How Does Acupuncture Work?

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This is one of the most frequently asked questions in my practice. It is nice to answer this question rather than "Does acupuncture work?".

We all probably know someone who has had acupuncture treatment for one reason or another, and they testify how great it worked. The fact of the matter is that acupuncture works for some people some of the time. Now back to the initial question of how it works. Basically the technique of inserting very fine needles into specific points results in a specific physiological response.

The outcome is dependent on the combination of points chosen, the clinical ability and experience of the acupuncturist in treating specific conditions, and the individual's response to a specific treatment. The analogy I like to use is this:

Take a computer. Often here in Bend, we experience an electrical surge, disruption in our service, or maybe even a computer virus. So, we restart, restore or reboot our computers. Injury, illness, stress or trauma to our body is similar. 

There is a disruption in, for example, the hormonal or neurological function in our body. By choosing specific acupuncture points, a specific message is sent to the brain. The brain receives this message and responds via the body's many systems to heal and restore health.

The results may be a decrease in pain and inflammation, regulation of hormones, improved sleep, energy, etc. The difficulty is assessing at the onset of an acupuncture series how many treatments it will take for a specific symptom or illness to improve.

A general rule is a series of 12 visits, usually starting at a frequency of 2-3 per week. The longer the illness, and/or severe, the longer
the duration of therapy. We do occasionally have patients who respond very quickly to few treatments we call them our acupuncture "miracles."

We also have patients who choose to come in once a month for their "tune-up." Most of these patients have a philosophy of preventative medicine and are committed to a preventive approach when dealing with their health.

You may be wondering what conditions is acupuncture good for. Acupuncture is indicated in all pain syndromes, acute (sudden onset) or chronic, pre op, and post op. It may also be indicated in stress, insomnia, fatigue, nausea in pregnancy or chemotherapy induced, some cases of infertility, woman's gynecological conditions, stroke, and decreased immunity.