How does acupuncture work?
Over three thousand years ago, the ancient Chinese discovered that there are 12 regular meridians, 8 extra meridians and many other micro-channel systems (much like a highway or power-line system that biomedicine now believes is a mixed structure of nerves and vessels) in our body with over 300 acu-points (like cities connected by a highway) located on them. The meridian system connects the internal organs and external structures, such as skin, muscles, the five sense organs, etc., to function as information and nutrition transportation. If there is an imbalance or pathogen attack, it usually results in energy blockage, such as inflammation, congestion or bleeding, and on the related surface channel it manifests as tender spots on some of the acu-points. By stimulating such points the doctor can help the patient’s body to initiate self-healing to eliminate pathogens or restore balance.
Does acupuncture hurt? Are there side effects?
For the most part, no, because acupuncture needles are small, hair-thin and solid, not hollow needles like those used for injections or drawing blood. When used by a well-trained doctor, there are usually no side effects resulting from acupuncture. The needle is sterilized, individually packaged and disposable to avoid the possibility of transmitting any communicable diseases.
How long does each visit last?
The first visit usually takes anywhere from 1 to 1.5 hours depending on the nature of the problem. Follow-up appointments usually take 45 minutes to an hour.
What should I wear or bring to my acupuncture appointment?
The doctor may need access to your feet, legs, arms, stomach or back. Therefore, comfortable loose fitting clothes may be worn or we will happily provide you with a gown.
For your first appointment bring a list of current medications and any test results including blood and urine analysis, x-rays, MRI, and CT scan reports that may help us get a better understanding of your problem.
What should I expect before, after, and during my appointment?
At your appointment you will be asked a series of questions appropriate to Traditional Chinese Medicine. The practitioner will take your pulse on each wrist for several seconds for up to a minute to assess its quality. You will then be asked to stick out your tongue in order for the practitioner to assess the color, thickness, and moisture of the tongue coat. Please do not brush your tongue prior to your appointment as this will alter the tongue’s features. Other exams may be performed such as special tests for sports injuries, sensory and motor function, reflex testing, and blood pressure testing depending on the ailment being treated.
During the acupuncture treatment when needles are inserted, a needling sensation is often experienced. This sensation can be described as a heavy, tingling, shooting or traveling sensation away from the needle which is considered as energy flow and it will immediately subside. Most patients find that once the needles are in place they become very relaxed and even sleepy. Needles remain in place 20 – 30 minutes on the average. After treatment some patients may experience a slight woozy or dizzy feeling which goes away in a few minutes. Also, remember to eat a little something prior to your treatment, rather than coming on an empty stomach. It is also recommended that you not be overly full on food or drink when you are treated.
How many treatments will I need and how often should I come?
It depends on the duration, severity and nature of the illness. You may need only a single treatment for an acute condition. A series of five to fifteen treatments may resolve many chronic problems. Some degenerative conditions may require more treatments over time.
Typically, a patient will require a treatment once or twice a week depending on the condition. If the condition is acute and painful, 2-3 times for the first week will give the best results. For a chronic condition, treatment will require twice a week visits for couple of weeks, then once a week, once a month, or once every several months for maintenance.
If I have to see you over ten visits to get the best results, is it cost and time effective?
Acupuncture is a natural healing therapy. It stimulates self-healing for the underlying pathology, upgrades the hypo-function and down-regulates the hyper-function of the affected organs and tissues to meet the normal physiological needs of your body. You will discover it not only provides relief for the treated condition, but also amazingly improves the overall quality of your life.
As a direct result of the improved condition and quality of your state of health, you may take less medication, avoid unnecessary surgery and the subsequent complications. Generally speaking, acupuncture proves to be very cost effective!
After taking care of yourself, you will have a competent body and spirit to ensure a life of efficiency!
Could acupuncture conflict with any Western medical treatments I may be receiving at the moment?
No. Acupuncture basically stimulates your own immune system to cure the illness. However, if the patient is already too physically weak, the doctor may recommend a different natural therapy.
What if I do not like needles?
Alternatives to traditional acupuncture are available. You would be able to choose one or more of the combination of the following methods: acupressure, ear point manipulation, electro- or electromagnet acupoint therapy, moxibustion, cupping and herb therapy.
Is it just a placebo effect? Do I have to believe in it for it to work?
No. Acupuncture works whether or not you think it will. Acupuncture is even used successfully on animals and children. They do not understand or believe in the process yet they get better anyway. A positive attitude helps with any type of therapy but it is not necessary to believe in acupuncture (or to feel it working) for it to work.
Since positive expectations and belief in a particular therapy help to increase therapeutic results, the doctors at weMed encourage you to raise any concerns or doubts you may have about acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine. We would like to help you to better understand acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine so that you may have the most positive healing experience possible.
Does insurance cover acupuncture?
It depends on the insurance company’s policy. Check with your company for details on what is covered.