Saturday, November 18, 2017

Bi-Weekly Blog from Local Experts

What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture needlesAcupuncture has been around for the past 5000 years and a lot of people swear by it for pain relief but what is it precisely and what are the benefits? Cabarete resident Sharon Speicher has been practicing acupuncture and other forms of traditional Chinese medicine since the late 90s and gives straight up no-nonsense answers in this bi-weekly series clearing up any doubts you may have had about acupuncture or Chinese Traditional Medicine.


Getting treatment against headachesLifestyle Cabarete: Overall what is acupuncture?
Sharon Speicher: Acupuncture is a branch of traditional Chinese medicine that uses thin needles to activate the “Qi” or energy of the body, thus restoring the body’s electromagnetic potential for healing.

Over thousands of years the Chinese have developed and fine-tuned a very intricate system which shows how organs and elements are related to physical and mental symptoms. The needles are inserted at different depth in the skin according to specific meridians, which then regulate energy flows to help with pain relief, and symptom relief.

LC: When and where did acupuncture originate?
SP: Acupuncture is believed to have originated over 5000 years ago. The first needles may have been made out of bone, before metals were used.

Meridian lines showcased on a dummyLC: What do the needles do?
SP: The needles work in many ways. Not unlike getting a sliver, the body’s immune system reacts to the “foreign object” and therefore sends appropriate neurotransmitters, endorphins, white and/or red blood cells to the area. Blood analysis taken before and after treatment shows significant improvement in these biochemical measures.

LC: The needles are inserted into specific acupuncture points. What exactly is an acupuncture point and how many are there on the body?
SP: There are over 360 acupuncture points that are on the named meridians, or channels of energy. However, an “ashi” point can also be used. This is a point anywhere that is painful.

Acupuncture treastment on a footLC: How deep are the needles inserted and for how much time?
SP: Generally, needles are inserted less than 3/8 of an inch (less than a cm). However, individual anatomy, goal of treatment and other factors influence the depth. Length of treatment is about 20 minutes, but again this can vary depending on the treatment goal and technique.

LC: How thick are the needles used for acupuncture?
SP: An acupuncture needle is almost as thin as a human hair. If you wanted to, you can fit two or three acupuncture needles inside a hypodermic needle, which is designed to inject a substance into the body.

Read more about Sharon Speicher, one of the US’ leading Acupuncturists and Chinese Medicine practitioners, who studied for her masters in the late 90s under the guidance of Beijing professors.


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