Q & A

How Does Acupuncture Work?

In traditional Chinese medicine, energy (chi)  is believed to flow through pathways (meridians) in your body similar to wires connecting different body parts. These meridians and the energy flow are accessible through approximately 400 different acupuncture points. By inserting extremely fine needles into these points in various combinations, acupuncture practitioners believe that your energy flow will rebalance. This will allow your body’s natural healing mechanisms to take over.In short, acupuncture is a balancing procedure.

  • Opioid Release. During acupuncture, endorphins that are part of your body’s natural pain-control system may be released into your central nervous system, reducing pain.
  • Spinal Cord Stimulation. Acupuncture may stimulate the nerves in your spinal cord to release pain-suppressing neurotransmitters.
  • Blood Flow Changes. Acupuncture needles may increase the amount of blood flow in the area around the needle.The increased blood flow may supply additional nutrients and/or remove toxic substances.

 

How Is Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Different From Western Medicine?

Western medicine generally relies on the belief that there is a defect within the human body or an illness caused by a specific outside pathogen. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) considers multiple symptoms and combinations of negative imbalances, e.g. from the environment, lifestyle, and trauma, that may cause illness.

What Are The Benefits Of Acupuncture?
  • Acupuncture is a safe procedure with few minor side effects. FDA-approved acupuncture needles are single-use, sterile, and nontoxic.
  • It can be useful as a complement to other treatment methods and helps control certain types of pain.
Who Is Acupuncture For?

Acupuncture seems to be useful as a stand-alone treatment for some conditions, but it’s also increasingly being used in conjunction with more conventional Western medical treatments. Acupuncture also been shown to be effective for treating conditions such as fibromyalgia, pain, nausea headache, menstrual cramps, sports injuries, myofascial pain, arthritis, low back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, asthma, addiction and stroke rehabilitation. In addition to the above conditions, acupuncture is useful for the treatment of digestive disorders, skin conditions, depression, anxiety, insomnia, infertility, adjunctive cancer care and allergies.

What Do The Acupuncture Needles Feel Like? Do They Hurt?

Acupuncture needles are very thin and solid and are made from stainless steel. The point is smooth (not hollow with cutting edges like a hypodermic needle) and insertion through the skin is not painful like injections or blood sampling. Most patients feel only minimal pain as the needles are inserted; some feel no pain at all. Once the needles are in place, there is no pain felt.

Are There Any Side Effects?

It is quite common with the first couple of treatments to have a sensation of deep relaxation or even mild disorientation immediately following the treatment. These pass within a short time, and never require anything more than a bit of rest to overcome. Occasionally, the original symptoms being treated worsen for a few days, or other general changes in appetite, sleep, bowel or urination patterns, or emotional state may be triggered. These should not cause concern, as they are simply indications that healing is occurring.

How Many Treatments Will I Need?

The number of treatments needed varies from person to person. For complex or long-standing conditions, one or two treatments a week for several months may be recommended. For acute problems, usually fewer visits are required, and for health maintenance, four sessions a year may be all that is necessary.

Do I Have to Believe in Acupuncture For It To Work?

No. A positive attitude towards wellness may reinforce the effects of the treatment received, just as a negative attitude may hinder the effects of acupuncture or any other treatment. A neutral attitude will not block the treatment results.

What Should I Expect On My First Visit?

Many aspects of your initial acupuncture treatment resemble a conventional Western visit. A full health history will be taken, along with basic vital signs. The acupuncturist may perform a physical exam. Questions will be asked regarding symptoms, health, and lifestyle. An acupuncturist will also check pulses
and look at your tongue, which are two components of the TCM system of diagnosis. The 12 pulse positions on the wrist each correspond to a specific meridian and organ. The tongue is viewed as a map of the body that reflects the general health of the meridians and organs. This information is then used to create a complete and accurate assessment of both the Western diagnosis and the TCM diagnosis of where the chi has become blocked or imbalanced.
Based on this diagnosis, the acupuncturist will devise a treatment plan that may include acupuncture, herbs, dietary recommendations, and specific exercises.

How Should I Prepare For My Acupuncture Treatment?

Wear loose fitting clothes so the acupuncturist can easily locate and needle points on your arms & legs.
Make sure your stomach is not empty or too full as these may cause undesirable reactions, such as dizziness or nausea.

How Is The Procedure Done?

The patient rests comfortably on a treatment table and the treatment area(s) are carefully inspected. The acupuncturist inserts anywhere from four to a dozen single-use, sterile needles.  S/he may manipulate them to produce a therapeutic stimulus.

How Long Does It Take?

Needles are usually left in the body anywhere from 10 to 40 minutes.

What Is The Recovery Time?

There is generally no recovery time.

Are There Restrictions In Getting Back To My Normal Activities?

Patients may resume MOST normal activities immediately after treatment. It is recommended not to engage in any vigorous exercise, drink alcohol, have sex, or to eat a large meal soon before or after an acupuncture treatment.

How Long Do The Results Last?

Results may vary, may last up to 2 years. Periodic treatment may prolong the result.