What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture has been practiced in China for thousands of years. It developed into a complete medical system to treat most illnesses. Acupuncture is a technique that is used to help balance the body's flow of energy, called qi. Every living creature has qi! In the body, qi flows through pathways, called meridians. Meridians are similar to interconnected roads and highways. They run along the body's surface and link into the body's interior where they connect to organs, bones, joints and tendons.
The surface channels on the body have areas where qi collects, these ares are called acupuncture points. There are a standard 359 points on the body. In addition, the ear and scalp have microsystems with extra points. Once these points are needled with very thin and small needles, the qi can be rebalanced to bring the body back to homeostasis. Qi affects the physical, mental and emotional states. When qi gets blocked or stagnated, the body manifests it as physical pain, disease or emotional/mental distress. Many things can cause qi stagnation, a few examples are: emotional or physical stress, poor diet, or lifestyle.
How to choose an Acupuncturist?
There are varying levels of education to practice acupuncture. Acupuncture should only be administered by a practitioner that has had proper training. Ask your practitioner about their educational process to ensure the best care possible.
A typical Licensed Acupuncturist (LAc) who received a degree from an ACAOM accredited college has passed the national certification exams from NCCAOM*. They had 3-4 years (1500-2000 hours) of contact hours in acupuncture education.
A typical medical doctor, osteopath, naturopath, or chiropractor who uses acupuncture as another treatment modality have 300 hours or less in acupuncture education.
A typical physical therapist who performs dry needling technique has 40-50 hours of continuing education hours in dry needling.
Many providers also may have a certificate from the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). This is a nonprofit group that promotes standards in acupuncture and Oriental medicine.
Have more questions? Check out www.ccaom.org
Can acupuncture help me?
Acupuncture has been used over 2,000 years to treat ailments.
The World Health Organization acknowledges acupuncture to treat over 100 conditions.
Mayo Clinic states that it can be used for:
• Chemotherapy – induced nausea and vomiting
• Labor pain
• Low back pain
• Menstrual cramps
• Dental pain
• Tennis elbow
For more information click here: Mayo Clinic
What does it feel like?
Acupuncture needles are thin and very small comparable to human hair. When inserted through the skin there is minimal to no pain. Once the needles are in place there should be no pain. People experience different sensations once the needles are set, sensations can vary from warmth, chills, tingling, or heaviness.
What is the first treatment like?
Once you arrive to the office there will be several forms to fill out. After your forms are filled out, we will begin the thorough intake on all organ systems, including tongue and pulse examination to gain insight of your health. Once the treatment plan is chosen, the treatment will begin. You will be asked to lie on the treatment table, and depending on the treatment you may need to change into a gown. Wearing stretchy or comfortable clothes to a treatment are optimal. After the needles are placed, you will rest on the table for about 30 minutes. The room will be darkened with relaxing music being played. Most patients fall asleep during the treatment. The practitioner will check in half way through the treatment to make sure you are still comfortable. The needles are then removed and the treatment is concluded. Most patients find the treatments to be relaxing.
How many treatments will I need?
Every person’s health is different, therefore, they respond differently to acupuncture and their treatments will vary. Generally, acute (short-term) illnesses will respond to acupuncture quicker compared to chronic (long-term) illnesses. A typical recommendation is to get acupuncture 1-2 times a week for three weeks to access treatment response. Some conditions will be healed after one treatment and others may take months. There are some rare cases that patients don’t respond to acupuncture or show any improvements.
Does my insurance cover acupuncture?
Yes- see Insurance page to verify coverage.
Are there side effects?
After a treatment some experience what is called a "healing response." A healing response is the body eliminating toxins at a faster rate than the body can dispose of them. It can appear as if a person getting treatment becomes ill in the process of becoming more healthy.
Some symptoms of a healing response:
• Symptoms of a past injury / illness or more intense symptoms of current illness
• Common cold
• Depression, anxiety, mood swings, crying, anger
• Extreme fatigue
• Diarrhea or constipation
These symptoms come on shortly after a treatment and can go away within hours or up to 3 days. A healing reaction indicates that your body is in the process of healing. The best way to get through a healing reaction is to rest and drink plenty of water.