Acupuncture is available at Family Physicians of Western Colorado

with Dr. Christine Welsh

The potential of acupuncture and Oriental medicine to treat thousands of common ailments is recognized by the World Health Organization.

Acupuncture is widely used today to alleviate the following symptoms:

Dental pain
Labor pain
Back pain
Joint pain
Neck pain
Menstrual cramps
Facial tics
Muscle stiffness

Acupuncture is one of the world’s oldest, most widely practiced systems of healing. Originating in China some 3,500 years ago, it has become common in the United States only in the last three decades.

The idea behind the power of acupuncture to relieve pain and disease is based on the human body’s energy model. On specific pathways called meridians, vital energy or Qi (pronounced “chee”) flows through the body. An internal organ is associated with each pathway.

In the body, discomfort or disorder arises when there is a deficit or an energy imbalance in the meridians. Specific positions around the meridians are acupuncture sites. It has been recorded over the centuries that the insertion of a very fine needle at a given point has a very predictable effect on the energy moving through that point, restoring the meridian equilibrium.

At these points, modern science was able to calculate the electrical charge, confirming the position of the meridians that were traced out in ancient times. Continued research has shown that acupuncture is capable of improving circulation, decreasing inflammation, and inducing endorphins and enkephalins to be released — the body’s own opiate-like pain relief chemicals.

Acupuncture needles

Acupuncture needles are strong and hair-thin. Depending on the type of treatment being administered, they are inserted at much shallower depths than hypodermic needles, typically no more than half an inch to an inch. Acupuncture needles are sterile, single-use, and disposable. Therefore, among patients, there is no possibility of contamination.

In order to treat a disorder, there are several hypotheses about how to pick a combination of points. Some of the body’s most strong points are found below the knees and elbows to restore balance. There are many microsystems that have formed, in addition to the twenty known meridians that form a network over the body. To treat addictions, ear acupuncture is commonly used. There are several mappings of scalp acupuncture.

A system of points where the whole body is depicted on the hand was created by the Koreans.

To evaluate a treatment plan, a systematic approach is taken. In order to assess whether the body is out of balance, the practitioner will go through a series of questions that will examine all bodily functions. The pulse is taken on both wrists and much information about what is going on in the body can be determined by looking at the color and shape of the tongue body and tongue coating. A treatment plan, not just the symptoms, would aim to resolve the root cause of a problem.

The number of treatments necessary to treat a particular condition varies. In general, an acute condition will respond more quickly than a chronic one, possibly being resolved in one or two visits. Call 970-245-1220 for a consultation.