What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is an ancient method of medicine that uses the body’s energy or Qi (chee)Acupuncture uses very fine, sterile, single-use needles placed in specific locations around the body to manipulate that energy. There are acupuncture points all over the body, including the face and scalp. Where you will have needles placed will depend on your signs and symptoms. Other modalities used in treatment can include electrostimulation and cupping.
Does Acupuncture Hurt?
The acupuncture treatments themselves typically do not hurt. Occasionally you will feel a pinching sensation as the needles are inserted, but most people do not feel anything. With the needles in place, you may feel pressure, tingling, aching, or a heavy sensation. This is called “de Qi” and is a desired response; it means your body is responding to the treatment and energy is moving. It is not expected to be uncomfortable or painful. If you do experience any pain or discomfort, advise your practitioner immediately, as your needles may need to be adjusted or removed.
Are There Any Side Effects to Acupuncture?
After an acupuncture treatment you will be advised to rest and drink extra water. Most people feel very relaxed and energized after an acupuncture treatment. On occasion you may experience a small bruise where a needle was inserted. This may present as an itching sensation after the needle is removed, and can be helped by applying pressure or ice for a few minutes after the treatment. If you experience any pain, large bruises, swelling, difficulty breathing, or dizziness after an acupuncture treatment, advise your practitioner or doctor immediately.
What Can I Expect from An Acupuncture Treatment?
You will meet with me for an in-depth conversation about your signs and symptoms and your comprehensive health history. You may be asked some questions about your diet, exercise, and lifestyle. I will ask you to lie down on a treatment table and the insertion sites will be cleaned with alcohol. I will insert the needles and leave you to rest for 30 minutes or so. There may be an occasional adjustment of needles. You may receive other treatments such as gua sha or moxibustion at the same time as acupuncture. Undressing is seldom necessary for acupuncture treatments but you should wear loose, comfortable clothes that provide access to your knees and elbows.
If you are receiving an herbal formula, I will explain the formula to you, ask you questions about food and medication allergies, and explain the different pricing options.
At the end of the treatment, I will discuss your treatment plan, which includes any herbal formulas you may receive, nutritional advice, and the plan for your continuing acupuncture treatments.
If you are pregnant or think you may be pregnant, please notify your acupuncture intern immediately. Most acupuncture points are safe to use during pregnancy, but there are a few points that are avoided as a precaution.