Acupuncture is an essential part of traditional Chinese medicine, a comprehensive system of health care that is used by over one-quarter of the world’s population. Traditional Chinese medical theory explains that pain and disease arise when the natural flow of energy within our body becomes imbalanced or blocked. Acupuncture restores the flow of energy to its natural state, thus returning the body to health. Other modalities which may be used in treatment are massage, herbal medicine, nutritional counseling, exercise therapy, cupping, and heat therapy. By getting at the root of the problem, people often find long term health gain, rather than temporary symptom relief.
Because each person is unique, we will tailor treatments to address your specific need. Treatment length will depend on the nature of your health complaint. Acute problems that are treated early tend to resolve more quickly than persistent or chronic disorders. With patience, chronic conditions can be improved and often resolved. We will discuss a course of treatment with you after a comprehensive intake interview and examination has been completed.
Initial appointment (intake) will last approximately 1.5 to 2 hours. Follow up appointments generally are 1 hour.
With acupuncture, you can expect very fine sterile needles, about as thick as a human hair, to be gently inserted at specific points on the body. We may remove these immediately, or leave them in place for 15 to 45 minutes while you rest. People often describe their treatments as very relaxing and notice an increase in health and energy in the hours and days following their acupuncture.
What Can Acupuncture Treat?
Acupuncture is best known for treating painful conditions such as migraine headaches, arthritis and back pain. However, the World Health Organization recognizes over 40 conditions that have proven to be effectively treated with Acupuncture. These include, but are not limited to:
Respiratory problems: sinusitis, bronchitis, and asthma.
Gynecological problems: painful or irregular menstruation and premenstrual syndrome.
Digestive problems: constipation, indigestion, gastritis, or irritable bowel syndrome.
Psycho-emotional issues: stress, depression, anxiety, trauma, and addictions.
Musculoskeletal: frozen shoulder, tennis elbow, sciatica, and carpal tunnel syndrome.
It can also be used to treat well-known conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and emphysema, both alone or in combination with Western medicine. Acupuncture can enhance the immune status and has been used to help people with AIDS fight the diseases that they get as a result of their immune deficiency. Acupuncture is also useful in treating soft tissue injuries, such as cervical strain (“whiplash”) and sports injuries. Acupuncture is also helpful for people with so-called “functional” disorders that have no definite Western diagnosis.
How Do Most People Respond to Acupuncture?
Some patients feel progressively better after each treatment. In other patients, the illness may have blunted one’s senses so that the full severity of the symptoms is no longer clearly felt. Therefore, as the life force increases sensitivity may develop so that a patient may temporarily feel worse. This “healing crisis” will pass quickly. Other illnesses are of a complicated nature and it is possible that as treatment progresses symptoms that were present many years earlier may return briefly before clearing. Oriental medicine describes this process symbolically as having several conditions, one on top of the other, like sheets of paper. As the top condition is resolved and removed, the conditions beneath are exposed one at a time. When the last sheet is removed the healing is complete.
Do I Have to Believe in Acupuncture for it to Work?
No. Acupuncture is used successfully on cats, dogs, horses and other animals. These animal patients do not understand or believe in the process that helps them get better. A positive attitude toward 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 (“I don’t know if I really believe in this.”) will not block the treatment results.
Is it Safe?
Yes. In fact, there are very few side effects associated with acupuncture, making it ideal for people of all ages and health care needs.
What Should I Do on The Day of a Treatment?
To get the most out of your treatment, it is best to follow the guidelines below:
Do not eat an unusually large meal immediately before or after your treatment.
Do not over-exercise, engage in sexual activity, or consume alcoholic beverages within 6 hours before or after the treatment.
Plan your activities so that after the treatment you can get some rest, or at least not have to be working at top performance. This is especially important for the first few visits.
Continue to take any prescription medicines as directed by your primary doctor.
Remember to keep good mental or written notes of what your response is to the treatment. This is important for your acupuncturist to know so that the follow-up treatments can be designed to best help you and your problem.