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What is Acupuncture?

Image of a model's head and torso with acupuncture points and meridians displayed.Several thousand years ago, East Asian practitioners discovered that the body forms disharmonies as a result of the various physical and mental stresses of life. Oriental medical theory explains these disharmonies as an imbalance of opposing forces called yin and yang. This imbalance disrupts the movement of the body's vital energy (qi) along the meridian pathways, which are channels through which the body's energy is thought to flow. Acupuncture restores the smooth flow of qi. By inserting and manipulating needles at specific points on the body, the goal is to return the body to its natural balance and promote the body's ability to heal itself. Your body is an amazing symphony of delicately balanced processes - just think about all of the amazing things it does healing a simple paper cut!  When qi is not flowing freely, these processes do not function as well as they should.  Acupuncture can help restore the body's ability to more fully access it's own healing resources.

What Does Acupuncture Feel Like?

Photo of ten acupuncture needles laying in a blue-green mosaic inlaid dish.Many first-time patients are concerned that acupuncture needles will feel like hypodermic injections at the doctor’s office. They won't. Acupuncture uses hair-thin, flexible needles that you will hardly feel when I insert them. When I gently stimulate the needles they may produce a unique sensation that Oriental medicine calls de qi. Patients often describe de qi as a heavy, achy pressure, or spreading, traveling feeling. You may also feel an "electrical" sensation moving down the meridian pathways, though this is less common. Most patients find these acupuncture sensations deeply satisfying and leave the treatment feeling relaxed both mentally and physically.

How Many Treatments Will I Need?

The benefits of acupuncture are cumulative, so more then one treatment is necessary. For acute conditions you can expect to have 10 to 15 treatments, but you will usually begin to feel relief after just the first few. Chronic conditions may take longer to respond, depending on the type, severity, and duration of the condition. Preventative treatments and treatments for general well-being may also be scheduled on an as-needed basis.

Is Acupuncture Safe?

Photo of an unopened light purple flower against a green leaf background.Yes. Acupuncture is used by millions of Americans every year. Acupuncturists are required to undergo extensive education, including detailed study of human anatomy and training in Clean Needle Technique. I attended a Masters Program in Acupuncture, passed comprehensive exams, and am licensed by the Maryland Board of Acupuncture, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. As required by law, I use pre-sterilized, disposable, single-use needles to ensure your complete safety.

Your First Visit

Before you arrive for your first acupuncture appointment I will ask you to complete a comprehensive intake form. The acupuncture intake form asks questions about your current state of health, past illnesses, and family history. These questions are important because the holistic approach of Oriental medicine takes everything into account. Your current symptoms may not seem related to past health issues, but our bodies are complex landscapes and everything that happens to them leaves its mark.

Photo of a model's head and torso with acupuncture points and meridians overlaid.After reviewing your intake form, we will discuss your condition, and I will perform an examination, which may include checking your pulse and tongue, which are just two examples of examinations conducted in Oriental medicine. The acupuncture points I choose will depend on your condition, but you can expect approximately 10 to 20 needles. Once the needles are inserted, I will leave you to lie comfortably for 30 to 45 minutes with the needles in place. Many people find acupuncture treatment deeply relaxing, and it is not uncommon for patients to fall asleep during this time.

What Can Acupuncture Treat?

Acupuncture works by stimulating and activating the body's own healing powers, so it can be beneficial for many health conditions. The World Health Organization (WHO) has documented many symptoms, diseases, and conditions that have been shown in controlled clinical trials to be effectively treated with acupuncture. Below are some common conditions I can treat, but please feel free to call or email me about your specific health condition. I specialize in pain management, including acute pain, chronic pain, and acute injuries. For traumatic injuries, once your condition has been stabilized, acupuncture is an excellent resource for promoting a speedy recovery by helping minimize painful conditions and boosting the body's amazing healing resources.

Line drawing of the back aspect of a human body with acupuncture meridians and points detailed on the drawing.

Pain

  • Sports injuries
  • Muscle pain
  • Back, neck and shoulder pain
  • Leg, ankle and foot pain
  • Arm, wrist and hand pain
  • Knee pain
  • Hip pain
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Tennis Elbow
  • Repetitive strain injuries
  • Jaw pain (TMJ)
  • Dental pain
  • Sciatica
  • Arthritis
  • Tendonitis
  • Myofascial pain syndrome
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Postoperative pain

Digestive Issues & Nausea

  • Heartburn, Acid Reflux
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Chronic indigestion
  • Chronic loose stools or constipation
  • Peptic ulcer
  • Acute and chronic gastritis
  • Morning sickness
  • Nausea and vomiting

Mental and Emotional Wellbeing

  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Depression

Respiratory Complaints

  • Sinusitis
  • Allergies

Reproductive Issues

  • Infertility
  • Increased efficacy of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)

 

George S. Barnosky, L.Ac., M.Ac.

Phone - 443.794.7552

george@compassionatedragonacupuncture.com