Acupuncture Basics

What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is based on the principal that the body's Life force or vital energy (qi) circulates along meridians or pathways of energy. Each meridian corresponds to a particular organ such as the Lungs, Heart, Kidneys, Liver, and Spleen. It is along these meridian pathways where the insertion of thin needles make it possible to influence the body's natural ability to heal. Acupuncture works on the physical body as well as the enegetic body, treating not only physical ailments, but emotions as well.

How many treatments will I need?

The number of treatments depends upon the nature, severity and duration of your condition. For acute conditions, you may only need one or two treatments. The benefits of acupuncture are cumulative, so for more chronic issues, a series of six to ten treatments may be required. If you have a condition that has been getting progressively worse over the years, you may need to continue treatments over a period of months. For very painful conditions, several treatments per week may significantly reduce the overall time needed to resolve the condition. If you would like to be seen several times per week, we can arrange a fee discount to make your care more affordable.

Even for people who are healthy, acupuncture can be a great way to maintain health and prevent problems, by strengthening the immune system and addressing potential health concerns at the beginning stages.

What can acupuncture treat?

Acupuncture works by activating the body's innate healing ability, so it can be beneficial for any health condition. The World Health Organization (WHO) has documented many symptoms, diseases, and conditions that have been shown in controlled clinical trials to be effectively treated with acupuncture. Please refer to the Acupuncture page for a more comprehensive list of the most common conditions I have experience treating.

What does acupuncture feel like?

Many first-time patients are concerned that acupuncture needles will resemble and feel like hypodermic needles. Hypodermic needles are 114 times larger than acupuncture needles. Acupuncture uses hair-thin, flexible needles that you will hardly feel when inserted.

Everyone experiences acupuncture differently. Some people feel only mild sensations during a treatment while others experience a stronger sensation. Common sensations are tingling, heaviness, warmth, a dull ache, or a pulsing feeling. This is normal and relates to the energy moving through the body. These sensations usually dissipate quickly. Your comfort is my utmost concern so every treatment is adjusted accordingly.

Is acupuncture safe?

Yes. Acupuncture is used by millions of people worldwide. Acupuncturists are required to undergo extensive education, including detailed study of human anatomy and training in Clean Needle Technique. As required by law, I use pre-sterilized, disposable, single-use needles to ensure your complete safety.

What should I expect from my first visit?

Once you schedule an appointment, an intake form will be emailed to you. You can print and fill out the form beforehand or arrive 15 minutes earlier to your appointment time and complete it here. The intake form asks questions about your current state of health, past illnesses, and family history. These questions are important because the holistic approach of Chinese medicine takes everything into account. Your current symptoms may not seem related to past health issues, but our bodies are complex.

During the consultation, we will discuss and review your health concerns. An examination of your pulse and tongue, two of the basic diagnostic methods of Chinese medicine, is done. We will then discuss your treatment plan. Once the needles are inserted, you lie comfortably for 20 to 40 minutes depending on what is being addressed. Most people find acupuncture very relaxing and invigorating.

The first visit includes a consultation and an acupuncture treatment. I’ll ask you questions that will help me formulate a treatment plan, and during the treatment, I’ll insert thin, sterile needles into the relevant areas, after which you’ll rest for 20-30 minutes. Most people use this time to relax—some even fall asleep. If appropriate, I may use modalities such as cupping, moxibustion and gentle bodywork.

What should I wear & should I eat?

Ideally, wearing loose clothing is best, with easy access from the elbows and knees down. Back treatments typically require access to the whole back. Drapes will always be available and offered for the patient's comfort. It is recommended to eat at least a light snack before coming in for a treatment. Acupuncture can lower your blood sugar so it is best to eat prior to treatment and again after.

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