What can acupuncture do for me?
- Acupuncture is a powerful medicine which prevents disease, controls pain, strengthens the immune system and increases both the function and quality of peoples’ lives. Even if you are not ill, acupuncture can alleviate minor concerns and prevent disease from developing.
- Acupuncture helps relax muscles and promote blood circulation in areas of stress, tension, and pain.
- It stimulates the release of natural opiates in the body which relieve pain, enhance mood, and reduce stress.
- It improves hormonal balance, reduce inappropriate inflammatory responses in the body, and improve digestive function, which helps the body to assimilate necessary nutrients.
- It has an influence on the nervous system as recent studies using MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) show an immediate change in brain activity in patients receiving acupuncture.
- All of these effects combined make it possible for acupuncture to treat a wide range of complaints without negative side effects or interactions.
- Based on thousands of years of empirical data, acupuncture points have been identified along pathways of energy that run throughout the body. If there is congestion or weakness anywhere along these pathways, a feeling of dis-ease can result, and if left untreated, can develop into major illness or pain. By stimulating acupuncture points, congestion can be disseminated and areas of weakness will gain more nourishment. Once the proper flow of energy is reestablished, health and well being will ensue.
What will my acupuncturist do?
- During the initial exam a full health history will be taken. Questions will be asked regarding symptoms, health, and lifestyle. I will check pulses and your tongue and may conduct a physical exam. This information is then organized to create a complete, accurate and comprehensive diagnosis of where Qi has become blocked or imbalanced. After the interview process, you will receive an acupuncture treatment. Visits generally last from 30 to 90 minutes.
Why do you feel my pulses?
- There are 12 pulse positions on each wrist that I will palpate. Each position corresponds to a specific meridian and organ. I will be looking for 27 potential qualities in your pulse that reflect your overall health. If there are any health problems, they may appear in the pulse.
Why do you look at my tongue?
- The tongue is a map of the body. It reflects the general health of the organs and meridians. I look carefully to observe the color, shape, appearance of cracks and tongue coating.
How many treatments will I need?
- The number of treatments will vary from person to person. Some people experience immediate relief, while others may take months or even years to achieve desired results. Chronic conditions usually take longer to resolve than acute ones. Plan on a minimum of a month to see significant changes.
- Treatment frequency depends on a variety of factors: your constitution, the severity and duration of the problem and the quality and quantity of your Qi. I may suggest one or two treatments a week, monthly visits for health maintenance or seasonal “tune-ups”.
What should I expect during treatment?
- Where the acupuncture needle is inserted, you may experience a vague numbness, heaviness, tingling or dull ache. Sometimes people experience a sensation of energy spreading and moving around the needle. This is called the “Qi sensation”. All these reactions are good and a sign that the treatment is working. After treatment, you may feel energized or may experience a deep sense of relaxation and well-being.
How should I prepare?
- Come with any questions you have – I am here to help you. Wear loose, comfortable clothing for easy access to acupuncture points. Don’t eat large meals just before or after your visit. Refrain from overexertion, working out, drugs or alcohol for up to 6 hours after the visit. Avoid stressful situations. Make time to relax and be sure to get plenty of rest. Between visits, take notes of any changes that may have occurred, such as the alleviation of pain, pain moving to other areas, or changes in the frequency and type of problems.
Do the needles hurt?
- The sensation caused by an acupuncture needle varies. Some people feel a little pain as the needle is inserted, but most feel no pain at all. The needles are tiny, just a little larger than a cat’s whisker or a human hair.
How deep do they go?
- The depth of insertion varies. For example, I will use a needling technique that is different in fleshier areas, such as your buttocks. Typically needles are inserted at depths ranging from 1/8 inch to 1 inch.
How safe is acupuncture?
- Acupuncture is extremely safe. It is an all natural, drug-free therapy, yielding no side effects except feelings of relaxation and well-being. There is little danger of infection from acupuncture needles because they are sterile, used once, and then discarded.
What is qi and how does it travel?
- At the core of this ancient medicine is the philosophy that Qi (pronounced “chee”), or life energy, flows throughout the body. Qi helps to animate the body and to protect it from illness, pain and disease. A person’s health is influenced by the quality, quantity and balance of Qi.
- Qi circulates through specific pathways called meridians. There are 14 main meridians throughout the body. Each is connected to specific organs and glands. Meridians are like rivers. Where a river flows, it transports life-giving water that nourishes the land, plants, and animals. In the same way, meridians transport life giving Qi to nourish and energize every cell, organ, gland, tissue, and muscle.
- When Qi flows freely throughout the body, one enjoys good physical, mental and emotional well-being. An obstruction of Qi anywhere in the body is like a damn, backing up the flow in one area and restricting it in others. This blockage can hinder the distribution of the nourishment that the body requires to function optimally.
How can I affect Qi?
- Many things influence the quality, quantity, and balance of Qi. Physical and emotional trauma, stress, lack of exercise, overexertion, seasonal changes, diet, accidents or excessive activity can lead to a blockage or imbalance of Qi.
- Normally, when this imbalance occurs, the body naturally bounces back, returning to a balanced state of health and well-being. When the disruption to Qi is prolonged or excessive, or if the body is in a weakened state, then illness, pain or disease can set in.