Acupuncture is just one form of therapy used within the coherent system of healing known as Oriental Medicine. It involves the insertion of fine, sterile needles to “re-program” and restore normal functions in the body. When the acupuncture needles are inserted they send signals to the brain that promote healing by activating the body’s existing self-healing abilities. Today, the art and science of Acupuncture / Oriental Medicine is still not understood by many, yet it continues to gain popularity and acceptance because of one fact – IT WORKS.
How safe is Acupuncture?
No one has ever died from acupuncture applied by a trained and licensed practitioner. Not a bad track record when you consider that the medicine is guesstimated to be more than 2,500 years old. Needles generally cause no bleeding or pain, and the needles used are disposable. Acupuncturists are trained in exact location, angle as well as depth of insertion of the acupuncture needle to avoid any injuries.
Are there any side effects to Acupuncture?
One of the great advantages of acupuncture is that, other than an occasional bruise, there are no side effects.
Does Acupuncture hurt?
This is the most common question asked about acupuncture because many people associate needles with pain. Acupuncture needles are about the thickness of a dog’s whisker, so they are virtually painless when inserted. After insertion, the practitioner will bring the needle to the appropriate depth. You will then usually feel a very unique sensation that can vary from tingling, to heaviness, to warmth, or nothing at all. Each person’s experience is different. Should you experience any discomfort, inform the practitioner, and they will adjust the needles accordingly.
Where do the needles go?
This depends on the condition being treated. Although the acupoints are located throughout the entire body, usually the needles are placed on the extremities from your elbows down to your hands, and from your knees down to your feet. Other common areas include the abdomen, back, and ears.
What are the acupoints?
The acupoints are the areas along a meridian where the energy comes together and rises to the surface of the body. It can therefore be more easily accessed and redirected with the use of a needle.
What are the meridians?
There are 12 major meridians in the body. Each of these is like a highway transporting energy and blood to its respective internal organ (Liver, Heart, Lung, Spleen, Kidney, etc.). When the energy in a meridian is not moving properly, it can, in turn, affect the proper functioning of the organs and cause imbalances throughout the body.
Are the needles sterile or are they reused?
Needles are individually wrapped and sterilized by the manufacturer. They are opened only when they are ready to be used, and afterwards, each needle is disposed of in a medical waste container. During your first consultation, the practitioner will collect a complete history and detailed evaluation of your condition. They will ask questions relating to many different aspects of your life, not only the condition for which you are seeking treatment. The practitioner will then take your pulse, examine your tongue, and sometimes palpate your abdomen or check for tender areas along the meridians. The initial visit usually lasts 1 1/2 hours including the treatment. Subsequent visits usually last about 1 hour.
How often do I have to come?
Treatments are done on a weekly basis, usually twice a week for the first two weeks, and once a week thereafter. Once the condition has been controlled and you are symptom-free, the treatments are done less frequently. Problems that have been around for a long time usually take more treatments to resolve than ones that have come about recently. Your treatment course will be determined after the first visit and reassessed after each session.
How can I prepare for my session?
It is best to eat a light meal before your appointment so that your body has energy to work with. Sometimes a person who has not eaten will feel lightheaded or weak when receiving an acupuncture treatment. In this case, inform your practitioner immediately and they will take the appropriate actions. It is best to wear shorts or loose clothing so that the arms and legs below the elbows and knees, as well as the abdomen, are accessible. Do not engage in strenuous activity, drink alcohol, smoke excessively, or ingest heavy meals before or after your treatment. This will allow the body to adjust to the effects of the acupuncture.
Can I receive Acupuncture if I am pregnant?
Yes. Because there are some points that are contraindicated during pregnancy, it is important to inform your practitioner if you are pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant.