What is Acupuncture?
Originating over 3000 years ago, acupuncture is one modality in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) used to promote healing, alleviate pain, and combat disease. Acupuncture uses needles to stimulate specific points that balance and correct the flow of Qi (pronounced “chee”), a vital energy that circulates throughout the body. Qi circulates through energy channels called meridians nourishing our cells, muscles, and organs along the way. Each acupuncture point has a specific purpose and function with a predictable result aimed to heal and promote health.
Are the needles safe?
For your protection, we only use single-use, sterile, disposable needles.
What happens during a treatment?
During the initial treatment, we will discuss your health history and the current reason for your visit. This appointment will take about 1.5 hours. I will also ask questions covering the major systems of the body in detail, including: energy level, sleep patterns, digestion and emotional well-being. After questioning, I will feel your pulses and look at your tongue – two more Chinese medicine clinical tools that help us access your current situation. Subsequent visits will involve questions about the previous visit, progress, and current conditions.
Once you are given a Chinese medicine diagnosis your treatment begins. Acupuncture points are chosen based on your diagnosis and clinical findings. Every acupuncture point is indicated for your certain condition and has a specific function. Every acupuncture treatment is aimed at resolving both your symptoms and the root cause of your condition or imbalance. As the body heals you may have the same or different points chosen based on current findings.
Having your new patient forms completed prior to your initial visit will allow for more one on one time. You may download the forms and bring them with you to your first visit.
Does Acupuncture Hurt?
During the insertion, you might feel a small prick. Since acupuncture needles are extremely thin and they are designed to enter the skin with the least resistance most people don’t even feel them. Unlike needles used for injections, acupuncture needles are approximately the diameter of a single human hair. After the needle is inserted to the proper depth, you can expect to feel a “sensation”, a physical manifestation of qi at the acupuncture site. Everyone’s description of qi is unique and qi can be felt differently depending on the part of the body. Some common descriptions are a light tingling, a feeling of heaviness, warmth, pressure, or numbness. In my experience, people start with a mild sensation of qi and as treatments progress they like it to become stronger. Whether you prefer a mild sensation or a stronger one, the treatment is usually quite relaxing.
How many treatments will I need and how often will I need to come in?
In some cases such as the “Stop Smoking Program”, I have a set number of sessions in a recommended time frame. For most situations, it is impossible to predict how many sessions you may need.
On average, a course of treatment consists of 8-10 sessions with most patients noticing a clear benefit within 3-4 sessions. A few people will have a dramatic and lasting benefit after just a few sessions, thus completing their course of treatment. Most people will see some positive change within 3-4 sessions. They will notice that the symptoms are less severe or frequent, sleep is more restful, their mood is brighter, and they have more “good days” than they did before acupuncture. This is an encouraging result which suggests that with continued care one would experience more and more relief.
Typically acute conditions or a young person in good health will need fewer treatments more frequently. Older individuals or those with chronic health problems will require a longer course of treatment starting with frequent sessions and then tapering the 1-2 times a month. For example, in an ideal situation, someone with an acute headache may only require 2-3 sessions. Someone who has had severe headaches for many years would start with weekly sessions to address the symptom (the headache) then less frequently while address what is causing the headache.
The number of session needed for a specific condition depends on:
- if your condition is acute or severe
- your age
- your general state of health
- if you can avoid the reason that caused the problem
- how well your body responds to acupuncture