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What is acupuncture?

Did you know that acupuncture is at least two thousand years old? Acupuncture is a method of encouraging the body to promote natural healing and to improve functioning. This is done by inserting needles and applying heat or electrical stimulation at very precise acupuncture points.


What is Qi and what is its role in our health?

Traditional Chinese Medicine recognize a subtle energy system by which Qi is circulated through the body. This transportation system is referred to as the channels or meridians.


To better visualize the concept of Qi, and the meridians, think of the meridians as a river-bed, over which water flows and irrigates the land; feeding, nourishing and sustaining the substance through which it flows.

Winter Park Acupuncture
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(In Western medicine, the concept would be likened to the blood flowing through the circulatory system.) If a dam were placed at any point along the river, the nourishing effect that the water had on the whole river would stop at the point the dam was placed.


The same is true in relation to Qi and the meridians. When the qi becomes blocked, the rest of the body that was being nourished by the continuous flow, now suffers. Illness and disease can result if the flow is not restored.


How does acupuncture restore the flow of Qi/energy in the body to promote healing?

The classical Chinese explanation is that channels of energy run in regular patterns through the body and over its surface. These energy channels, called meridians, are like rivers flowing through the body to irrigate and nourish the tissues. An obstruction in the movement of these energy rivers is like a dam that backs up in others. 


Acupuncture is one tool used to restore the flow of Qi, by inserting needles into the acupuncture points (located on the meridians). These insertions are said to clear any residing blockages, or dams, thus freeing the river to better feed the body in its entirety.


The meridians can be influenced by needling the acupuncture points; the acupuncture needles unblock the obstructions at the dams, and reestablish the regular flow through the meridians. Acupuncture treatments can therefore help the body's internal organs to correct imbalances in their digestion, absorption, and energy production activities, and in the circulation of their energy through the meridians.


How big are the acupuncture needles?

An acupuncturist works by inserting ultra-thin needles (about the diameter of a strand of hair) into the subcutaneous tissues of the body at very specific locations.  In addition to needlework, acupuncture uses several adjunct modalitare - moxibustion (heat therapy), cupping therapy and Chinese gua-sha (dermal friction) - that generate heat and loosen muscle tissue to increase the effectiveness of acupuncture treatment.


Acupuncturists can use as many as nine types of Acupuncture needles, though only six are commonly used today. These needles vary in length, width of shaft, and shape of head. There are a few different precise methods by which Acupuncturists insert needles. Points can be needled anywhere in the range of 15 degrees to 90 degrees relative to the skin surface, depending on the treatment called for. 


















Does acupuncture hurt?

Because the needles used are so thin, there is generally little to no pain involved with an Acupuncture treatment and most find the experience to be pleasantly calming.  The degree of perceived pain or discomfort, however, can depend on the technique and the sensitivity of an individual practitioner.  At Orlando Holistic Acupuncture, we are committed to the most gentle approach to practicing Acupuncture that adjusts to the sensitivity of each patient to ensure little or no discomfort.


In most cases, a sensation, felt by the patient, is desired. This sensation, which is not pain, is called deqi (pronounced dah-chee). The following techniques are some which may be used by an Acupuncturist immediately following insertion: Raising and Thrusting, Twirling or Rotation, Combination of Raising/Thrusting and Rotation, Plucking, Scraping (vibrations sent through the needle), and Trembling (another vibration technique). Once again, techniques are carefully chosen based on the ailment.


While Acupuncture can be used for a wide range of ailments, its most common use today is for the relief of pain. For example acupuncture effectively treats severe tension headaches, migraine, acute backaches, shoulder and neck aches, muscle related injuries, post-surgery recovery, sports injuries, tennis elbow, tooth aches, abdominal pains, arthritic pains, rheumatic pains, sciatica and frozen shoulder. 


How does acupuncture work on the body?

There are a number of hypothesis that explain why acupuncture consistently works and also lessens pain, although no one definitive answer has been adopted by the medical community.  Among frequently cited explanations are:


  • "Augmentation of Immunity" - this is a theory points to the fact that Acupuncture has been clinically shown to raise white blood counts, overall anti-body levels and levels of specific hormones which act together to boost the immune system.

  • In Chinese medicine, there is the saying, "Where there is pain, there is stagnation.  Whether that stagnation is caused by blood (as in a bruise), chi , cold, heat, or moisture (such as edema in the extremities), or any combination thereof, by inducing movement in the body Acupuncture works to reduce the pain that accompanies stagnation.

  • “Circulatory theory” states that acupuncture has the effect of constricting or dilating blood vessels thus improving circulation.  This may be caused by the body's release of vasodilators (such as Histamine), in response to acupuncture.


What can I expect during an acupuncture session?

Your initial visit typically lasts 60 minutes and starts with a review of your health history and a health assessment.  This helps the acupuncturist establish where you are in the healing process and come up with a treatment plan tailored to your needs.


The actual treatment takes place on a massage table.  You remain clothed or partially unclothed for best access to certain areas.  When needles are inserted, you experience anything from no-sensation to that of a fleeting pin prick.


Our approach at  Orlando Holistic Acupuncture is to focus is on your warmth and comfort and one of our acupuncturists remains in the room during your session to check in on your comfort level throughout the session.  After the session, many people feel a sense of well-being, peace and relaxation that can last for days.

If you are at Orlando Holistic Acupuncture to treat an acute condition, you may only need a few sessions. However, to treat long-standing, chronic conditions it may require a longer period of time to address.  At the end of your initial visit, the acupuncturist will discuss with you treatment options that best fits your health goals and busy schedule.  Subsequent visits last 45 - 60 minutes.


How can I prepare for an acupuncture session?

At Orlando Holistic Acupuncture we provide a very relaxing and loving environment for our clients to feel comfortable in their healing process. Your first visit will include an exam, an assessment of the clients’ condition, treatment, along with advice of self care. Visits may range from one to multiple sessions. Before you come for your acupuncture visit:

• Bring a list of all medications and supplements you are taking

• Wear loose, comfortable clothing

• Have a light meal or snack before visit (heavy meals can cause nausea,

   an empty stomach can cause dizziness)

• Do not take pain medicine, eat large meals, or drink alcohol for at least 2      

   hours prior to your acupuncture treatment

• No coffee/caffeine 6 hours prior to your acupuncture session

• No makeup or perfume

• Drink plenty of water the day of your acupuncture treatment

How does acupuncture affect the brain's ability to regulate pain?

Acupuncture has been used in East-Asian medicine for nearly thousands of years in order to treat pain. Apparently, conditions may possibly be treated by activating the body's natural painkillers. However, how it works at the cellular level is mostly unknown.


A University of Michigan study is known to be the foremost one to present confirmation that traditional Chinese acupuncture seems to influence the brain’s long-term ability to regulate pain. The data which they provided was carried out with the help of brain imaging.


To better understand this criterion, researchers examined nearly 20 women who seemed to have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is known to be a chronic pain condition and that patients were suffering from it for approximately one year. In this condition the patient experiences pain about half of the time.

In addition, patients were given position emission tomography (PET) scans of the brain during their first treatment. This treatment was then repeated a month later after the eight treatment.


During the analysis, researchers showed acupuncture increased the binding availability of mu-opoid receptors (MOR) in regions of the brain particularly in the cingulate, insula, caudate, thalamus and amygdala. Supposedly, MOR region processes and reduces pain signals.

Researchers were from the U-M Chronic Pain and Fatigue Research Center.


How do you choose an acupuncturist?

Get recommendations from others who have been treated by an Acupuncturist. Meet with the Acupuncturist. Have a dialogue and ask all of your questions. Being informed is the best way to know if acupuncture is right for you. Verify the Acupuncturist’s training, standing of his/her license, and accreditation with national certification organizations.


What is Ayurveda/Ayurvedic Medicine?

Ayurvedic medicine (also called Ayurveda) is one of the world's oldest medical systems. It originated in India and is believed to be over 5000 years old. In the United States, Ayurvedic medicine is considered Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM), more specifically, a holistic medical system.  Many therapies used in Ayurvedic medicine are also used on their own as CAM―for example, herbs, massage, and specialized diets.  The aim of Ayurvedic medicine is to integrate and balance the body, mind, and spirit.  This is believed to help prevent illness and promote wellness.


What is Tui Na?

Tui Na is a type of Oriental bodywork which has been used in China for more than 2,000 years. Diagnosis and treatment are based on the same principles as acupuncture - the traditional Chinese medical theory of the flow of Qi through the meridians. Specific techniques are used to work on the meridians and on specific points, to harmonize the balance of Qi - allowing the body to heal itself naturally.


Tui Na literally means "pushing" and "grasping" - two of the techniques used in treatment. Tui Na methods include the use of hand techniques to massage the soft tissue (muscles and tendons) of the body, acupressure techniques which directly affect the flow of Qi, and manipulation techniques to realign the muscles and ligaments. As such, the experience of Tui Na could be described as a cross between physiotherapy, shiatsu and acupressure.


What is Auricular Acupuncture?

Ear acupuncture, also known as auricular therapy, is based on the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine. There are over 200 acupuncture points on the ear that when stimulated trigger electrical impulses to the brain. Auricular acupuncture has been found to stimulate the release of endorphins, our "feel good" hormones. Auricular therapy is widely used for many conditions, including addiction treatment, mood disorders, stress, weight loss/obesity, pain, and other conditions. This medical system emphasizes a holistic approach to medicine, an approach that treats the whole person. The acupuncture points found on the ear help to regulate the body's internal organs, structures, and functions. 


What is Cupping?

Cupping  is an ancient Chinese method of causing local congestion. A partial vacuum is created in cups placed on the skin either by means of heat or suction. This draws up the underlying tissues. When the cup is left in place on the skin for a few minutes, blood stasis is formed and localized healing takes place. Cupping therapy has been further developed as a means to open the 'Meridians' of the body. Meridians are the conduits in the body through which energy flows to every part of the body and through every organ and tissue. There are five meridians on the back that, when opened, allow invigorating energy to travel the whole length of the body. It has been found that cupping is probably the best way of opening those meridians.


What is Functional Medicine?

Functional medicine is patient-centered approach to health care that is tailored to the individual patient’s needs, preferences and values. It is a therapeutic partnership, empowering the patient to take ownership of their own healing. As an active participant, you will be more control of your health and wellness, better able to make sustain lifestyle changes to promote healing. Functional health aims to restore dynamic balance between the internal and external body, mind and spirit, not merely treating disease but going beyond that to foster vitality and vibrant health. 


Where are you located/what areas do you serve?

Orlando Holistic Acupuncture is located in Winter Park, Florida just minutes away from Maitland, Altamonte Springs, Casselberry, & the Greater Orlando area. 

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What conditions are treatable with acupuncture?

The most common conditions treated effectively by Acupuncture include:

  • Chronic pain and headaches

  • Acute injury-related pain (strains and sprains)

  • Digestive disorders

  • Cardiovascular conditions

  • Muscle and nerve conditions

  • Addictive behaviors

  • Gynecological disorders

  • Chemotherapy and radiation side effects

  • Stroke rehabilitation

  • Autoimmune conditions

  • HIV support therapy

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