FAQs About Acupuncture
What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a treatment based on TCM. The body is seen as a delicate balance of two opposing and inseparable forces, yet complementary: yin and yang. Yin represents cold, slow, or passive aspects of the person, while yang represents hot, excited, or active aspects. According to TCM, health is achieved by maintaining the body in a "balanced state" (balancing yin and yang); and disease is due to an internal imbalance of yin and yang, leading to a blockage in the flow of Qi ("chee"). In TCM, the vital energy or life force (Qi) proposed to regulate a person's spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical health and to be influenced by the opposing forces of yin and yang. (vital energy) along pathways/channels known as meridians. Each meridian corresponds to one organ, or group of organs, that governs particular bodily functions. Qi can be unblocked, according to TCM, by using acupuncture at certain points on the body that connect with these meridians. Hundreds of acupuncture points can be opened like gates to balance and harmonize the flow of Qi, relieving pain and many other symptoms of disease.Is there any scientific research on Qi and how it can be affected by acupuncture?
For thousands of years acupuncture has been accepted by eastern cultures as working, because they see the results. Now it is integrated into Western Medicine there is the need for scientific proof. Recent experiments have found that the insertion of needles, to access the vital energy (or qi) by a traditional acupuncturist can stimulate the respective part of the brain. For example a point on the ankle used for eye problems, when stimulated elicited a response in the part of the brain governing the visual control. In Addition, the acupuncture needle is considered a "foreign object" by the body; which results in a healing response. The body sends different cells to the area to heal, decrease pain and inflammation, and increase the immune system.
Is Acupuncture Safe?
One of the great advantages of acupuncture is the absence to minimal side effects. Needles generally cause no bleeding, or pain, and I use disposable needles. Acupuncturists are trained in exact location, angle and depth of insertion of the needles. Acupuncture should not be used if you have a bleeding disorder or are on taking blood thinners. Be sure to mention if you are pregnant or trying to get preganant.
About the Treatments
Does Acupuncture Hurt?
Generally no. Acupuncture needles do not resemble or feel like the type of needles used to draw blood or to give an injection. In fact, they are nearly as thin as a strand of hair and are solid, unlike hypodermic needles which are hollow. The unique structure of acupuncture needles allows for it to slip gently and painlessly between the cells of your skin, without you even knowing it. If you do feel any sensations, it might feel like a mosquito bite or quick pinch/prick, but then it subsides immediately. Some people report a mild tingling, heaviness, warmth, or dull ache at the acupuncture point; which is the sensation of Qi moving. Most people enjoy the treatment and find it comfortable, restful, and relaxing. After treatment, you may feel more energy, less pain, and a heightened sense of well-being.
What happens once the needles are in?
People often experience various sensations once the needles are in place. Some people report a mild tingling, heaviness, warmth, or dull ache at the acupuncture point; which are all positive, indicating that the Qi is moving within the channels. Most people enjoy the treatment and find it comfortable, restful, and relaxing.
What will I feel after a treatment?
It is very common to feel relaxed and possibly a bit groggy after a treatment, so we suggest avoiding strenuous activity and recommend drinking plenty of water. Some patients report feeling residual sensations where the needles were placed, and this is a good sign, as it means that the acupuncture point is still being stimulated. It is also possible to have a slight "flare-up" of a condition after a treatment, but this will quickly diminish as the body readjusts itself. You may feel more energy, less pain, and a heightened sense of well-being.
How many treatments will it take to get better?
This varies between patients. This depends on a number of factors, some of which include the patient's overall health, the severity of the condition and whether or not it is chronic or acute. It is difficult to give a specific number of treatments required. Some patients see results within the first few treatments. Success of a treatment is based on the condition being treated, the experience of the practitioner, as well as the patient's commitment to improve their own health.
Does acupuncture always work?
Just like any form of medicine, there isn't one treatment that works for everyone. After a few treatments you and your practitioner will reevaluate your condition and determine if continued acupuncture is the best treatment for you. It is our goal to have your health improve, whether it is through acupuncture with us or through another form of medicine with someone else.
Once I'm better, should I stop coming for acupuncture?
It is recommended that once the health condition is resolved, that you continue to come for acupuncture, but not as often. This is considered maintenance, to keep your body strong and healthy, preventing any relapses. Just like going to the gym and taking vitamins, acupuncture can help keep your body in balance, even when you do feel great.
What Conditions can Acupuncture Treat? Wide-range of Conditions. Together, we can decide if it is right for you. Many people think of acupuncture only as a pain treatment. Though it is well known for this, it is also effective for a multitude of other conditions. These include digestive disorders, immune system imbalances, allergies, asthma, hormonal imbalances, gynecological issues, depression, anxiety, insomnia, stress related disorders, headaches, and weight loss. Here is a list compiled by the World Health Organization.
Will Insurance pay for it? Some insurances will pay for it, depending on your plan and benefits. Insurance plans that include chiropractic care and acupuncture will usually cover acupuncture treatment provided by a chiropractor.