Acupuncture is an aspect of Traditional Chinese Medicine, which focuses on body function, and the regulation of energy flow through the body.
Acupuncture is a procedure that involves the insertion of needles into physiologically reactive sites to stimulate local and systemic effects that aid the bodies healing response which allows it to treat a number of conditions.
Acupuncturists treat problems by combining a number of techniques. Firstly, needles are inserted into acupuncture points, which are points that have a specific physiological effect when stimulated for example: reduction of pain or nausea, increased blood flow to the site of injury to aid healing, raised immune function, improved intestinal peristalsis or reduced inflammation. Needles are also inserted into bands of tight muscle known as trigger points which are a common cause of muscular pain. Insertion of needles stimulates the muscle fibres to relax and lengthen reducing pain and dysfunction.
The use of thin filiform needles ensures that the procedure is virtually painless. Good needle technique allows for fast penetration of the skin to minimise pain (at worst a mild pinch is sometimes felt). The needle is then inserted into the muscle layer which will usually elicit a pleasant spreading or radiation sensation known as Deqi, or a slight twitch in the muscle.