A. Acupuncture is an effective form of health care that has evolved into a complete and holistic medical system. Practitioners of acupuncture and Oriental Medicine have used this noninvasive medical system to diagnose and help millions of people get well and stay healthy. An acupuncturist will place fine, sterile needles at specific acupoints on the body. This activates the body’s qi(energy) and promotes natural healing by enhancing recuperative power, immunity, physical, and emotional health. It also can improve overall function and well-being. It is a safe, painless and effective way to treat a wide variety of medical problems.
Q. What is QI (chee) and how does it work?
A. At the core of this ancient medicine is the philosophy that qi (procounced “chee”), or life energy, flows throughout the body. Qi helps to animate the body and protects it from illness, pain and disease. A person’s health is influenced by the quality, quantity and balance of qi. Qi circulates through specific pathways called meridians or channels. There are 14 main meridian pathways throughout the body. Each is connected to specific organs and glands. Meridian pathways are like rivers. Where a river flows, it transports life giving water that nourishes the land, plants and people. In the same way, meridian pathways transport life giving qi to nourish and energize every cell, organ, gland, tissue and muscle. When qi flows freely throughout the body, one enjoys good physical, mental and emotional well-being. An obstruction of qi (energy) anywhere in the body is like a dam, backing up the flow in one area and restricting it in others. This blockage can hinder the distribution of the nourishment that the body requires to function optimally.
Q. What can affect your Qi(Energy)?
A. Many things influence the quality, quantity and balance of qi. Physical and emotional trauma, stress, lack of exercise, overexertion, seasonal changes, diet, surgery or excessive activity can lead to a blockage or imbalance of qi. Normally, when this imbalance occurs, the body naturally bounces back, returning to a balanced state of health and well-being. When the disruption to qi is prolonged or excessive, or if the body is in a weakened state, then illness, pain or disease can set in and sometimes take over.
Q. What to expect in the first treatment?
A. During the initial exam a full health history will be taken. Questions will be asked regarding symptoms, health and lifestyle. The acupuncturist also may check your 12 pulses, look at your tongue and conduct a physical exam. This information is then organized to create a complete, accurate and comprehensive diagnosis of where qi has become blocked or imbalanced. After the interview process, you may receive an acupuncture treatment. Visits with your acupuncturist may last from 30 to 90 minutes.
Q. Does my medical insurance cover acupuncture treatments?
A. An increasing number of insurance providers cover all or part of the cost of acupuncture treatments, but these providers may have restrictions on the types of illnesses they cover. Check with your insurance company to see what your policy offers.
Q. Why does the acupuncturist feel my pulse and look at my tongue?
A. There are 12 pulse positions on each wrist that your acupuncturist will palpate. Each position corresponds to a specific meridian and organ. Your acupuncturist will be looking for 27 individual qualities that reflect overall health. If there are any imbalances, they may appear in the pulse.
The tongue is a map of the body. It reflects the general health of the organs and meridians. Your acupuncturist will look at the color, shape, cracks and coating on your tongue. Each of these qualities will tell a story about the health of your body’s systems.
Q. How many treatments will I need?
A. The number of treatments varies from person to person. Some people experience immediate relief; others may take months to achieve results. Chronic conditions usually take longer to resolve than acute conditions. Plan on a minimum of at least 4 treatments to see any significant changes, depends on the diagnosis. Treatment frequency depends on a variety of factors; your constitution, the severity and duration of the problem and the quality and quantity of your qi.
Q. Do the needles hurt?
A. The sensation caused by an acupuncture needle varies; most people feel no pain at all, some patient said feels like a mosquito bite. The needles are tiny, similar to the size of your hair.
Where the acupuncture needle has been inserted, you may experience a vague numbness, heaviness, tingling or dull ache. Sometimes people experience a sensation of energy spreading and moving around the needle. This is called the “Qi Sensation”. All these reactions are good and a sign that the treatment is working. After the treatment, you may feel energized or may experience a deep sense of relaxation and well-being.
Q. How should I prepare for my treatment?
A. Come with any questions you have – We’re here to help you!
- Bring any lab reports and any diagnostics from your Medical Doctor.
- Wear loose, comfortable clothing
- Don’t eat large meals just before or after your visit.
- Refrain from overexertion, working out, drugs/alcohol for up to 6 hours after your visit.
- Between visits, take notes or any changes that may have occurred, such as the alleviation of pain, pain moving to other areas, or changes in the frequency and type of problems.
Q. Is acupuncture safe?
A. Yes! Acupuncture is extremely safe. It is an all-natural, drug free therapy, yielding no side effects except feelings of well-being and very relaxed. The acupuncture needles are sterile and single use; once a needle is used it is discarded into a biohazhard box. Acupuncturists receive 4 years of extensive and comprehensive graduate training at nationally certified schools. All acupuncturists must pass a national board exam and meet strict guidelines by the medical boards of each state. Please make sure your acupuncturist has met all of these requirements before allowing them to treat you. You can verify an acupuncturist’s qualifications by going to the website of the state’s medical board or to NCCAOM.org. Most acupuncturists have their licenses and Diplomas in their office where patients can see it.