Frequently Asked Questions: Acupuncture
1) How Does It Work?
Acupuncture dates back to the Shang Dynasty, approximately 1600 B.C. Acupuncture works by regulating a flow of energy in the body called “Qi”, pronounced Chee, a central theory to TCM (Traditional Chinese medicine). Disruptions in the flow of Qi are thought to be responsible for all disease. Acupuncture stimulates points on or under the skin called acupuncture points or acupressure points, releasing these Qi blockages. The Qi travels through channels called “meridians”. The Qi and its meridians and points resemble the central nervous system and its neurotransmitters and hormones. Needles, in theory, stimulate this into a systemic reaction.
2) Do I Have Qi Blockages?
A blockage of the flow of Qi can be detrimental to a person’s health, cutting off vital nourishment to the body, organs and glands.
Physical and emotional trauma, stress, lack of exercise, overexertion, seasonal changes, poor diet, accidents, or excessive activity are among the many things that can influence the quality, quantity and balance of Qi.
Qi blockages present differently in each person. It present as a sore muscle or pain, all the way to chronic diseases and serious conditions. Basically, a Qi blockage is any discomfort on or in the body.
Normally, when a blockage or imbalance occurs, the body easily bounces back, returning to a state of health and well-being. However, when this disruption is prolonged or excessive, or if the body is in a weakened state, illness, pain, or disease can set in.
3) Is Acupuncture Safe?
Yes! It has been used for well over 5,000 years to help billions of people get well and stay healthy all without drugs or surgery. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved acupuncture needles for use by licensed Acupuncturists in 1996. The FDA requires that Acupuncturists follow strict safety guidelines and use only sterile, nontoxic needles that are labeled for single use only. So there is never a risk for cross contamination or infection. It is also safe for all ages, however, our clinic prefers to treat patients ages 12 and older using Acupuncture Needles, and children under 12 using only Acu-pressure (gentle massage). It is even safe for pregnant woman, person's on all medications, and even those going through chemotherapy or radiation.
4) Will It Hurt?
The simple answer is no. Naturally, people associate needle pain with their past experience with injection needles (a shot you get from the doctor). However, you can fit close to 10 acupuncture needles inside the tip of one typical injection needle. They are extremely thin and flexible creating a micro-cut in the skin's surface. These needles also do not go in very deep which helps eliminate any possible discomfort. At the time of insertion some patients may experience a mild tingling or a sensation of fullness/heaviness, along with an increased sense of relaxation. These are all quite normal and suggest that the treatment is working. Should you experience any real discomfort, the needle would be removed immediately and repositioned in a way that feels good to your body.
5) How Many Treatments Will I Need?
Each patient is different. The length of treatment needed depends on how long the condition has been present and how quickly the patient responds to treatment. A general rule of thumb is; if a condition is more acute, patients generally respond faster than if something has been chronic. A typical treatment plan for an acute condition is 4-10 treatments. A typical treatment plan for a chronic condition is 8-20 treatments.
Keep in mind if your condition has been increasing in severity for several years it is not likely to find a magic cure to correct it over night. Acupuncture treatments work if you give them and your body the proper time to see its benefits.