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About Acupuncture

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The ancient Chinese believed that there is a universal life energy called Qi present in every living creature. This energy is said to circulate throughout the body along specific pathways that are called meridians. As long as this energy flows freely through the meridians, health is maintained. However, if the flow of energy is blocked, the system is disrupted, resulting in pain or illness.
By simply inserting and manipulating fine needles into specific points on the body, acupuncture works to “re-program” and restore normal functions by stimulating certain points on the meridians in order to free up the Qi energy. An alternative form of acupuncture can also be performed without needles, using finger pressure (acupressure) or a hand-held electronic device. This is especially useful for treating children or anyone who is uncomfortable with needles.

Some frequently asked questions about acupuncture

The history of acupuncture


Acupuncture has a clearly recorded history of about 2,000 years, but some authorities claim that it has been practiced in China for some 4,000 years. The Chinese believe that the practice of acupuncture began during the Stone Age when stone knives or sharp edged tools, described by the character 'Bian', were used to puncture and drain abscesses. In fact the Chinese character 'Bian' means the 'use of a sharp edged stone to treat disease', and the modern Chinese character 'Bi', representing a disease of pain, is almost certainly derived from the use of 'Bian stones' for the treatment of painful complaints.

The origin of Chinese medicine is a fascinating story and acupuncture represents only one facet of their medical system. The first recorded attempt at conceptualizing and treating disease dates back to about 1500 BC during the Shang dynasty. Tortoise shells with inscriptions dating from that time have been found, and it is thought that these were used for divination in the art of healing. The philosophical basis of much of the very early Chinese medicine seems to have been to seek harmony between the living and their dead ancestors, and the good and evil spirits that inhabited the earth.

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Which illnesses and conditions can be treated with acupuncture?


Homeopathy and acupuncture can be used to help people with a wide range of illnesses and conditions, including:

• over-active immune systems
• sports injuries
• chronic conditions
• recurring minor illnesses
• surgery support and healing
• winter flu, coughs or colds
• sore throats, tonsillitis, frequent colds and infections
• constipation, diarrhea or other digestive problems including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
• low self-confidence
• obsessive/compulsive behaviour
• apathy, unhappiness, discontentment, mood swings, irritability, loss of motivation, depression
• stress management, performance anxiety, exam nerves
• grief
• anger
• social and other phobias
• panic attacks
• insomnia
• seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
• addictions
• headaches, migraines
• weak memory, forgetfulness, poor concentration
• degenerative conditions like Alzheimer's
• chronic fatigue
• eczema, psoriasis, acne and other skin problems
• candida overgrowth (thrush and yeast infections)
• ingrown toenails
• alopecia (baldness)
• infertility
• pregnancy and childbirth
• PMT or PMS, complaints relating to menopause
• joint problems
• autistic spectrum disorders
• HIV/AIDS
• multiple sclerosis (MS)
• piles
• lifestyle changes
• insulin resistance
• non-insulin dependent diabetes

If you do not see your condition in the list above, please contact Dr. Barreto at Aspen Therapy Clinic for more information.

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Who can benefit from acupuncture treatments?


Anyone can benefit from acupuncture treatments. 

For those who dislike needles or for young children, Dr. Barreto also offers

    • Electroacupuncture: a small instrument is used to generate a tiny electric current , which can be used instead of acupuncture needles

    • Acupressure:  fingertips are used instead of acupuncture needles
    • Auriculotherapy: different parts of the external ear are stimulated using fingertip pressure



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Is acupuncture safe?


Yes. Acupuncture and homeopathy are very safe for people of all ages, even for pregnant and sensitive patients. There is no danger of addiction or toxicity. Both modalities can also be used to treat animals.

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What happens in a typical acupuncture session with Dr. Barreto?


The information about the patient is always important, not only about the main concern, for this on the medical history includes questions related with environment, modalities, emotional situations, sleep, exercise and other aspects of the patient’s life.

Practitioners take into account body language and tone of voice, and will ask about urine, sensitivity to temperature and seasons, digestive problems, eating and sleeping habits, and emotional stress.

After this specific needles are placed in any of over one thousand locations on the body. However, calls for no more than ten to twelve per treatment. In fact, the more skilful the acupuncturist, the fewer the needles he will need to use. ESSENTIALLY, acupuncture is painless. But a slight pricking sensation may be felt when needles are inserted, and passes quickly.

All the needles are presterilized and DISPOSABLE.

The amount of time of each session is about 50 minutes.

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Do I still need to see my physician?


Yes. It’s wise to maintain your relationship with your physician, as he/she is able to provide a diagnosis of your condition, and can order investigative tests that a homeopath or acupuncturist cannot provide. Many people who explore the options provided by alternative medicine are already taking conventional medication with the goal of reducing or eliminating the medication. With the proper remedy and treatment plan, this may be possible, but this depends on your condition and must be done with great care. Dr. Barreto prefers to work in an integrated way with your physician if possible.

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More information about the principles behind acupuncture


Acupuncture is among the oldest healing practices in the world. Is an ancient Chinese discipline that treats disease by balancing the flow of energy in the body.
It is based on the idea that everyone is born with a certain amount of energy, which moves through the body along 12 channels called meridians.
Each meridian is linked to specific internal organs and organ systems.
If this energy is blocked a disease would be occur.
Acupuncture uses needles to unblock the meridians and let the energy move again, allowing the body to heal itself.
Acupuncture views the human body not only as an integrated whole,
but also inseparable from nature. This is a holistic view: Body, soul, mind, and universe.

CONDITIONS BENEFITED BY ACUPUNCTURE


The World Health Organization has cited 104 different conditions
that acupuncture can treat including migraine, sinusitis, the common cold, tonsillitis, asthma, addictions, myopia, duodenal ulcer, gastrointestinal disorders, neuralgia, sciatica, and osteoarthritis.
Acupuncture has also been found to be effective in the treatment of a variety of rheumatoid conditions, hormonal imbalances, depression, anxiety, and other disorders.
One important use is like a natural pain relief, stimulating the release of endorphins and enkephalins (the natural pain-killing chemicals).

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