What is Acupuncture
Acupuncture is part of powerful Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Acupuncture is a complex branch of ancient Chinese medicine that has diagnosed, treated and prevented illness for over 5000 years. Acupuncture is a powerful medicine that aids in strengthening the immune system; relieves pain and other symptoms; harmonizes, and integrates functions of the organs.
How does Acupuncture work?
As a system of medicine it uses natural laws and energetic principles rooted in Taoism with the application of needles, energy, and pressure to specific points on the body. Each point provides a specific function in the body, regulating the free flow of vital energy for health and well being. Acupuncture accesses the source of life itself.
The acupuncturist opens or closes specific gates or points grouped along certain lines of energy flow called meridians, which go deep into the body. Disease, for example, is prevented or treated by stimulating or reducing the flow of vital energy that's called "chi" though specific points in the body. "Chi" then is strengthened or sedated, monitored, and balanced to achieve the desired result
How big are the needles and how deep are they inserted?
The stainless steel needles, normally about as thin as a human hair, are presterilized and disposable. Unlike the hollow needles used for giving injections, acupuncture needles are solid. The acupuncturist will insert them to a depth of anywhere from a quarter of an inch to 3 inches, depending on the amount of subcutaneous fat that the needles need to penetrate.
Will it hurt me?
Acupuncture should be painless, although some people experience a slight sharp sensation depending on how sensitive they are and where the needles are inserted. Once the needle is in place, it's normal to initially feel a tingling sensation, numbness, mild pressure or warmth. If these sensations became too strong or are uncomfortable, alert your acupuncturist and she will adjust the needles.
What exactly should I expect to happen during an acupuncture session?
The first treatment starts with a thorough medical history followed by a physical exam that notes skin tone, tongue condition and the qualities of your wrist pulse. According to TCM theory, these observations provide an indication of what's going on in your body. After making a diagnosis, the practitioner will ask you to lie down and insert needles into key points. You will be allowed to rest with the needles in place.
How long do the treatments take?
Depending on the patient's condition and treatment plan, average 30-40 minutes.
Is it OK for me to eat before or after a session? What about exercise?
It's good to eat a little bit before a session because low blood sugar could increase sensitivity to the treatment and cause you to feel faint. Don't, however, eat a heavy meal. For exercise, the reverse holds true. Prior to your session you can exercise as strenuously as you want. However, most acupuncturists advise only mild exercise within several hours after treatment. Eating too much or vigorous exertion can disrupt the corrective flow of energy that follows an acupuncture session. "You're trying to shift energy into a new pattern," Saunders says. "If you do something really intense, you can alter the new pattern we are trying to create in your body."
How many treatments and how often?
Typically, 2-4 treatments per week for 8-16 treatments, based on the patient�s health conditions and response to the treatment. Generally, acute conditions require less treatment than chronic conditions.