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Acupuncture is a method of encouraging the body to promote natural healing and to improve health and overall well-being. It has been used for many thousands of years, particularly in the Orient, and has become more prominent in the West in recent decades. Acupuncture involves the insertion of needles at very precise acupuncture points. Sometimes heat or electrical stimulation is applied to the needles to augment the level of activation at these points. Most people report feeling relaxed both mentally and physically after their treatments.



"There is sufficient evidence of acupuncture's value to expand its use in to conventional medicine." - National Institute of Health, Consensus on Acupuncture

Acupuncture is recognized by leading national and international health organizations to be effective in the treatment of a wide variety of medical problems. Some of the health concerns that we treat with acupuncture are described below.*

Acute and Chronic Pain
Neurological Conditions
Digestive Problems
Women's Health
Men's Health
Children's Health
Mental and Emotional Well-Being
Addiction Recovery
Immune Support and Respiratory Problems
Supportive Care for Cancer Treatment

*To learn more about the health issues that are addressed
at Integrative Therapies, please see Conditions We Treat.

Within the Eastern worldview, the human being is a microcosm of nature

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), acupuncture is explained through its influence on channels of energy called qi (pronounced "chee") that run in regular patterns through the body and over its surface. These energy channels, called meridians, are like rivers flowing through the body to irrigate and nourish the tissues. Where a river flows, it transports life-giving water that provides nourishment to the land, plants and people. Similarly, where meridian pathways flow, they bring life-giving qi that provides nourishment to every cell, gland, organ and tissue in the body. An obstruction in the movement of these energy rivers is like a dam that blocks the flow in one part of the body and restricts it in others.

From the Oriental medicine perspective, qi can be disrupted through physical and emotional trauma, stress, overexertion and seasonal changes. Poor diet and lack of exercise are also among the many things that can influence the quality, quantity or balance of qi. Normally, when a blockage or imbalance occurs, the body easily bounces back. However, when the disruption is prolonged or excessive, or if the body is in a weakened state, illness, pain, or disease can set in.

To help restore the internal ecosystem of the body to a state of health and balance, qi is influenced by needling acupuncture points along specific meridians. From the TCM perspective, acupuncture needles unblock the obstructions at the 'dams' and re-establish a regular flow through the meridians. Acupuncture treatments can therefore help the body's internal organs to correct imbalances in their digestion, absorption and energy production activities, as well as, promote circulation of their energies through the meridians.

Current Western theories on the mechanisms of acupuncture

Many are comfortable with the traditional Chinese explanation for the mechanisms by which acupuncture works or at least can resonate with the idea of energy flow and metaphorical descriptions emulating nature. However, others seek more modern or scientific models to explain the beneficial effects of acupuncture. In general, the scientific point of view is that the needling of the acupuncture points stimulates the nervous system to release chemicals in the muscles, spinal cord and brain. These chemicals will either change the experience of pain or they will trigger the release of other chemicals and hormones which influence the body's own internal regulating system. Below are some specific theories or mechanisms of action that are supported by research and purported to be at play in accounting for the health benefits of acupuncture:

Other Oriental Medicine Therapies:

Moxibustion involves the warming of acupuncture points by burning the herb mugwort, (often called "moxa" for short). This can be done indirectly by using a "moxa stick" held over the surface of the skin or by placing the dry herbs directly on top of the needle. Moxa increases blood flow to the area and warms the tissues. From the Chinese medicine perspective, this not only increases circulation but enhances the energetic function of the acupuncture point.


Cupping is an ancient technique in which specialized cups are applied to the skin and held in place by suction. Traditional cupping, sometimes referred to as fire cupping, uses heat to create a vacuum-like suction inside of glass cups. More recently, plastic and silicone cups with small pumps have become available. Suction draws the superficial tissue into the cup, bringing blood into the area. Cupping is typically not painful but it may leave a bruise that lasts several days. This technique is often applied to areas of the neck, shoulders and back. It can be a useful tool when treating tight, sore muscles.

Tui Na means "pushing grasping" and is a form of Chinese bodywork. It involves specific hand movements that are intended to facilitate the movement of qi through the meridian channels. It can be effective for treating conditions involving muscles and connective tissues or malalignments that may develop through overuse or injury. To learn more about other forms of bodywork, please see our section on manual therapy and massage.


What can I expect on my first visit and during subsequent treatments?
What kind of needles are used? Do they hurt?
How will I feel after my session? Are there any side effects?
How many treatments will I need?
Is it okay to do other treatments at the same time?
Does insurance cover acupuncture?
How do I get started?


7E Oak Branch Drive    •    Greensboro, NC 27407    (336) 294-0910