What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is the insertion of nearly hair-thin needles into specific points on the body’s surface.  Developed in China between 3000 - 5000 years ago, acupuncture is best known for treating pain.  However, it treats many other conditions as well, including digestive complaints, women’s health concerns, emotional stress, allergies, asthma, and more.  

Needles are sterile and single use only, and unlike hypodermic needles, acupuncture needles are solid.  Acupuncture typically doesn’t hurt.  One may, however, experience a variety of sensations with acupuncture.  These sensations can include: tingling, warmth, a mild pressure or a feeling like water flowing through you.  Many people feel nothing.  Acupuncture also activates endorphins, which may be one of the reasons why people find it so calming and relaxing.

How can acupuncture help?

Most pain and health problems are caused by imbalances in the body.  The sources of these imbalances are numerous: injuries, stress, over-use, dietary imbalances, too much sitting, lack of rest, etc.  Rather than just treating symptoms, acupuncture works to fix the imbalances at their core level.  When the imbalance is corrected, the body can heal itself. 

In addition to offering great pain relief, acupuncture is also helpful for a variety of internal problems, such as digestive issues, women’s health concerns, emotional stress, allergies, asthma, and more.

One interesting side effect of acupuncture treatments is that people often notice improvements in other areas of their lives as well.  Clients frequently remark that they have more energy, handle stress more easily, sleep better and digest more efficiently.  They also become more aware of the warning signals that arise before they feel bad, which allows them to deal with the problem before it gets worse.

“I saw Cita when nothing else relieved the pain in my shoulder.  For many years I’d had excruciating pain in my upper, right shoulder blade where I seem to carry my fear and worry.  She treated and cured the pain but also gave me numerous ideas for a more centered way to live in which tension might no longer build up in my body.”

S.M.G. – Scappoose, OR

The philosophy behind acupuncture

Acupuncture needles are inserted into points which are found along “energetic” channels that traverse the body.  The Chinese describe these channels as similar to waterways.  Some of these channels, or waterways are larger, like oceans or lakes; others are smaller, like rivers, streams, or creeks.  

As a comparison, we know that Earth’s waterways can be damaged by damming, sediment, flooding, litter, or other pollutants, and that this damage, in turn, affects the balance of nature in and around the impaired waterway.  Similarly, the energetic channels or “waterways” of our bodies are compromised by injuries, illness, stress, overuse, dietary imbalances, environmental toxins and other factors.  When we clear a dam, remove pollutants or reroute flood waters, we help restore health to Earth’s damaged waterways and the surrounding nature.  Similarly, inserting needles into points along the “waterways” or channels of our bodies, along with other Chinese medical healing practices, can help restore a proper flow of energy within the channels, help clear blockages, relieve pain, and improve the overall health of the person being treated. 

 More about energy or qi

The Chinese call the energy that runs through the channels (described above) qi (pronounced “chee”)Qi serves many functions in the body.  It protects from illness, provides warmth, is the source of all movement; it provides nourishment through the food we eat and the air we breathe, and it is the energy that regulates our organs and bodily systems among other things.  Qi can roughly be translated as the universal life energy that is within, around and the matrix of everything.  When qi is abundant and flowing smoothly, a person enjoys robust health.  However, qi can become deficient or stagnant, which leads to health problems such as pain, fatigue, illness, mental/emotional issues, etc.  Acupuncture, herbal medicine and other healing practices from Chinese Medicine can help reestablish a balanced flow of qi in the body, facilitating health and vitality of body, mind and spirit.