture is a highly personal one: the same points are not sensitive on each person, and the sensation of receiving treatment varies, too. Some people feel the needles going in, and describe that as a slight prick. Others don’t notice the insertion.
Often there is a feeling after the needles have been inserted that is known in the profession as the “arrival of qi.” This means that the points are beginning to communicate with each other and the body. Again, the feeling is individualized and is often described as warm, heavy, cool, tingling, or flowing.
My training and approach to healing are different in kind from that of modern biomedicine. For example, if you come to see me with a biomedical diagnosis of heart disease, I may or may not focus on points that have to do with the heart organ itself. I will investigate your complaint through Chinese medical diagnostic procedures, which take the whole body into account, and are not compartmentalized into systems. This approach to achieving and sustaining health is one of acupuncture’s greatest benefits.