Acupuncture: A Primer


Acupuncture is one of the treatment modalities under Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practiced by the Chinese for over 2,000 years. It makes use of thin, solid, sterile stainless steel needles inserted into certain points of the body.

These acupuncture points are located in small depressions in the skin and are considered gateways, subtle portals of the body that are opened and closed to adjust its dynamic. They were compared to the gates of Chinese cities in ancient times where these were opened to receive sustenance and closed to keep harm away. Currently, acupuncture points have been confirmed by research.

What diseases/disorders can be treated by acupuncture?

Acupuncture ChartUpper Respiratory Tract

  • Acute sinusitis
  • Acute rhinitis
  • Acute tonsillitis
  • Common colds

Respiratory System

  • Acute bronchitis
  • Bronchial asthma (most effective in children and most patient without complications)

Disorders of the Mouth

  • Toothache
  • Post-extraction pain
  • Gingivitis
  • Acute and chronic pharyngitis

Disorders of the Eyes and Ears

  • Central retinitis
  • Myopia (in children)
  • Cataract (without complication)

Deafness (without complication)

  • Ringing in the ears
  • Earaches

Gastro-intestinal disorders

  • Spasms of esophagus and cardia
  • Hiccups
  • Acute and chronic gastritis
  • Acute and chronic colitis
  • Acute bacillary dysentery
  • Constipation

Mental and Emotional

  • Anxiety and stress
  • Depression
  • Insomnia

Neurological and Skeletal

  • Headache and migraine
  • Facial palsy (early stage within 6 months)
  • Trigeminal neuralgia
  • Cervico brachial syndrome
  • Frozen shoulder
  • Tennis elbow
  • Sciatica

Genito-urinary and Reproductive

  • Impotence
  • Infertility
  • Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
  • Vaginitis
  • Irregular period
  • Morning sickness


  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
  • Post surgical recovery
  • Signs of aging
  • Decrease immunity
  • Withdrawal from addictions (such as cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, coffee and food)

How does acupuncture work?

Current researches reflect the state of understanding from the perspective of Western medical sciences. Acupuncture inhibits pain (through neurological and hormonal mechanisms).

It also directly affects the following:

  • Peripheral micro-circulation
  • Rhythm and stroke volume of the heart
  • Blood pressure
  • Levels of circulating immunoglobulins
  • Gastrointestinal peristalsis
  • Secretion of gastric acids
  • Production of red and white blood cells (possibly by activating the homeostatic function of the autonomic nervous system

Acupuncture seems to adjust the physiological processes of the body. From the classical Chinese medical point of view, Chinese medicine equates health with maintaining the dynamic balance and harmony of Qi (life force), Blood, and Body Fluids in the body to ensure their smooth and constant movement.

When stagnation occurs, the processes of elimination and regeneration deteriorate, constituting the basic condition underlying many forms of illness. Overwork, inability to cope with stress, sleeping late, and unbalanced diet are among adverse lifestyle practices that affect the body’s balance and harmony, resulting in dis-ease.

Pain and swelling, for example, are considered to be a result of congested Qi, Blood, or Body Fluids.

Acupuncture then works by the process of stirring up and moving the Qi so that stasis is overcome restoring circulation, reducing swelling, alleviating pain, and promoting healing.

What am I to expect in an acupuncture treatment?

The acupuncturist, in making a diagnosis, considers the patient’s present and past symptoms, inherited constitution, social and natural environment, lifestyle, thoughts, emotions, and relationships and involves observation of the face and tongue and physical palpation of the body and pulse.

Then, the patient is positioned properly and the chosen acupuncture points on the skin disinfected.

Acupuncture needles are then inserted and retained for 20 to 30 minutes.

What will I feel?

The needles will penetrate anywhere from a fraction of an half inch to an inch, depending on the thickness of the muscle at the site. Minimal pain is expected on insertion since the needles are extremely fine.

Sensations such as tingling, heaviness, soreness, and pressure are common and desirable since they indicate that Qi is present.Sensations may occur around the points; some may feel the Qi moving in areas far from the point of insertion.

Response to treatment is highly individual. A sense of relief of symptoms, well-being and relaxation are usual. After treatment, one may want to continue resting or may feel animated, although sometimes this sense of relief or invigoration is delayed until several days following the treatment.

After treatment, one may want to continue resting or may feel animated, although sometimes this sense of relief or invigoration is delayed until several days following the treatment. Most people are relieved to find that treatments are not especially uncomfortable and, in fact, look forward to the experience.

How long will it take?

Duration and frequency of treatment vary depending on the severity and duration of complaint and the extent of which lifestyles patterns exacerbate the condition. A session lasts about an hour and is scheduled as often as every day or as little as twice a month.

As symptoms improve, fewer visits are required, individual progress being the yardstick. Simple ailments such as cold, tension headaches and sprains, when treated early can be resolve in 3 to 6 sessions. Rheumatoid arthritis, cystic ovaries, or asthma may require treatment over 3 months to 2 years.

What must I do before an acupuncture treatment?

It is important to do the following:

  • To take a bath prior, to minimize the possibility of an infection, since acupuncture is an invasive procedure
  • To refrain from wearing jewelry
  • To wear loose clothes
  • Not to have acupuncture when one is very tired, hungry or full, drunk, or after intercourse

What must I do during an acupuncture treatment?


If you feel any of the following after being punctured: dizzy, chilly, feeling faint, or short of breath, kindly inform your acupuncturist right away so that the needles can be removed promptly.

The previously mentioned symptoms are due to “needle shock” which results from severe stress or anxiety of a patient during his/her first acupuncture session. This seldom happens if the patient is punctured in a supine position.

Please do not hesitate to tell your acupuncturist if you are feeling any sharp or unusual pain while being treated. Once the acupuncture needles are inserted, please avoid any sudden or forceful movements to prevent bleeding of the acupuncture needles.

What must I do after acupuncture treatment?

It is preferred that patients rest after an acupuncture session.

Patients are also advised not to wash or wet the areas that were punctured for the next 2 to 4 hours to allow for re-harmonization of the Qi at the acupuncture site.

What are the other methods of treatment with acupuncture?

  • Moxibustion uses focused heat on acupuncture points, generated by burning “moxa” the compressed dried leaves of mugwort, or Artemisia vulgaris, suitable for extreme Yang Deficiency or Cold conditions.
  • Tuina is a traditional system of massage and is often used to treat infants, children and elderly who may be too sensitive to tolerate acupuncture.
  • Ventosa or Cupping uses vacuum suction with cups, and removes stagnation of Qi at an acupuncture site.
  • Chinese Herbal Medicine makes use of herbs to address underlying conditions defined by Traditional Chinese Medical Diagnosis.


2017 Schedule for Acupuncture and Tui Na Massage Training Courses