Acupuncture is a 3,000 year old Chinese medical practice with a rich history of successful holistic healing. The artful practice uses needles to correct imbalances in the body’s inherent energy – or qi – through channels in the body, known as meridians. These meridians are like rivers flowing deep through the body, nourishing the tissues along its path. If a part of the meridian becomes obstructed, it is like a dam that backs up the flow in other areas. Acupuncture aims to break the dam and redirect the flow of energy so that your body can properly heal itself to its stable nature.
While acupuncture has only been legal in the US for roughly 40 years, many western advocates swear by its powerful benefits – ourselves included . We sought care from one of the most esteemed and innovative holistic healers in Los Angeles, Dr. John J. Kim, and took some notes on the process in an effort to debunk the biggest acupuncture myths and fears. Dr. John J. Kim is the founder of the ReNuMi Wellness Center in Redondo Beach, and has been practicing acupuncture for over 25 years. He was a former chairman on the Acupuncture Board for the state of California, and has dedicated much of his practice to bridging the gap between Eastern and Western medicine. We went under the needle at his new Beverly Hills office (with the coolest Fornasetti wallpaper ever), for a lesson in acupuncture 101 – read on for our notes on what you need to know about the art of undergoing acupuncture.
It Doesn’t Hurt:
We promise. While the needles used for acupuncture range in size, they are much smaller than vaccine needles or injection needles – most are even as small as a tiny hair. When the needles are inserted into points on the body’s meridian lines, you may feel pressure or a mild ache near the needle point which may surprise first timers, but by all means it is not painful.
It is an Ongoing Healing Process:
You don’t walk out of your first acupuncture a healed soul; acupuncture is a treatment process that spans multiple visits and continuous treatment. To feel its full benefits, go regularly and discuss with your acupuncturist your plan for treatment.
It is a Combination of Eastern and Western Medicine:
Most acupuncture patients see the best results when visiting both a western doctor and an acupuncture specialist. Why? Acupuncture is not intended to diagnose illness or injury – it’s a treatment method. Visiting a regular MD can help you identify what your needs are, which will help your acupuncture specialist identify treatment methods.
It Does Not Add Or Subtract:
Unlike most Western medicine, acupuncture does not add or subtract anything to the body. “Acupuncture uses needles to redirect the flow of inherent energy through the body’s meridian lines,” explains Dr. John J. Kim. “You already have this energy inside of you – but sometimes, when one area of your body is in pain, another part is working harder to overcompensate for that pain, disrupting your body’s natural energy flow.”
The needle location will help direct energy either to or from different points on the body, which is why when one area of the body hurts, your acupuncturist may place needles far away from that point so that energy can be dispersed. Your doctor will figure out the parts of your system that need to be adjusted, and may even feel your pulse and neck or look at your tongue before deciding on points to needle.
It is Not Just For Physical Pain:
While acupuncture is known to relieve physical injuries such as athlete sprains, knee and back pain and osteoarthritis, it has also proven to relieve many emotional issues such as depression, insomnia, stress, and in some cases, addiction. Just about everyone makes a great candidate for acupuncture. If you have an ailment, acupuncture can help treat it; and even if you feel well, acupuncture can help you maintain that wellness, boost immunity, improve mood, help you get better sleep and manage stress.
Even after one visit with Dr. John J. Kim, our mood and energy levels were improved. Don’t take our word for it – there are countless clinical trials that prove that acupuncture works, and millions of people who have had their lives changed forever by receiving treatments. While many people only believe in, acknowledge or understand western medical practices as options of treatment, acupuncture has a long list of success stories and dates back further than many western medical practices.
It Opens Your Mind:
In many ways, acupuncture forces you to think differently about your body and its ability to heal itself. While western medical practices rely on treatments that work with your body, acupuncture uses your body’s own natural energy to heal itself. And although acupuncture is still a less sought-after medical treatment, it is quickly gaining popularity due to its history of success and strong advocates. Acupuncture helps us understand our body in more complex ways than just the general physical sense. Ultimately, treatment and therapy is a game of finding what works best with your body, but it may be worth it to give acupuncture a chance!