Q: How does Acupuncture work?
A: The ancient Chinese made a link between specific hypersensitive points on the skin and specific illnesses or organ dysfunctions. When these points were stimulated, they discovered that the disease or dysfunction corresponding to the hypersensitive pattern would be relieved. From these correlations between the inner and outer states of the human body, emerged the external application of massage and needle stimulation into the growth of a comprehensive health system. Acupuncture relies on the understanding of the human being as a complex organization of energy (Qi) that forms and sustains our physical, mental, and emotional self. This life energy or, Qi, identified and measured today as bio-electromagnetism, flows along well delineated pathways referred to as “meridians”. We experience optimal health when our Qi flow is abundant and flowing without restriction, thus giving life to all organs and tissues. At certain locations along the pathways, there are small access points, where it is possible to adjust this flow. Acupuncture needles, heat, finger pressure, and electrical micro-current are the most common methods of stimulating these points. Stimulation of these acupuncture points allows the trained practitioner to treat the patients and address his or her health issues. When the energy within an organ or an associated pathway is not moving or out of balance then pain and/or dysfunction are the result. Stimulating the correct acupuncture points with the appropriate technique balances the energy flow so that health is restored.
Q: Are acupuncturists doctors?
A: Acupuncturists are not Medical Doctors (M.D.) but they are considered Primary Care Providers in the State of California. A licensed acupuncturist (LAc, DiplOM) must have successfully completed four years of post graduate education at an accredited school of Traditional Oriental Medicine as well as four national board exams in addition to a California State Acupuncture Board Exam. The four years of post graduate education include three years of supervised internship, treating and diagnosing patients in addition to academic training that covers Western biomedical science, Traditional Chinese Medicine focusing on acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, exercise and nutritional therapy. Some practitioners have studied in, and worked in, hospitals in China as well.
Q: What problems can be treated?
A: As recognized by the World Health Organization, acupuncture is able to treat both acute and chronic pain, viral infections, digestive disorders, women’s health, psychological/emotional disorders and stress, sleep disturbance, immunological disorders, dysfunction of the neurological system and dermatological issues. This is an example and not a complete list of what acupuncture can address.
Q: Does Acupuncture hurt?
A: Pain is not the goal of acupuncture. People often liken the sensation of acupuncture needles to gentle tug on arm or leg hair. That sensation quickly subsides and people then report an overall sense of relaxation. Acupuncture needles are as fine as one or two strands of hair which is not the same type of needle used for a vaccination or blood draw. Every person and acupuncture point is very different. Reactions do vary from completely painless to sensitive. For those who are unusually sensitive or who have an aversion to needles, alternative methods, like massage and herbal therapy, can be utilized. The Acupuncturist’s level of skill, precision, and technique makes a tremendous difference in the patient’s overall experience.
Q: What takes place during an Acupuncture Visit?
A: Each visit is 60 minutes in duration. A portion of this time is spent obtaining extensive information from each patient regarding their health concerns, efficacy of treatment and any questions they might have. A comfortable, heated massage table is used for the patient to lie on. The acupuncture needles are placed in the appropriate locations as determined by the practitioner. A relaxing environment is created through dim lights and music. Typically the acupuncturist leaves the room once the patient is comfortable and returns a few times to ensure that the patient is still relaxed and feeling good. During this quiet phase patients often fall asleep and then awaken feeling deeply relaxed and refreshed.
Q: Does Acupuncture cause bleeding?
A: Since the Acupuncture needles that are used are very fine in diameter, bleeding generally does not occur. Miniscule capillaries run throughout the entire body close to the skin surface. Sometimes it is possible that one is touched by the needle but any actual “bleeding” is rarely anything more than a small drop and resolves itself immediately without any pain.
Q: How safe are the Acupuncture needles?
A: Acupuncture needles are single use, prepackaged and sterile medical grade instruments. The area of insertion is disinfected with alcohol and, after use, each needle is disposed of as medical waste.
Q: Are there any side effects of Acupuncture?
A: Acupuncture restores the body’s natural, healthy function without side effects. Traditional Chinese Medicine sees and treats the person as a connected whole, not as isolated symptoms or as a specific disease. Acupuncture is regarded as “functional medicine” in that it works by stimulating the body’s own innate healing power. Patients usually discover an overall increase in well-being, particularly relief of tension and increase of vitality. Symptoms for which the patient was not seeking treatment and perhaps failed to report often disappear as well.
Q: How does the Acupuncturist know where the energy imbalances are?
A: The acupuncturist will evaluate a patient’s condition through his or her medical history and current symptoms, through visual examination, particularly of eyes, tongue, and skin, and finally through reading the pulses. Pulse diagnosis is a sophisticated diagnostic art that draws on an exquisite sensitivity on the part on the practitioner. There are nine positions at each wrist, each one yielding information about an organ and its related functions, as well as blood flow and quality, the nature, cause, and state of an acute or chronic illness, and more. At each visit, the acupuncturist may take the pulses to discern state of the patient’s health and to formulate the day’s treatment plan.
Q: How many Acupuncture Treatments are needed and how often?
A: Frequency and quantity of visits depend on how long the person’s condition existed before starting acupuncture, whether or not the patient has had long-term drug therapy and/or surgery and on their overall health. Your acupuncturist at CHIROPRACTIQUE will customize your Acupuncture Care Plan. Some conditions, such as muscle spasms, neck pain, back pain and low back pain can respond quickly even if the condition has been chronic. There are some issues that typically resolve in a specific number of treatments, however, it still varies with each individual. Most patients feel a positive response in only a few visits. Weekly treatments are the norm, but there are conditions requiring more frequent visits, like severe pain and stroke. Acupuncture therapy has more chance of success when the patient seeks treatment as soon as possible after an illness or injury, follows the course of treatment faithfully, and makes appropriate dietary and lifestyle changes to support the healing process.