How Does Acupuncture Work?
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has been around for 3,000 years! Qi (pronounced “chee”) is the life energy flowing through the body and can be influenced and balanced by stimulating specific points on the body with very thin, sterile and single-use needles. These points are located along meridians, which are channels of energy that connect all of our major organs. According to Chinese medical theory, diseases can arise when the natural flow of Qi in the meridians becomes blocked. This blockage can arise from a physical or emotional imbalance.
From a biomedical perspective, inserting needles into the skin stimulates various sensory receptors that stimulate nerves and transmit impulses to the brain. The neurotransmitters then release endorphins which is the body's natural pain-killing hormones. Endorphins also play an important role in the functioning of the hormonal system. This is why acupuncture works well for musculoskeletal pain, PMS and infertility.
Some of the physiological benefits include increased circulation, decreased inflammation, pain relief, diminished muscle spasms and increased T-cell count which stimulates the immune system. Acupuncture also plays a part in regulating serotonin, which is why depression often responds favorably.
What Can I Expect?
Your initial intake will consist of reviewing your medical history and gathering vital information that will determine your diagnosis and subsequent care plan. Chris will look at your tongue and take your pulse, in addition to asking you questions that may not seem relevant to your symptoms (digestion, diet, sleep, tolerance to heat and cold, etc.). However, this is crucial information for a TCM diagnosis.
Your first visit will be approximately 30--45 minutes and on your second visit we will go over your report of findings as well as a care plan. Subsequent visits will generally last 45--55 minutes.
How Often Should I Get Acupuncture & How Soon Can I Expect Results?
Acupuncture works cumulatively and therefore, takes time, like tending to a garden or learning a new skill. Each person is unique and, therefore, responds differently to acupuncture. Generally, acute conditions can be treated effectively within a few sessions. Chronic conditions, which have developed over years, may lengthen the period of time for positive results. Whatever the case is for you, be patient with your healing process and stick with it.
There are signs to tell if acupuncture is creating a positive shift and working for you. Feeling less stressed is one of the first beneficial side-effects of acupuncture. You may also notice you are sleeping better, have more energy and your digestion is balanced. Complying with any lifestyle modifications that we’ve suggested will help accelerate the healing process and get you back to prime health.
You know the saying, “Things get worse before they get better. Keep going.”? Occasionally, your symptoms may temporarily increase after your first couple of sessions. This is known as “the healing crisis” and it is completely normal, and usually only lasts a couple of days. The best course of action is to stay hydrated, rest, get more sleep and breathe deeply.
How Can I Prepare For My Acupuncture Session?
It’s helpful to wear or change into loose-fitting clothing. If any clothing needs to be removed, you will be comfortably draped with sheets so that you remain well-covered.
It is best to avoid NSAIDs, like Aleve or Ibuprofen, for at least 4 hours prior to and after your visit. Acupuncture triggers an inflammatory response which aids in healing and NSAIDs inhibit the enzymes involved in that process. Also, abstaining from caffeine prior to your visit will allow your nervous system to remain calm during your session and make the needle insertion less painful.
These are some of the common conditions that can be helped with Chinese Medicine:
PMS, Menstrual Irregularities, Menopause
Infertility, Pregnancy Support
Allergies, Sinusitis, Common Cold
Back Pain, Sciatica, Musculoskeletal Problems
Chronic Fatigue, Fibromyalgia
Digestive Issues, Indigestion, Acid Reflux, Constipation
Headaches, Migraines, TMJ
Post-Operative Recovery, Palliative Care
Preventative Health, Wellness, Seasonal Attunement