Does acupuncture really work?

Yes.   According to The American Academy of Medical Acupuncture, “In the past 2,000 years, more people have been successfully treated with acupuncture than with all other health modalities combined.”

How does acupuncture work?

At the core of this ancient medicine is the philosophy that Qi (pronounced “chee”) or Life Energy flows throughout the body.  Qi animates the body and protects it from illness, pain and disease.  A person’s health is influenced by the quality, quantity and balance of Qi in the body.

Qi circulates through specific pathways in the body called Meridians.  Meridians transport life-giving Qi to nourish and energize every cell, organ, gland, tissue and muscle of the body.  When Qi moves smoothly, we enjoy physical, mental and emotional health.  If the Qi is blocked, our bodies do not receive the nourishment they need to function properly.  The resulting imbalance can cause physical or mental pain and illness.  Acupuncture needles inserted into specific acupuncture points on the Meridians unblock obstruction and reestablish the regular flow of Qi through the body.

Acupuncture treatments help the body’s internal organs correct imbalances in digestion, absorption, energy production and circulation.

What can affect Qi?

Many things influence the quality, quantity and balance of Qi.  Physical and emotional trauma, stress, lack of exercise, overexertion, accidents, seasonal or climate changes, improper diet and lifestyle choices may lead to an imbalance or blockage of Qi.

Normally, the body rebounds naturally returning to a balanced state of health.  However, when the disruption of Qi is prolonged, excessive or happens when the body is in a weakened state, the result can be disease, illness or pain.

How does modern science explain acupuncture?

Needling the acupuncture points stimulates the nervous system to release chemicals in the muscles, spinal cord and brain.  These chemicals may change how we experience pain.  Or, the chemical may trigger the release of other chemicals and hormones which influence the body’s own internal regulating system.

The improved energetic and biochemical balance produced by acupuncture stimulates the body’s natural healing abilities to promote physical and emotional well-being.

What will happen during my appointment?

Traditional Chinese Medicine looks at the whole body not just one particular aspect.  Your acupuncturist will ask questions about all areas of your health including your current symptoms, present and past health issues, lifestyle, stress levels, family history and more.  They will look at your tongue, check your wrist pulses and examine areas of concern as appropriate.  The acupuncture treatment is given after the health history intake process is completed.  Appointments range from 45 to 90 minutes in length.

Why do you look at my tongue?

The tongue is a map of the body and reflects the health of the organs and meridians.  An acupuncturist will observe the color, shape, cracks and coating on the tongue.

Why feel my pulse?

In Chinese medicine there are 12 pulse positions on each wrist.  Each position corresponds to a specific organ system or meridian (pathway of energy).  Imbalances in your health may be reflected in your pulse.

What does the treatment feel like?

Acupuncture needles are so fine that they actually bend.  The needling sensation varies with each patient.  Some people feel a little prick as the needles are inserted but most people feel no pain at all. After insertion, you may feel a tingling sensation, a vague numbness, fullness, heaviness or a dull ache. Some people feel a sensation of energy moving around the needle or throughout the body.  This is called the Qi Sensation.  All of these sensations are positive and a sign that the treatment is working.  Most people feel very relaxed during an acupuncture treatment and some even fall asleep.

How will I feel after the treatment?

After the treatment, you may feel energized, deeply calm and relaxed or just as you did when you arrived for your appointment.

Is acupuncture safe?

Acupuncture is an extremely safe, all natural and drug-free therapy.

How many treatments will I need?

Treatment frequency depends on a variety of factors including the severity and duration of the problem and your individual constitution.  Acute pain can sometimes be reduced in one treatment.  Chronic conditions generally take longer to resolve.  Plan on a minimum of 3-5 treatments to begin to see changes.

Can acupuncture be used with other medical treatments?

Acupuncture can be used to complement other techniques being used such as conventional Western Medicine, osteopathic or chiropractic adjustments, homeopathic or naturopathic prescriptions.  Talk to your acupuncturist about everything you are doing so that he or she can treat you in the most effective way.  Also, make sure to tell your MD and other healthcare practitioners that you are receiving acupuncture treatments.

Do I have to be ill to benefit from acupuncture?

Absolutely not.  Many patients come for regular “maintenance” or relaxation treatments.  Acupuncture can be a powerful preventative measure to help you stay healthy and happy.

How should I prepare?

• Wear loose, comfortable clothing for easy access to acupuncture points.  Many patients prefer to bring a pair of gym shorts or stretchy yoga pants to the appointment.

• Eat before your treatment but avoid large meals just before or after the visit.

• Don’t brush your tongue or use a tongue scraper before your appointment.

• Continue to take any prescription medicines as directed by your doctor.

• Before your visit, avoid foods like blueberries or red candies that will discolor your tongue.

• Substance abuse, especially in the week prior to treatment, will seriously interfere with the effectiveness of the treatment.

• If possible, do not drink any alcohol the day of your treatment.

• Refrain from strenuous exercise or over exertion for about 6 hours after your visit.

• Don’t be afraid to ask questions!

• After the treatment, keep good mental or written notes regarding your symptoms and response to the treatment.  This will help your acupuncturist design the best treatment protocol for your next visit.

I want to come for a treatment. What do I do next?

Contact me to schedule an appointment.  I look forward to hearing from you!