QUESTION & ANSWERS
With over a 2,000 year-old history, acupuncture is one of the oldest healing modalities in the world. Its aim is to encourage the body to promote its own natural healing abilities and improve physiological function. This is achieved by gently inserting very fine, sterile needles into the body at specific acupuncture points. Acupuncture needles typically remain in place for 15-30 minutes, during this time manual or electrical stimulation may be applied to the needle. In some cases, radiant heat from a lamp or Moxa stick (a burning herb) may be applied to the top of the needle to stimulate additional effects.
How Many Treatments Will it Take to Get Results?
Achieving significant healing requires a commitment on your part. Optimal results are achieved when a patient follows the suggested treatment plan. Patients will usually begin to see positive changes within the first few treatments. The number of treatments needed to get results depends largely on the severity of your condition, how long you have had the condition, and how well your body responds to treatment. Generally, the more chronic a condition, the longer it takes to heal. Most conditions require 8-12 sessions, although some conditions may require 20-30 treatments depending upon the chronic nature of the complaint. Good and long term results take time. Do not expect to feel better immediately. Some patients recover quickly, while others respond gradually over a period of time.
How Does Acupuncture Work?
All of our bodily systems are constantly working together to maintain homeostasis. Stress, diet and environmental factors can all lead to disease or imbalance of this system. Acupuncture helps to restore this balance by stimulating our body's natural healing capacities by manipulating its vital-life energy, known as Qi (pronounced “chee”).
Traditional Chinese Medicine explains that one’s health depends on the flow of Qi through 12 major meridians within the body. These meridians are energy pathways that connect with all of the organs and major body structures. When there is a deficiency or an obstruction in the flow of Qi, its vital nourishment is unable to circulate freely throughout the body. Consequently, pain and/or disease arise. By stimulating certain acupuncture points, the acupuncturist can balance the body’s Qi, enabling it’s free flow through the meridians and restoring proper function.
The National Institute of Health states the following theories as to why acupuncture works:
Changes to the central nervous system during acupuncture sessions alter the regulation of blood pressure and flow as well as body temperature
- Acupuncture stimulates the central nervous system causing neurotransmitters and neurohormones to be released, thereby boosting your body’s natural ability to heal itself
Acupuncture reduces pain by releasing endorphins (which naturally occur in the body’s pain control system) into the central nervous system
From a western standpoint, acupuncture points are areas on the body that can affect nerve impulses, blood circulation, and regulate the hormonal system.
Does it hurt?
More often than not, the experience is relatively painless. Most patients find acupuncture very relaxing and are surprised at how comfortable they are during treatment, many patients even fall sleep. The experience of an acupuncture needle is nothing like that of a hypodermic needle (which are 10 times the width an acupuncture needle). In fact, acupuncture needles are not much thicker than a single human hair.
What Does it Feel Like?
Upon insertion, you may feel a slight prick as the needle pierces the skin, but quiet often you won't feel anything at all. After the needle is inserted into an acupoint, a minor soreness or a dull-achy sensation may arise. There may also be numbness, tingling, or heat sensations, none of which should feel disturbing or uncomfortable. These sensations are a desired effect and are necessary to obtain therapeutic benefits. The more you can allow yourself to relax and receive the sensations without fear, the more pleasant the experience will be.
Is Acupuncture Safe?
Yes. Acupuncture needles are 100% sterile and disposed of after the first use. Therefore, there is no risk of blood-borne disease transmission. In keeping with an ever-growing demand for alternative medicine, the FDA classified acupuncture needles as medical equipment in 1996, subject to the same strict standards as medical needles, syringes, and surgical scalpels.
As far as bodily harm, the incidence of adverse effects is substantially lower with acupuncture than with many drugs and other commonly accepted medical procedures for the same conditions. On rare occasion, the needle may nick a blood vessel and cause a small bruise that disappears in a couple of days. Since the needles are so fine, it is unlikely to cause damage to the tissues it comes in contact with.
How Long Does it Take?
The first appointment will last between 60-90 minutes, all subsequent treatments will take 45-60 minutes.
- Wear comfortable clothes that can be easily pulled up above the knees and elbows
- Never arrive for acupuncture on an empty stomach. Some food needs to be eaten within 1-2 hours before treatment
- Avoid overeating, alcohol, and high stress situations before and after your treatment
Does Acupuncture Really Work?
Throughout history, more people have been successfully treated with acupuncture than with all other health modalities combined. Today acupuncture is practiced extensively worldwide and is being used more frequently in America by patients and physicians. Acupuncture treatments can be given in conjunction with other forms of health care, such as conventional western medicine, osteopathic or chiropractic adjustments, and homeopathic or naturopathic prescriptions.
How Much Does it Cost?
About 50% of all health insurance policies cover acupuncture. Call to 858.204.9642 to find out if you're covered. For out-of-pocket pricing click here