Get On Point

Acupuncture has been a holistic healing method for several thousands of years and here Austin-based acupuncturist Andra Millian, L.Ac. shares her insight on the benefits of the ancient technique of aligning balance, energy and healing.

Most people know that acupuncture is a type of medical treatment within Oriental medicine, which involves gently inserting very fine, sterile needles into the skin to stimulate specific energy points, called acupoints, along the surface of the body. Traditional Chinese acupuncture focuses on restoring a balanced, harmonious energy flow and in doing so, helps the body to heal itself.

In Chinese theory, a key principle governing radiant as gold health is the unobstructed flow of energy known as Qi (pronounced Chee) between our organs along a series of pathways called meridians. When your Qi becomes blocked, insufficient or built up, it can lead to illness or imbalances in the body. One can liken this build up or blockage of Qi to rivers that flood and cause disasters or, in the case of insufficient Qi, to an electrical grid short-circuiting and causing blackouts. Western science reasons that acupuncture needles interact with our nervous system, triggering the release of hormone-like chemicals that affect our mood, perception of pain and immune response.

How Does Acupuncture Feel?

Acupuncture needles differ altogether from the hypodermic needles we are familiar with. In western – (allopathic) medicine, HYPODERMIC NEEDLES are used to perforate flesh in order to administer medicine or take blood samples. the filiform acu needle, on the other hand, is a thin hair-like strand needle, filiform, means “shaped like or resembling a filament or thread”. The filiform acupuncture needle is designed to gently push the skin and flesh aside when it is inserted, without tearing or breaking the flesh. Imagine that! The results are not painful and if patients are treated by well-trained, licensed practitioners, only rarely cause any minor bruising or bleeding.

How Does Acupuncture Assuage Physical Challenges?

In 2003, the NIH (National Institute of Health) World Health Organization published reports that cite acupuncture as a safe and effective treatment for disease, symptoms and conditions ranging from smoking addiction to tennis elbow. Many types of pain, including headaches, back and dental pain, carpal tunnel syndrome and arthritis, fatigue and stress as well as digestive problems including Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and morning sickness comprise the most frequent complaints successfully treated by your local licensed acupuncturist.

How To Look And Feel Younger

Try a cosmetic acupuncture session to help relax facial muscles, smooth facial wrinkles AND prevent new lines from forming, as well as reducing baggy eyelids and dark circle under eyes. Facial acupressure and acupuncture can reduce signs of aging by strengthening and stimulating circulation blood flow and natural collagen production, resulting in firmer looking skin. It is a safe, chemical-free way to postpone nips and tucks. This type of cosmetic acupuncture is considered a specialty and requires special training, so be sure to go to a licensed expert. Find out if acupuncture can successfully address your wellness needs by going to a thorough consultation session with a state licensed acupuncturist.

In Texas all licensure is provided through the Texas Medical Board. Many acupuncturists and doctors prefer to consider acupuncture as complementary therapy rather than an alternative. Using acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine, for wellness and Western (allopathic) medicine for illness are very effective when paired together. A 2008 review suggested that treating fertility and reproductive problems with a combination of acupuncture and conventional infertility treatments such as In-vitro Fertilization can improve the success rates of such medical interventions by as much as 50%.

There are abundant health benefits that acupuncture and other modalities within Oriental medicine can offer to gently help restore your good health and get you feeling your best.

More on Andra Millian MTCM, L.Ac., C.H., licensed acupuncture expert, can be found at