Q: What is Acupuncture?

A: Acupuncture is a holistic system of healing, developed and refined in the Far East over a period of more than 2500 years. Acupuncture points are areas of designated electrical sensitivity shown to be effective in the treatment of specific health problems. While perhaps best known for pain relief, traditional acupuncture is used to maintain health and treat a wide range of illnesses. It focuses on the patient's overall well-being, rather than treating only specific, isolated symptoms. The basic premise of all Oriental medicine is that health is dependent on the body's life force, "Qi" (pronounced "chee"), flowing in a smooth and balanced way through the network of meridians (channels) connecting all major organs. Qi consists of equal and opposite qualities, known as yin and yang. When the Qi is disturbed, these become unbalanced, resulting in illness. Any number of factors, such as anxiety, stress, poor nutrition, weather conditions, hereditary, infections, toxins and trauma, can disturb the flow of Qi. The acupuncturist restores the balance by inserting fine sterilized needles into the channels of energy, stimulating the body's own natural healing mechanisms. As a holistic method, the principal aim of acupuncture is to restore equilibrium between a person's physical, emotional and spiritual aspects.
     The skill of the acupuncturist lies in his/her ability to make a traditional diagnosis from what is often a complex pattern of disharmony. The nature of the disharmony is unique to each individual, and with traditional acupuncture, is treated as such with a personalized treatment plan. Your practitioner will make a Chinese medical diagnosis based on a thorough examination and consultation. [Top]

 

 

Q: What is moxabustion?

A: Moxabustion is an Oriental medicine heat therapy utilizing moxa, or mugwort herb (Artemisia Vulgaris). It plays an important role in many Asian traditional medical systems. During the moxabustion, the specially processed leaves of Artemisia Vulgaris are burned at or above the acupuncture points to warm regions with the intention of stimulating circulation and inducing a smooth flow of Qi and Blood. BURINING MOXA PIC.
     The word moxa comes from Japanese mogusa (the u is not very strongly enunciated). The Chinese character for moxa forms one half of the two making up the Chinese word that often gets translated as "acupuncture" zhenjiu. [Top]

 

 

Q: How do I choose an acupuncturist?

A: Your results with acupuncture will depend to a great extent on the provider you choose. We recommend finding an acupuncturist with whom you feel comfortable. If you like and trust your practitioner, your experience will be more positive. It is also important to know about the acupuncturist's training and experience, and what to expect from the treatment. The clearer you are about who is treating you and exactly what the treatment involves, the more you will be able to relax during the acupuncture session and benefit from this ancient form of health care.
    Credentials to Look For:
    Acupuncture is an acknowledged and respected field of medicine, and most states, provinces and countries requires formal training and certification. In particular, the United States has rigorous training standards for acupuncturists. Most states require a 4-year Masters degree in Acupuncture (MSAC) or Traditional Oriental Medicine (MSTOM) from an accredited acupuncture school. In addition, an acupuncturist must pass written and practical state and/or national board exams in order to become licensed. Training includes all aspects of Western medicine as well as Traditional Oriental Medicine. If you live in a state that does not require licensing, choose an acupuncturist certified by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. Its members are required to have a degree in Acupuncture or Oriental Medicine (Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine) from an accredited school, or have worked as an apprentice acupuncturist for at least four years, and passed both written and practical national board exams. Those who have passed the acupuncture portion of the exam are entitled to add "Dipl Ac." (Diplomate of Acupuncture) to their names. Practitioners of Traditional Oriental Medicine have passed the exams required for the Dipl.Ac. and the Herbal Medicine exam. [Top]

 

 

Q: Does the patient have to believe in acupuncture for it to work?

A: No. Acupuncture has been used to successfully treat cats, dogs, horses and other animals in a number of well-documented veterinary acupuncture studies. These animal patients do not understand or believe in the process that helps them get better. [Top]

 

 

Q: Does it hurt?

A: Acupuncture employs very thin, disposable steel needles 1/4 mm in diameter and 1 to 1.5 inches in length. The needle is solid and made from stainless steel. The point is smooth (not hollow with cutting edges like a hypodermic needle) and insertion through the skin feels very different from the injections or blood sampling. Most patients feel only a minimal pricking pain as the needles are inserted; some do not feel anything at all. Once the needles are in place, there is no pain felt. Although, it is considered normal and even beneficial to feel certain sensations at some acupuncture points during the treatment. You might feel tingling, distention, warmth, mild aching around the needle or traveling up or down the involved meridian.
Most patients find treatments very relaxing and it is a common practice for patients to fall asleep during the treatment. [Top]

 

 

Q: How many treatments and how often will I need them?

A: That depends on duration, severity and a nature of your complaint. You may need only 2-4 treatments two-tree times a week for an acute problem. For long-term, chronic conditions, it might take dozens of treatments starting from a few times a weeks and graduating to once a week session as the condition is significantly improved. Generally, the longer the condition has existed and the more serious condition is, the more treatments will be necessary. As a rule, a relatively intense treatment schedule in the beginning will at the end cut down on the total number of treatments and speed up the recovery process. For health maintenance and general well-being, once a month treatment may be all that is necessary. [Top]

 

 

Q: How long will a treatment take?

A: Depending on your condition and a protocol used, treatment might take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. [Top]

 

 

Q: How does acupuncture work?

A: Traditional acupuncture is based on the ancient Chinese theories of the flow of Qi (Energy)(pronounced: Chee) and Xue (Blood) through distinct meridians or pathways that cover the body in a way that nerves and blood vessels do. There is an old Chinese saying, “If there is free flow - there is no pain; if there is no free flow - there is pain”. According to the ancient theory, acupuncture removes blockages in the meridians and allows Qi to flow to the areas where it is deficient and away from where it’s excessive, regulating and restoring the energetic balance of the body.
    The modern scientific explanation is that needling the acupuncture points stimulates the nervous system to release chemicals in the muscles, spinal cord, and brain, including endorphins, enkephalins and other neurotransmitters. Either these chemicals will change the experience of pain, or they will trigger the release of other chemicals and hormones that influence the body's own internal regulating system, bringing about a normalizing effect on neuroendocrine function. The improved energy and biochemical balance produced by acupuncture results in stimulating the body's natural healing abilities, and in promoting physical and emotional well-being.


For more details on Western explanations of possible acupuncture mechanisms click here.
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Q: What will happen on my first visit?

A: For your initial consultation, the acupuncturist needs to assess your general health. You will be asked about your current symptoms and any treatment you have received so far. It is also important to gather detailed information about your medical history and that of your family, your diet, digestive system, sleeping patterns and emotional state. To discover how the energies are flowing in your body, the acupuncturist is likely to check your pulse. The structure, color and coating of your tongue also provide keys to your physical health.
Stimulation of specific areas affects the functioning of various organs. However, those areas may not be close to the part of the body where you are experiencing a problem. For example, if you suffer from headaches, needles may be inserted into your foot or hand. There are around 500 acupuncture points on the body, and an experienced acupuncturist will use a selection of perhaps 10 or 12 of these for each treatment. Often during the course of treatment, different points will be selected as the patient's condition changes. The acupuncturist may also supplement needle treatment with moxa, a smoldering herb used to warm acupuncture points. Other methods include lasers or electro-acupuncture. Massage, or tapping with a rounded probe, are techniques particularly suitable for small children or for people with a fear of needles.


   We recommend wearing loose, comfortable clothing to receive acupuncture treatment. You should also be aware that the acupuncturist might need to access points on your torso, arms and legs. [Top]

 

 

Q: Is it safe?

A: Yes. Licensed acupuncturists required to pass and be certified in the Clean Needle Technique exam that ensures safety of the treatment. Acupuncturist in this office uses only sterilized, individually packed, disposable needles that never saved or used in multiple treatments, which eliminates the possibility of transmitting a communicable disease by a contaminated needle. [Top]

 

 

Q: Are there “Do’s and Don’ts” for a patient on a day of treatment?

A: Yes, the following suggestions will help you get the maximum benefits from your treatment:

  • Maintain good personal hygiene to reduce the possibility of bacterial infection.
  • Wear loose clothing and if possible, avoid wearing tight stockings.
  • Avoid treatment when excessively fatigued, hungry, full, emotionally upset, or shortly after sex.
  • Avoid eating a big meal within one hour of your appointment (digestion alters the pattern of your pulse)
  • Avoid alcohol, tobacco, food or drinks that color your tongue (such as coffee) immediately prior to treatment or just following a treatment
  • Plan your activities so that after the treatment you can get some rest, or at least not have to be working at top performance. This is especially important for the first few visits.
  • Remember to keep good mental or written notes of what your response is to the treatment. This is important for your doctor to know so that the follow-up treatments can be designed to best help you and your problem.
  • Continue to take any prescription medicines as directed by your regular doctor.
  • Please bring with you any information about your case you may have from your other doctors, including things like lab tests, blood work, reports of x-rays or MRI's, etc. To save time you may fill out our office forms before coming into the office.
  • Relax; there is no need to be frightened. Ask your practitioner any questions you have along the way so that you can get the most benefit possible from the treatment.
  • During the treatment, do not change your position or move suddenly. If you are uncomfortable, tell your practitioner.
  • Very few people experience dizziness, nausea, cold sweat, shortness of breath, or faintness during treatment. This can occur if you are nervous. Inform your practitioner immediately so he or she can readjust or withdraw the needles. Also, let your practitioner know if you feel an increasing amount of pain or burning sensation during the treatment.
  • If you find your treatment unbearable at any point, be sure to speak up so that your practitioner can make proper adjustments or stop the treatment.

It also helps to be in a calm state. Try to arrive 10 or 15 minutes before your appointment to give yourself a chance to relax. Comfortable, loose clothing should be worn, and you should not wear any metallic jewelry, watches, or earrings. Makeup and nail polish should be minimized or eliminated. Please also avoid the use of perfumes, colognes or strongly scented cosmetics. [Top]

 

 

Q: What can I expect after the treatment?

A: You may note a spot of blood at one or more of the needle sites and/or a small bruise could develop. These should not be harmful, but please talk to your practitioner if you are concerned. Patients often experience the most dramatic results after the first treatment. Some patients experience an immediate total or partial relief of their pain or other symptoms. This relief may last or some pain may return after a day or so. In a few cases, there may be no immediate relief, but patients notice the diminishment of pain over the next couple of days. Generally, you should expect to feel better, but in some small percentage of cases, the treatment provokes a “healing crisis”; in such cases, the pain actually increases as a result of the treatment. This is actually a positive sign and usually indicates that relief will follow subsequent treatments. [Top]

 

 

Q: Should I tell my doctor?

A: Absolutely! Acupuncture is a legally accepted branch of Complementary Alternative Medicine (CAM) in the US, just like chiropractic manipulations. Only combining the Western and Eastern medical care we can reach optimum health and well-being. If you are receiving treatment from your doctor, then it makes sense to tell him/her about your intention to have acupuncture. Feel free to give your medical doctor any and all information about your acupuncture provider and encourage them to contact us. At the same time, you should always inform your acupuncturist of any other treatment you are receiving, such as medications, as this may affect your response to the acupuncture treatment. [Top]

 

 

Q: Should I continue with my prescribed medication while receiving acupuncture treatments?

A: Yes, at least until you have thoroughly discussed your options with your doctor or the practitioner who prescribed the medication. Many people seek the help of an acupuncturist because of dissatisfaction with drug treatment - whether it does not seem to be working or there are unacceptable side effects. However, DO NOT stop taking any medication without professional guidance. [Top]

 

 

Q: How effective is acupuncture?

A: Acupuncture is highly effective not only as a preventative medicine, but as a drug-free treatment of signs and symptoms. Studies indicate that acupuncture influences the central and peripheral nervous system and evidence shows it releases endorphins from the brain, which makes acupuncture particularly effective in pain control. Among a host of factors, acupuncture affects sugar, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels in the blood; the functioning of the gastrointestinal system; and the activity of the endocrine system. Acupuncture works with the body, strengthening and balancing energy. It improves circulation and allows the body to heal itself more quickly and more completely. [Top]

 

 

Q: What if I don’t have any health problems? Can acupuncture enhance my health or prevent future problems?

A: Yes. Acupuncture has traditionally been used as a preventive medicine. Recent research has now verified that acupuncture stimulates immune function, which increases resistance to bacterial and viral infections. Acupuncture can dramatically increase overall vitality and energy. It treats underlying causes, resulting in a deeper kind of healing. It brings about profound changes in peoples¹ lives on the emotional level as well. Many people find that occasional acupuncture tune-ups are the best medicine to feel "in sync" and insure continuing health. [Top]