Acupuncture stimulates the balance and flow of Qi energy that in Traditional Chinese Medicine is considered essential to health. When the body is healthy, Qi (pronounced chee), flows smoothly through the meridians that make up a conceptual network of pathways throughout the entire body. When the balance or flow of Qi is deficient or obstructed it may be diseased or susceptible to illness. Acupuncture treats both the symptoms and the root causes of the patient’s illness.
How does it work?
Acupuncture is an ancient, safe and effective alternative to medication and, in some cases, surgery. Acupuncture stimulates the release of endorphins – the body’s natural pain-relieving neurohormones – through the insertion of needles into specific anatomical points (acupuncture points) to encourage natural healing. Therapeutic effects include:
* Pain relief
* Increased energy
* Improved mood
* Improved body function
* Improved circulation
Atraumatic acupuncture needles are rounded at the tip so that they slide smoothly through tissue and are unlikely to cause bleeding. Needles are left in place for 15 to 30 minutes during which time the practitioner may manipulate the needles in order to strengthen or reduce the flow of Qi.
Are there similar therapies that don’t use a needle?
Related techniques include acupressure which involves the application of pressure on acupuncture points using thumbs or fingers. Electrical or laser stimulation may also be used.
Only single use, disposable, sterile needles are used. Needles are disposed of in a biohazard waste container for removal by a regulated biohazard waste service.
Feel of Acupuncture:
One of the most common questions asked by first time acupuncture clients is, “Does it hurt?” Many people assume that acupuncture will be uncomfortable. Acupuncture needles are fine and thin, some being 25-50 times thinner than hypodermic needles, and virtually painless.
When asked to describe their experience, first time acupuncture clients describe the treatment as being pleasurable and relaxing. Most people fall asleep during treatment. Others feel as if they are floating with a tingling, warm sensation. Other sensations that may be felt are heaviness, heat and cold. By targeting specific points at the beginning of treatment, an acupuncturist can stimulate the body to release hormones such as endorphins, which induce the calming effect described by many clients.
There are usually no side effects to the treatment. As energy is redirected in the body, internal chemicals and hormones are re-balanced and stimulated, and healing begins to take place. Occasionally, the original symptoms may worsen for a few days. Other general changes in sleep, appetite, bowel, urination or emotional state by be triggered; however, these symptoms simply indicate that acupuncture is starting to work.
When performed by a professionally trained and licensed acupuncturist, acupuncture is a very safe treatment with minimal side effects. The possible, but very rare and unlikely critical risks include; puncture of vital organs. Other risks also rare include; fainting, infection and bruising. Your treatment risk profile will be explained by your acupuncturist.
Before, during and after Treatment
Visiting an acupuncturist for the first time can be an exhilarating experience. Acupuncture is very safe. It is understandable that hesitations can arise from the unexpected. To ensure your practitioner can make an accurate diagnosis, there are a few things to remember before arriving for your appointment.
* Choose a qualified practitioner.
* Complete a full course of treatment.
* Avoid brushing your teeth and tongue before treatment. Also, try not to consume beverages that may stain your tongue, such as coffee, gum and candies. A proper tongue diagnosis is very important as it leads to cues of possible imbalances.
* Remove all jewelry. This will help the acupuncture in administering treatment.
* Acupuncture usually lasts 20-30 minutes so it is important to use the bathroom prior to treatment.
* Be honest with your acupuncturists when answering questions. All answers are confidential and aide in the diagnosis and treatment.
* Do not consume alcoholic beverages before or after treatment
* It is Important to use caution when your treatment is finished as treatments may cause you to become slightly dizzy.
* After the treatment be sure to rest and relax for the remainder of the day. Do not participate in vigorous exercise and avoid direct exposure to wind and cold.
* Be prepared to see some slight bruises from treatment
* It is important to relax during your treatment. You will benefit most if you allow your mind and body to relax.