WHAT CAN I EXPECT FOR MY FIRST TREATMENT? During your first treatment, you can expect a longer intake so that we can get a thorough background for why you're here and determine your treatment plan. Acupuncturists ask questions about the onset and the symptoms of pain and disease, go through a general survey of organ systems, and then assess tongue and pulse. The image of your tongue and the feel of your pulse give us some important information about your body's internal environment.
I'll answer all of your questions about acupuncture before we start your treatment. All follow-up treatments will include an abbreviated check-in and a longer time on the treatment table. Initial appointments last about 75 minutes, and follow-ups last about an hour. Loose, comfortable clothing is best for optimal patient comfort. Yoga pants or shorts are recommended for most patients.
We use very thin, flexible, and sterile, single-use needles. They’re inserted into acupoints that help move your body into healing mode. Most patients feel very relaxed during treatment.
WHAT DOES IT FEEL LIKE? For many people, acupuncture looks and feels like serious relaxation. Many patients drift off to sleep during treatment. For others, it feels like a sense of heaviness or dull achiness at the location of the needles. Each person’s experience of needle sensation is slightly different.
HOW DOES IT WORK? From an Eastern perspective, acupuncture promotes your body’s own self-healing properties to alleviate pain and treat illness. Chinese medicine sees the body as a microcosm of nature—a dynamic force constantly striving for balance. When there is illness and pain, our healing force gets stuck, depleted, or unruly, and there is disharmony—and usually pain. Acupuncture taps into that force and reminds the body to restore physiology and promote healing.
From a Western medical perspective, research indicates that acupuncture may mimic some of our body’s mechanisms for responding to pain. For example, acupuncture channels correspond with the nervous system; many important acupoints are located where nerve endings are accessible. Other studies demonstrate that acupuncture increases the release of opioid-like endorphins that produce an analgesic effect. Another plausible explanation is that acupuncture utilizes the body’s extensive network of connective tissue that connects our toes to our ankles to our heads.
DOES IT WORK? Yep. Ask your grandma, or your partner's best friend's brother, or your running buddy. Chances are, you know people in your own life that can speak about acupuncture's effectiveness from their own experiences. To boot, the body of evidence-based research demonstrating the effectiveness of acupuncture is growing all the time. The World Health Organization named the following conditions that acupuncture treats effectively in its 2003 report “Acupuncture: Review and Analysis of Reports on Controlled Clinical Trials.” This isn't an exhaustive list, but it's a good start.
• low back pain • neck pain • sciatica • tennis elbow • knee pain • periarthritis of the shoulder • sprains • facial pain (including craniomandibular disorders) • headache • dental pain • tempromandibular (TMJ) dysfunction • rheumatoid arthritis • induction of labor • correction of malposition of fetus (breech presentation) • morning sickness • nausea and vomiting • postoperative pain • stroke • essential hypertension • primary hypotension • renal colic • leucopenia • adverse reactions to radiation or chemotherapy • allergic rhinitis, including hay fever • biliary colic • depression (including depressive neurosis and depression following stroke) • acute bacillary dysentery • primary dysmenorrhea • acute epigastralgia • peptic ulcer • acute and chronic gastritis
BUT, WHY ACUPUNCTURE IN THE FIRST PLACE? Acupuncture has effectively treated people around the world for at least four thousand years. It’s one component of a complete system of medicine that we currently refer to as traditional Chinese medicine. Licensed acupuncturists are trained in this practical system of medicine that reflects the natural world. We are trained to identify symptoms and patterns in order to determine diagnosis and treatment. The key is that arriving at a diagnosis isn’t just about naming a disease; it’s about painting the big picture to understand the context of the disease.