What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a method of encouraging the body to promote natural healing and to improve functioning. This is done by inserting needles and applying heat or electrical stimulation at very precise acupuncture points.
How does Acupuncture work?
The classical Chinese explanation is that channels of energy run in regular patterns through the body and over its surface. These energy channels, called meridians, are like rivers flowing through the body to irrigate and nourish the tissues. An obstruction in the movement of these energy rivers is like a dam that backs up in others.
The meridians can be influenced by needling the acupuncture points; the acupuncture needles unblock any obstructions in circulation, and reestablish the regular flow through the meridians. Acupuncture treatments can therefore help the body's internal organs to correct imbalances in their digestion, absorption, and energy production activities, and in the circulation of their energy through the meridians.
The modern scientific explanation is that needling the acupuncture points stimulates the nervous system to release chemicals in the muscles, spinal cord, and brain. These chemicals will either change the experience of pain, or they will trigger the release of other chemicals and hormones, which influence the body’s own internal regulating system.
The improved energy and biochemical balance produced by Acupuncture results in stimulating the body's natural healing abilities, and in promoting physical and emotional well-being.
How many treatments will I need?
The number of treatments needed differs from person to person. For complex or long-standing conditions, one or two treatments a week for several months may be recommended. For acute problems, usually fewer visits are required.
Are there any side effects to the treatment?
No. As energy is redirected in the body, internal chemicals and hormones are stimulated and healing begins to take place. Occasionally the original symptoms worsen for a few days, or other general changes in appetite, sleep, bowel or urination patterns, or emotional state may be triggered. These should not cause concern, as they are simply indications that the acupuncture is starting to work. It is quite common with the first one or two treatments to have a sensation of deep relaxation or even mild disorientation immediately following the treatment. These pass within a short time, and never require anything more than a bit of rest to overcome.
In addition, when removing the acupuncture needles, the patient may bleed and or bruise slightly. The overall side effects are minimal and non-invasive.
What are the needles like? Do they hurt?
People experience acupuncture needling differently. Most patients feel only minimal pain as the needles are inserted; some feel no pain at all. Once the needles are in place, there is no pain felt. Acupuncture needles are very thin and solid and are made from stainless steel. The point is smooth (not hollow with cutting-edges like a hypodermic needle) and insertion through the skin is not as painful as injections or blood sampling. The risk of bruising and skin irritation is less than when using a hollow needle.
Because your doctor carefully sterilizes the needles using the same techniques as for surgical instruments, or uses disposable needles, there is no risk of infection from the treatments.
How should I prepare for treatment?
To enhance the value of a treatment, the following guidelines are important:
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.
Continue to take any prescription medicines as directed by your regular doctor.
Remember to keep good mental or written notes of what your response is to the treatment. This will help the Doctor to better gauge the patient’s progress and make any necessary changes to the patient’s treatment plan.
Does Acupuncture really work?
Yes! Acupuncture has been used in China for thousands of years with great results. Due to these high success rates, the Chinese consider Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine to be their primary form of medicine. Now that Acupuncture has become more main-stream in the United States, we are finding studies that intentionally include Acupuncture. Due to the positive study results, Western medical specialists are more frequently referring their patients' to an Acupuncturist. Overall, Acupuncture is becoming a reputable form of medicine in the eyes of Western Medicine.
Is Acupuncture covered by my health insurance?
Most insurance companies currently cover acupuncture costs. Each health policy must be reviewed to determine acupuncture benefits. More and more insurance companies are recognizing the value of providing coverage for medical acupuncture services. In addition, prices for cash patients are very reasonable and competitive with other surrounding Acupuncturists.