What is Acupuncture?
Is Acupuncture safe?
Is Acupuncture painful?
How does Acupuncture work?
What are the theories of how Acupuncture works?
What is an Acupuncture treatment like?
What can I expect when I go to an Acupuncturist?
How should I prepare?
How long do treatments take?
How many treatments are needed and how often?
Dating back to about 6000 BCE, acupuncture is one of the oldest healing systems in the world. By focusing on the interconnections of the body, mind and spirit, acupuncture is very effective in restoring health and preventing future imbalances.
The practice of acupuncture is based on understanding the flow of qi, or vital energy in nature and in ourselves. The flow of qi has been mapped through our bodies along specific pathways called meridians. When our qi is full and flowing, we experience health. Illness and pain can occur when our qi is obstructed. The symptoms we experience are signals that we need to take measures to restore balance. By manipulating energy flow by stimulating particular points along the acupuncture meridians an acupuncturist is able to reestablish balance.
Yes. Only sterile disposable needles are used. If a comprehensively trained acupuncturist performs the treatment, your safety is assured. A thorough intake is performed during the first visit in order to determine any conditions and to confirm that acupuncture is the right choice.
Acupuncture needles are very thin. Most people do not find the insertion of such fine needles to be painful. Acupuncture needles are hair fine, unlike hypodermic needles, which are thicker, hollow and have cutting edges. This is why acupuncture does not feel similar to getting a shot or having blood drawn.
Whenever anything happens to your body – stress, what you eat, trauma, a bad night of sleep, whatever it is – the nervous system can very easily be thrown out of whack. Everything becomes an imbalance inside you, which can cause back pain, or headache, or acne, whatever. What acupuncture does is tap into the body’s nervous system and brain waves to balance out whatever is out of whack. Once the nervous system and brain waves are in harmony again, then the body can properly function and heal itself. So its not the actually acupuncture that’s healing you, but rather your body is healing you. The body just needs a bit of a boost sometimes.”.
Scientists have no comprehensive answer as to how acupuncture works. Here is a list of a few currently proposed theories:
1. By a yet to be determined process, acupuncture raises levels of triglycerides, specific hormones, prostaglandins, white blood counts, gamma globulins, opsonins, and overall anti-body levels. This is called the “Augmentation of Immunity” Theory.
2. The “Endorphin” Theory states that acupuncture stimulates the secretions of endorphins in the body (specifically Enkaphalins).
3. The “Neurotransmitter” Theory states that certain neurotransmitter levels (such as Seratonin and Noradrenaline) are positively affected by acupuncture.
4. The “Circulatory” Theory holds that acupuncture has the effect of constriction or dilation of blood vessels. This may be caused by the body’s release of Vasodilaters (such as Histamine), in response to acupuncture.
5. “Gate” Theory states that the perception of pain is controlled by a part of the nervous system that regulates the impulse, which will later be interpreted as pain. This part of the nervous system is called the “Gate”. If the gate is hit with too many impulses, it is overwhelmed and closes, preventing the pain impulse from getting through. Acupuncture treats the smallest gates and nerve fibers which are the ones first affected.
You may feel a slight sensation resembling a pinch when the needle is inserted. Some patients do not feel the needle at all upon insertion. Once the needles are placed there may be a dull, achy pain in the area while the practitioner is stimulating the point. These are positive signs that the needles are affecting the acupuncture point. Typically, you will be lying on a comfortable padded table. Often, people become relaxed and fall into a light sleep during the session.
First we’ll sit and talk for a while, we’ll go over your health history and why you are here, then I’ll take your pulses and look at your tongue. These are two diagnostic tools we use in Chinese medicine. And finally we’ll do the acupuncture. Generally my patients are on the table for about 30 minutes, it’s very relaxing and most of them take a little nap.
• Come with any questions you have.
• Wear loose, comfortable clothing for easy access to acupuncture points.
• Eat something the day of your treatment before you come in.
• Refrain from overexertion, drugs, or alcohol for up to 6 hours after the visit.
• Between visits, take notes of any changes that you may have experienced.
An office visit will last approximately 1 hour. The needles are obtained for approximately 30 minutes. Ultimately, the session length depends on the technique, desired results, and if any additional services are used.
Although some people will notice a difference after one treatment, more treatments are often necessary. Acupuncture works in a series of treatments. You can never have acupuncture treatments too close together, but you can have them too far apart. Acupuncture works cumulatively and we want to continue building on your progress. The Acupuncturist will discuss and explain their recommendation for your specific needs at your appointment. As symptoms improve fewer visits are required.