Acupuncture

What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is one of the oldest forms of medicine in the world.  Originating in China more than 2,500 years ago, acupuncture is currently one of the most thoroughly researched, practiced and respected forms of complementary medicine available anywhere.

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, your overall health is determined by the quality of the Qi (energy) flow through the natural pathways of your body (meridians).  Acupuncture uses a variety of techniques, including placing very thin sterile needles into specific points on the body to stimulate and improve your Qi flow.

How does acupuncture work?

From a Chinese perspective, acupuncture works by stimulating specific points.  Stimulating these points has many results including increasing the flow of qi and blood, correcting irregular movement of qi, stimulating associated organs and specific functions associated with that individual point.  Because of it’s high efficacy, acupuncture is being studied from a Western biomedical model and several theories have been suggested for how it works.  There is evidence of local release of endorphins near stimulated acupuncture points and that nearby connective tissue is activated creating changes throughout the body.  These theories are interesting and we’ll probably see more information emerging as research continues.

What is acupuncture good for?

Pain

  • Back ache
  • Headache
  • Neck Pain
  • Degenerative disk disease
  • Arthritis
  • Pain from cancer
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Menstrual cramps
  • Musculoskeletal pain from sprain or strain all over the body
  • Neurological pain and other symptoms such as numbness, tingling or weakness
  • Pain and injury following a car accident

 

Upper Respiratory Complaints

Our practitioners utilize gentle techniques to ensure your comfort.

Our practitioners utilize gentle techniques to ensure your comfort.

  • Common Cold
  • Allergies
  • Cough
  • Sinusitis
  • Sore Throat

 

Digestive Disorders

  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Heartburn, reflux (GERD)
  • Irritable Bowel
  • Nausea (pregnany, cancer, chemotherapy, illness)

 

Urinary, Menstrual and Reproductive Disorders

  • Infertility
  • Infection
  • Heavy, irregular or painful menses
  • Prostatitis

 

Other Conditions

  • Hives
  • Eczema
  • Psoriasis
  • Insomnia
  • Tinnitus
  • Hypertension
  • Anxiety and stress

Does acupuncture interfere with medication?

Generally, no, but your treatment is likely to improve your health and may change your need for certain medications.  Be sure to follow up with your prescribing physician regularly as your symptoms change.

What are appointments like?

An acupuncture appointment with our providers will begin much like any medical office visit.  We will talk to you about your symptoms, gather information about your health and history, and perform a physical exam. The doctor will then determine which acupuncture points to utilize in your treatment and get your comfortably situated on the table.  After the sterile needles are in place, you will rest with the needles in place in for 15-45 minutes.  Depending on your condition, you may the turn over for additional treatment on the other side.

How should I prepare for an acupuncture treatment?

You should come to your appointment fed and hydrated, but not overly full.  Use the restroom before your appointment as needed.  Wear comfortable clothing.  It is helpful if clothing can be raised over the knees and elbows, but if it cannot, gowns are available and sheets may be used for draping.

Does it hurt?

Acupuncture needles are very thin, so they typically do not cause much, if any, discomfort.  Our providers utilize very gentle techniques to maintain patient comfort.  The initial insertion can sometimes be felt as a mild pricking sensation.  Occasionally stronger sensations are felt, but these are usually either transient or the needles can be adjusted or removed for your comfort.

How does it feel?  What should I expect?

Cupping with glass or plastic cups may be a part of your treatment.

Cupping with glass or plastic cups may be a part of your treatment.

Generally, acupuncture treatments are very relaxing.  The needles affect the nervous system and usually cause a switch from the sympathetic “fight or flight” system to the parasympathetic “rest and digest” system.  Many patients sleep during their acupuncture treatment.  Local sensations vary and include: no sensation, tingling, itching, a dull mild ache, a sensation of swelling, cold, hot and feelings in other areas – such as feeling a point in your foot with a needle insertion in the hand.

Does acupuncture include other types of treatment?

Yes.  An acupuncture treatment may include several other treatment types, such as acupressure; moxibustion (a type of herbal heat treatment); gua sha; shiatsu or tuina (types of massage); cupping or prescriptions for specific exercises such as taiji (tai chi) or qigong.  Your provider may also advise you on herbal or nutritional techniques to address your symptoms.  Your provider will discuss these techniques with you as they are used.

How many treatments will I need?

Number of treatments varies by your constitution and complaint.  Healthy people with acute complaints such as common cold may respond well to a single treatment.  For chronic complaints, a series of multiple treatments will be recommended.  Your provider will discuss suggested treatment frequency with you during your visit.