WHAT IS A TYPICAL SESSION LIKE?
We will begin your first session by talking about your immediate health concerns and discussing your relevant health history. I will feel your pulses and look at your tongue, both of which are diagnostic tools used in Traditional Chinese Medicine that give me a clearer picture of what is happening in your body.
We will also discuss suggestions for nutrition and lifestyle changes as they apply to your situation. It is my experience that true healing comes with approachable and incremental changes in one’s daily life. Depending on your situation, we will also work with acupressure points, qi gong, meditation, mindfulness techniques and Pilates exercises.
An acupuncture treatment begins with you becoming comfortable by lying on a massage table or possibly sitting in a chair. It is my goal that you are able to relax and feel safe during needle insertion and while you rest with needles in. I am aware that many people feel fear and anxiety when they think of needles, so I do my best to create a relaxing atmosphere for treatment. Generally there is no 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 maybe even take a nap.
I may also use additional Chinese medicine healing techniques, such as tui na massage, cupping, gua sha and/or moxibustion depending on your health concerns.
Consultations will last about 60 minutes, although the first session can take a bit longer as we will generally spend more time talking about your health history and concerns.
HOW SHOULD I PREPARE FOR MY TREATMENT?
It is best to 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 CONTINUE TREATMENT?
The number of treatments you will need to see a change varies greatly depending on the 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. Generally I recommend coming once per week for four to six treatments as a starting point.
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 ACUPUNCTURE HURT?
Usually when people think of needles they imagine a hypodermic needle, as experienced when getting a shot or having blood drawn. Acupuncture needles are much different than hypodermic needles, both in that they are much smaller and that they are solid and not hollow in the middle.
Often there is no sensation upon insertion of an acupuncture needle, 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!
If at any point you feel pain or sensation that causes tension or anxiety, I invite you to please let me know so that I can adjust or remove the needle in order to make the treatment a comfortable experience.
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.