Jim Galbiati, M.Ac.
Originating in ancient China, acupuncture is one of the oldest medical systems in the world. It has developed from practical experience over thousands of years. It is used by one third of the world as a primary health care system and has been endorsed by the Surgical Devices committee of the FDA, the National Institute of Health (NIH), and the World Health Organization (WHO) of the United Nations.
Five Element Acupuncture works with the natural energies inherent in all living things to promote the body's ability to heal itself. This life energy, called qi (pronounced chee), courses through the body in channels called meridians. When the qi in the body is abundant and flowing freely, health is promoted. When the qi is weak or obstructed we become susceptible to disease, not only of our physical bodies but also our mental clarity, enthusiasm for life, and sense of purpose. Five Element Acupuncture is a means of assessing the condition of the vital energy and restoring its proper balance.
Acupuncture can help you to become and remain well. Traditionally a preventive medicine, acupuncture was used to correct small imbalances before they became more serious disease with pain and dysfunction. The ancient Chinese paid their doctors when they were well and stopped paying when they were ill. For a person who is ill or who suffers some pain, Five Element Acupuncture can help to restore the balance of energy that is the basis of health and the sense of well being that is an integral part of health.
Acupuncture is effective for a surprising variety of conditions; headaches, pain, fatigue, insomnia, arthritis, depression, anxiety, and other complaints are often improved or alleviated with acupuncture. Pain and disease, whether physical, mental, or emotional in nature, result from an imbalance or blockage of energy. Pain and disease are distress signals that a blockage or imbalance exists. Five Element Acupuncture treats the underlying imbalance that led to pain and disease. Patients frequently report improvement in health problems other than those for which they entered treatment. When the body's balance is restored, the body can begin to heal itself.
Your initial visit begins with an extensive interview which includes your health and personal history and a physical examination. This is designed to fit your current symptoms and treatment goals into the context of your entire health and life history. The current imbalance is often a continuation of earlier conditions which do not seem at all related except in the context of this diagnostic system.
The first takes about an hour to an hour and a half, and subsequent treatments about 45 minutes. Initially you will be seen once or twice a week in order to create an energetic stability which can be maintained between treatments. As this stability is achieved, usually after eight to twelve weeks, the interval between treatments is extended. Of course, frequency of treatments varies with each individual. Although some conditions can be alleviated very rapidly with acupuncture, many conditions have taken years to establish themselves and can only be relieved with slow steady progress. Acupuncture treatment is a process, the process of becoming and staying well. Most people will know within six to eight treatments if acupuncture will benefit them.
Acupuncture needles are much smaller and thinner than the conventional needles used for injections. The shaft is flexible and very thin, about as thick as a hair. I use the finest quality, pre- sterilized, disposable needles.
When they are inserted in the skin you may feel a slight prick, or perhaps nothing at all. When the needle contacts your qi, or vital energy, you may feel various odd sensations. Descriptions range from painful to tickling, from a warm breeze to an electric current. The sensation varies from patient to patient, from day to day, and from point to point.
I use as few needles as possible. The energy in the meridians, qi, is also thought of as the life force. I interfere with the movement of this energy as little as possible. The tendency of a person is always toward health. Sometimes, because of some trauma, a point or a meridian becomes blocked. This is when the practitioner of acupuncture can step in and assist the natural tendency of the body to heal itself.
While Five Element Acupuncture is concerned with the whole person and addresses itself to many levels of function, it is also a particular form of treatment with its own limitations.
For some conditions, conventional medical treatment should be the first choice, or should be used in conjunction with acupuncture. Acupuncture treatment often enhances other forms of treatment. For example, acupuncture may allow your medication to be more effective with fewer side effects[reference]. Acupuncture can speed healing after surgery, and support the inner morale and sense of well being needed for recovery.
The time needed for recovery varies greatly from one patient to the next. Some patients notice improvements immediately, while others may take several weeks or months before noticeable improvement shows. Five Element Acupuncture works by stimulating the body's healing energies. The first signs of healing are often subtle changes, such as changes in sleeping patterns, eating habits and desires, appetite and digestion, energy levels, and general enthusiasm for life.
If a person comes with a specific problem, it might not disappear immediately. After treatment all sorts of difficulties may seem a lot less difficult, and you may feel better inside. As treatment progresses, this subtle balance will hold for a longer and longer period of time and the treatments will be spaced farther and farther apart until no longer necessary, or necessary only at a maintenance level. Depending on the severity of the condition as well as other factors, some patients may expect complete recovery, while for others, an improvement or even stability may be the only realistic goal. After evaluation or perhaps a few treatments I can sometimes make an estimate of recovery possibility.