Jennifer Baust, R.N., L.Ac.
Acupuncture is the insertion of tiny needles about the thickness of a human hair in specific points on the body for therapeutic purposes. Exactly why this works is a more complex story.
The Chinese believe that there is an all pervasive energy that animates life in the universe. This energy is called Qi (pronounced Chee). Qi is everything from the sun shining down on our face in the morning to the blood pulsing through our veins. Qi gives us life and sustains everything around us.
Qi courses through the body in channels. This system of channels is like rivers that supply the entire body with energy. It is believed that disease results when the flow of qi is blocked or hindered.
At certain locations along these channels, or meridians as they are often called, the Qi can easily be stimulated with pressure, needles and heat to build deficient Qi, move stuck Qi, and/or disperse excess Qi.
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What Might Acupuncture Help?
Always, my first answer to this question, is that Acupuncture helps people - meaning that I don't single out one symptom at a time to be treated, but see the person as a whole being -body, mind, and spirit. Traditional Acupuncture works by treating the underlying cause of the symptoms. By treating holistically, the practitioner supports the patient in shifting the symptoms that pervade the entire person. Often, symptoms gradually ease and may leave entirely. Acupuncture is also used for health maintenance and preventative care as well as for personal and spiritual growth.
The World Health Organization recognizes over forty conditions that benefit from acupuncture. These include, but are not limited to: anxiety, depression, panic attacks, addictions, mood swings, fatigue, insomnia, back ache, pain, asthma, arthritis, joint pain, headaches, migraines, infertility, allergies, digestive problems, neurological problems, and respiratory problems.
What Might I Expect?
Five Element Acupuncture promotes a healing partnership between the patient and the practitioner. The acupuncturist realizes that each person is unique and no two people experience the same symptoms the same way. The first session will be a diagnostic interview and last about two hours. During this visit, the acupuncturist gathers information about your medical and personal history. She will then perform a non-invasive physical exam. Subsequent treatments will last a little longer than an hour each.
Research has shown that acupuncture treatments have a cumulative effect, each treatment builds on the benefits of the previous treatments. To maintain this progress, the first few treatments are scheduled weekly. Gradually the treatments are spaced apart. While each individual varies, it is reasonable to expect changes to occur within six treatments.
Does Acupuncture Hurt?
The tiny disposable filament needles used for acupuncture bear no resemblance to painful hypodermic needles used for injections or to draw blood. They are not hollow, and nothing passes through them, or is injected into the body. Insertion of the acupuncture needles is virtually painless. Some people experience a brief sensation of pinching, stinging, or tingling. The needles are inserted just beneath the skin and are usually removed immediately; at times they are left in for several minutes.
How Will I Know It Is Working?
Changes can be dramatic or subtle. The more severe and longer you have had a condition, the longer it may take to treat. Many people report decreased pain, increased relaxation, improved sleep, enhanced mood, positive changes in appetite in just a few visits. In any case, you can expect to feel stronger, healthier and more energetic.
Are The Needles Sterile?
The needles used in acupuncture are absolutely sterile. Only the highest quality disposable, single use needles are used for your care. The needles come in pre-sterilized, sealed packages and are discarded after use.
What About My Medication?
Acupuncture complements Allopathic medicine; it does not replace it. All patients are encouraged to continue taking the medications prescribed by their doctors and continue their routine medical care.
What is Moxabustion?
Moxabustion is the use of the mugwort (artemisia vulgaris) herb in the stimulation of acupuncture points. The herb is prepared and then burned on or over the point to heat the specific location. While this initially may sound unpleasant most patients actually enjoy moxabustion as it relaxes and warms the body.
Jennifer Baust, R.N., L.Ac.- Acupuncture Practitioner can be reached at (302) 723 0185 or email her at