What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medical technique for moving energy, or qi (chi), by inserting thin, sterilized, disposable needles at particular points on the body. When the body is in a state of health, qi and blood flow freely through the body along the 12 main pathways, or meridians, like water in a river. Pain and disease arise when there is an imbalance caused by too much qi (excess), not enough qi (deficiency) or stuck qi (stagnation). Acupuncture regulates qi to return the body to a state of balance.
How does acupuncture work?
From a Western medical perspective, acupuncture stimulates nerve impulses that travel via the spinal cord to the brain. This causes the release of many different chemicals such as endorphins, muscle relaxants and histamine that help promote a biochemical balance. Acupuncture engages the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, the central nervous system, the immune system and the endocrine system, bringing about a decrease in pain, relief of symptoms or resolution of the illness. Acupuncture not only treats symptoms, but the root cause of illness as well.
What can acupuncture treat?
Although acupuncture is touted for its effects on chronic and acute pain, it actually treats a wide array of ailments including: acne, addiction, allergies, asthma, anxiety, common cold, depression, diabetes, diarrhea, fatigue, fibromyalgia, gastrointestinal issues, headaches, heartburn, impotence, infertility, insomnia, menopause, menstrual cramps, post-surgery, skin disorders, smoking cessation and stress.
What should I expect on the first visit?
After you fill out your medical history, your practitioner will ask you a series of questions specific to your condition and also about your general heal. She will assess your tongue and feel your pulse (the major diagnostic tools of Chinese medicine) in order to determine your Chinese diagnosis. She will select 12-20 points for acupuncture, based on your body’s condition that day. The needles stay in for about 30 minutes. Once the needles are removed, your acupuncturist will perform any accessory modalities that are appropriate for you such as cupping, guasha (muscle manipulation with a smooth tool), electro-stimulation, Tui Na (Chinese massage), moxibustion
(heating of acupuncture points), topical liniments and ear seeds/magnets. Your practitioner may provide dietary guidelines, Chinese herbs, yoga poses and relaxation techniques to accelerate your healing.
Where do you put the needles?
Acupuncture needles are usually inserted on “meridians” on the arms, legs, torso and head. These meridians flow like rivers carrying energy and blood through the body’s landscape. Your practitioner may also palpate your body for tender areas and place needles there.
How many treatments will I need?
That depends on the duration and severity of your ailment. Acute disorders may clear up after two or three sessions. Chronic diseases may require a longer course of treatment, such as one visit per week for 3-6 months. The goal is to get your body to a state of balance where you only need an occasional “tune-up” or no acupuncture at all. Ask about treatment packages as a way to reduce the cost.
How deep are acupuncture needles inserted?
Needle depth varies with each point. Some points on the hands and feet may only be needled at a depth of 0.5 cm. Points on the upper thigh and buttocks may go as deep as several inches.
Does acupuncture hurt?
Despite our social stigmas surrounding needles, acupuncture needles are wire-thin, comparable to thickness of a strand of hair. Most people barely feel the needles as they are inserted. On some of the most powerfully active points, there may be a slight pinch, which subsides almost immediately. Once the needles are in, you might notice a tingling or gentle sensation around the area that feels like water trickling. This is called “arrival of qi” and affirms the therapeutic effects of the acupuncture.
Do you reuse the acupuncture needles?
The needles are single-use, sterilized, stainless steel. They are disposed of and new needles are used for each treatment.
Is it safe for pregnant women to receive acupuncture?
We treat women all stages of pregnancy, and adapt treatments as you move through each trimester. Our treatments are both safe and effective for a wide array of pregnancy and post-partum ailments.