Acupuncture Therapy

What is acupuncture therapy?Acupuncture Therapy-zen garden

Acupuncture Therapy promotes natural healing of the body by inserting thin needles into specific points along its meridians.

The science and art of acupuncture involves insertion of needles into specific points along the meridians of the body. Acupuncture forms a branch of Traditional Chinese Medicine, which originated in China over 5000 years ago. Currently, acupuncture is a safe and effective natural therapy and an increasingly popular form of healthcare.  It is the fastest growing form of healthcare in America.

The major benefits of acupuncture:

– Drug-free pain relief

– Disease prevention

– Treats the cause/root as well as the symptoms

– Holistic approach to illness, linking body, mind and emotions

– Effectively treats many common ailments

How does acupuncture work?

Many people who have experienced the therapeutic effects of Acupuncture will vow that it truly does work. The common yet difficult question that follows on from this is, “How does Acupuncture Work?”

It’s important to note there are two important explanations to this question, to consider. These are the Traditional Chinese Medicine Explanation and the Western Scientific Explanation.

Traditional Chinese Medicine

acupuncturesymbolTraditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is an integrated system, which has been used for thousands of years to treat injury and illness. Acupuncture forms one of the key components to the TCM approach to curing disease and disorders of the body.

In the TCM system of medicine, the body is seen as a delicate balance of two opposing and inseparable forces: yin and yang. Yin represents the cold, slow, or passive principle, while yang represents the hot, excited, or active principle.

TCM likens the human body to a highly complex electrical circuit. Like any electrical circuit it must be kept in good working order if it is to function effectively, and if the circuit breaks down the result is illness. Among the major assumptions in TCM are that health is achieved by maintaining the body in a “balanced state” and that disease is due to an internal imbalance of yin and yang. This imbalance leads to blockage in the flow of qi (pronounced “chee”, meaning vital energy) along pathways known as meridians.

TCM theorizes that it is essential for qi, as well as blood to circulate in a continuous and unobstructed manner for good health of the mind and body. Acupuncture meridians or channels are the pathways through which the energy flows throughout the body. Acupuncture points lie along the meridians and are the holes that allow entry into the acupuncture meridians. The acupuncture points provide gateways to influence, redirect, increase, or decrease body’s vital substances, qi (energy) & blood, thus correcting many of the body’s imbalances.

Western scientific explanation

westernsymbolCurrently, there is not one western scientific theory that collaboratively explains all of the physiological mechanisms underlying the effects of Acupuncture. This is because Acupuncture has a variety of therapeutic effects on the body thus the action must vary depending on the type of pathology. However it is proposed that acupuncture primarily produces its effects through regulating the nervous system.

Regulation of the nervous system aids the activity of pain-killing biochemicals such as endorphins and immune system cells at specific sites in the body. In addition, studies have shown that acupuncture may alter brain chemistry by changing the release of neurotransmitters and neurohormones. These affect the parts of the central nervous system related to sensation and involuntary body functions, such as immune reactions and processes that regulate a person’s blood pressure, blood flow, and body temperature.

Thousands upon thousands of persons have studied disease. Almost no one has studied health ~Adelle Davis

In summary

Scientists have deduced a number of theories from observing a number of individual clinical effects of acupuncture treatment. These theories and the observed clinical effects on which the theories are based can be summarized as the following:


Augmentation of Immunity Theory Increased Immune Function & Resistance to Disease

Endorphin TheoryReduction of Pain

Neurotransmitter Theory – Inflammation Reduction & Promotion of Feelings of Well Being

Circulatory TheoryImproved Circulation & Smooth Muscle Relaxation

Gate Control Theory – Increased Pain Tolerance

Motor Gate Theory – Hasten Motor Recovery from Paralysis

Homeostatic or Regulatory Effect – Regulation of Body’s Homeostasis to Disease or Abnormal Conditions

Bioelectric Theory – Stimulation of cells of tissue growth & repair

How does acupuncture feel?

Prior to their first treatment, many people do not believe that acupuncture can be painless.  Different sensations such as warmth or pressure may be felt, but the energetic sensation differs from pain.  People often comment that the feeling is unfamiliar but pleasant and relaxing. Many patients are so relaxed they fall asleep during the treatment. Following treatment it is common to feel a tremendous sense of relaxation and calm.

Number of treatments

The benefits of acupuncture build with each treatment. A typical course of treatment can range from 6-12 treatments. As each person is unique, the number of treatments will vary. For most conditions, a series of treatments is required to achieve maximum benefit.  After your initial evaluation, you will be given recommendations on the number and frequency of treatments.

Do I have to believe in acupuncture for it to work?

No. Acupuncture works whether or not you think it will.  Acupuncture is even used successfully on animals and children. They do not understand or believe in the process yet they get better anyway. Of course a positive attitude helps with any type of therapy but it is not necessary to believe in acupuncture (or to feel it working) for it to work.

What will my first treatment be like?

Upon arrival, you can expect to fill out some paperwork. Together, we will go through your medical history form and complete a Chinese medical intake to determine the root of your condition.

In Chinese medicine, we also use the tongue and pulse as diagnostic tools. A treatment plan is made based upon your history, intake, tongue, and pulse. You will lie down on a massage table, get comfortable, and the needles will be inserted.

– Make sure to eat something light an hour or two before arriving

– Try to avoid the intake of caffeine or pain medications

– Wear loose fitting clothes

– Bring a list of medications you are taking


Greendale Wellness Center
Monica Judge, L. Ac., Dipl. Ac., MSOM, BS Nutrition

5651 Broad Street
Greendale, WI 53129