How does acupuncture work?

There are twelve main meridians or pathways in the body in which qi (energy) flows. Each of these pathways feeds the main organ systems of the body. When this flow of qi is blocked, excessive or deficient symptoms will manifest on a physical or emotional level. The use of acupuncture needles and moxibustion (see below) influences qi of the body to return to a natural flow and rhythm. 

 

Do the needles hurt?

Acupuncturist use stainless-steel sterile needles that are not much thicker than a human hair. The needles are much thinner than what western medical doctors use for injections. Many people feel nothing at all when the needle is inserted. When the needle hits the depth of qi flow in the body the patient might experience a slight momentary sensation of throbbing or aching. After a few seconds the sensation dissipates and the patient feels nothing at all. 

 

What is moxibustion? 

Moxibustion, also known as moxa (mugwort), is a form of heat therapy. Small cones of the dried herb are burned over specific acupuncture points and removed when the patient starts to feel a comfortable warming sensation. Moxa is used to warm the meridians, expel cold and promote circulation over areas of chronic pain and muscle tension.

 

Is acupuncture safe?

Acupuncture is very safe when performed by a licensed acupuncturist who has graduated from an accredited school. Practitioners spend 3-4 years studying Chinese Medicine and complete more than 500 hours of supervised clinical practice.

Is acupuncture safe during pregnancy?

Not only is acupuncture clinically proven to enhance fertility and mitigate the side effects of IVF, it is also utilized to help promote a healthy pregnancy. It can help reduce morning sickness, ease discomfort, turn a breech baby and diminish postpartum depression. 

 

What can I expect during a treatment?

The first 10-15 minutes of a treatment are spent catching up with the patient and inquiring how they are doing on both a physical and emotional level. The practitioner takes the patient’s pulses, examines the tongue and palpates the meridians to help craft a unique treatment to suit the patient’s individual needs. Depending on the treatment plan, needles are either quickly inserted and then removed or retained anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes. Additional modalities such as gua sha and cupping may be used if deemed appropriate. After treatment most patients should expect to leave feeling a positive shift in their mind and/or body. Sometimes the patient might experience minor soreness, bleeding or bruising in areas where the needles were inserted. 

 

How many treatments will I need?

This requires a very individualized answer since every patient presents with a unique history and set of symptoms. The chronicity of the issue will greatly influence how much treatment is needed. Acute problems could be rectified in as little as 5-8 sessions. More chronic conditions will need a longer course of treatment. It is recommended for patients to start with weekly treatments since each treatment will build upon the previous one. As the patient starts to improve treatments are stretched out to every other week or to possibly once a month. 

 

Are there any adverse reactions to expect from treatment?

The majority of patients will feel fine after treatment. However, some patients experience a worsening of symptoms before things start to improve. Acupuncturist refer to this phenomena as a ‘healing crisis’ and is seen as a good sign as the body begins to restore itself to a healthier equilibrium and clear out unwanted problems. These symptoms should only last for 24-48 hours and should be followed by an improvement in the patient’s condition. 

 

How can I best prepare for treatment?

It is advisable to eat a light snack or a meal a few hours before treatment so you do not arrive with an empty stomach. Come dressed in comfortable and loose fitting clothing. After treatment it is recommended that patients not engage in strenuous physical activity. Rest is a great way to help the body integrate the treatment. 

 

Any other questions?

Feel free to call us at 240-360-1712 or email rena@rootsacupunctureandhealing.com and we would be happy to chat and make sure your questions and concerns are all answered.