WHAT IS A TYPICAL ACUPUNCTURE SESSION LIKE?
We will begin your first acupuncture appointment by talking about your specific health concerns and discussing your relevant health history. I will also feel your pulse and examine your tongue, both of which are useful diagnostic tools that help me understand what is happening in your body.
You will then lie down and I will insert needles into strategic points on your body based on our discussion and your health concerns. I may also use additional Chinese medicine healing techniques, such as tui na massage, cupping, gua sha and/or moxibustion. Patients generally do not need to disrobe, as most points can be accessed by rolling up sleeves and pant legs. The needles are typically left in for 20-35 minutes while you rest and relax.
Treatments will last about 60 minutes, although the first treatment can take a bit longer as we will generally spend more time talking about your health history and condition.
HOW SHOULD I PREPARE FOR MY TREATMENT?
Wear comfortable, loose clothing and have a snack or small meal about an hour before your appointment. If your appointment is in the morning, it is best to have breakfast beforehand.
HOW LONG WILL I NEED TO GET TREATMENT?
The number of treatments needed varies greatly, depending on the patient’s individual constitution, current condition, length of illness or injury and individual response to treatment. We generally expect to see progress within the first few treatments. Often I recommend four to six treatments once per week, depending on the condition.
My goal is to help patients receive maximum therapeutic benefit as quickly as possible, so that they do not need continuous, long-term treatment. Many patients still like to come in regularly for stress relief and general health maintenance. This can range from treatment every other week to treatment once every season, about every three months. Acupuncture works very well as preventative medicine!
HOW DOES ACUPUNCTURE WORK?
Very simply, acupuncture works by stimulating points on the body to create a state of balance or homeostasis. Tiny needles (literally the size of a piece of human hair) are inserted strategically into specific points and this triggers a response from the body. Commonly this response is immediately experienced as a calm and relaxed sensation.
There are many theories that explain the physiological reasoning behind why people feel better after receiving acupuncture. A few examples are:
- release of endorphins causing pain reduction & a “happy” feeling
- release of shortened muscle fibers, resulting in relaxation of tight muscles
- reduction of inflammation markers in the body
- regulation of the parasympathetic nervous system (the opposite of “fight or flight” response, sometimes known as “rest & digest”).
WHAT CONDITIONS CAN ACUPUNCTURE TREAT?
Acupuncture treats an extremely wide range of ailments. Here are a few examples of conditions commonly treated with acupuncture:
- acute pain
- back pain
- chronic pain
- digestive disorders
- dizziness / vertigo
- eczema / psoriasis
- fertility issues
- headaches / migraines
- high blood pressure
- low energy
- nausea / vomiting
- neck pain
- painful periods / PMS
- shoulder & arm pain
- sports injuries
DOES IT HURT?
Acupuncture needles are about the width of a human hair. Often there is no sensation at all upon insertion, however occasionally there is a slight sting or prick that lasts for an instant. Once in place you may feel sensations such as tingling, warmth, or a slight dull pressure, which signals your body’s response to the needles and is a positive reaction. Generally people do not find this to be an unpleasant sensation or describe it as pain. Once needles are inserted patients usually feel very relaxed, sometimes even falling sleep!
IS ACUPUNCTURE SAFE?
All needles are single-use, sterile disposable needles, and present no risk of infection. Side effects from acupuncture are both rare and minor.