Acupuncture in Hawaii – Healing One Needle at a Time

December 8, 2010, 4:05 PM HST · Updated December 8, 4:05 PM
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In addition to top-rated medical facilities in Hawaii, the islands are also known for their wide range of alternative medicine offerings. One of the most popular treatments performed here is acupuncture, with specialists in this ancient Chinese medicine found throughout the islands. Acupuncture uses very fine needles inserted into strategic locations of the body, for the purpose of balancing the flow of energy so the body is better equipped to heal itself. Even Western practitioners have tuned into the potential health benefits of acupuncture, often using it as a complementary treatment to other forms of traditional medicine.

How Does Acupuncture Work?

Traditional acupuncturists believed that a natural energy, known as qi, flows through the body via pathways known as meridians. When these pathways became constricted, the energy could not flow as freely and pain and sickness would result. By manipulating these meridians using acupuncture needles, practitioners believed they could release the flow of the qi so that the body was better equipped to heal itself.

Western practitioners often use acupuncture in conjunction with other traditional medical treatments, because they believe the acupuncture points often stimulate nerves, muscles and connective tissue to maximize blood flow. The stimulation may also release the body’s natural pain-fighting hormones, so patients can enjoy relief from discomfort caused by chronic conditions or medical treatment.

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What does it Treat?

Acupuncture is used to treat a wide range of conditions, including but not limited to:

  • Headaches and migraines
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Lower back pain
  • Menstrual cramps and labor pain
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Dental pain after procedures

Acupuncture has also been effective in reducing nausea in some chemotherapy patients. Eastern doctors use acupuncture to treat even more ailments, including colds, addictions, asthma and infertility.

What is a Treatment Like?

Acupuncture treatments are surprisingly quick and nearly painless. Most acupuncturists take a complete medical history of the patient prior to treatment, including lifestyle habits, diet and areas of concern. An acupuncturist will also conduct a physical exam, noting the patient’s skin color, voice and tongue coating. Three pulse points on the wrist are also examined, to assess the overall health of the 12 meridians.

Once the examination is complete, the acupuncturist will begin treatment by placing needles in precise locations of the body. The needles usually remain for about 20-30 minutes, depending on the specific treatment. Other treatments might be done at the same time, such as herbal medication or cupping, placing glass suction cups on the skin to further increase the flow of blood and qi.

There are many acupuncture practitioners in Hawaii today, with a large concentration located in the Historic Chinatown District on Oahu. However, other islands also offer acupuncture treatments, through a number of qualified, experienced Eastern practitioners. Find a practitioner near you and learn how acupuncture can enhance your health and wellbeing.

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