What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is an ancient form of Chinese medicine, that has been around for thousands of years. Often with acupuncture the body is discussed in terms of qi. Stimulation of acupuncture points (by needles, pressure, etc.) is how the qi of the body is instructed to correct health issues.
From a western point of view acupuncture does not have one specific mode of action. It is thought to cause change in many systems of the body depending on what points are stimulated. Most often thought of as having a larger impact on the neurological and hormonal systems of the body.
Is acupuncture Safe?
Acupuncture is safe performed by a well-trained professional. An acupuncturist can help determine if acupuncture is safe and beneficial for your circumstances. Certain pre-existing conditions such as pregnancy may alter treatment, but when done by a professional it is proven to be safe.
What can acupuncture help with?
Acupuncture can help with a large range of ailments.
Including but are not limited to:
Low Back Pain
Headaches and Migraines
Allergic Rhinitis (Allergies)
Nausea and Vomiting
Do the needles hurt?
Generally, no, most of the time there is little to no sensation from being needled. Some do feel the initial puncture but usually you don't. Acupuncture uses very thin needles. The needles are filiform, meaning they are solid without a hollow. Several acupuncture needles can fit inside your standard hypodermic needle. Each needle is for a single use and never reused.
How often would I need to come?
The number of treatments needed will vary depending on many factors. How long you have had the condition, severity of symptoms and age, are just a few examples of the factors that can impact treatments. Often you may come more frequently (usually weekly) at first then transition to more spaced out appointments. For recommendations specific to your needs, feel free to email or call and I can help give an answer for your case.
Do you accept insurance?
Yes, I do accept insurance. Some policies will cover acupuncture and some will not. I am currently in network with some insurance companies and am working on more. To see if your insurance covers acupuncture fill out the free form. It will likely take 2-5 business days for me to get the results of your insurance verification. I will call to discuss the results of the verification.
I hate needles, is there any other way to get treated?
Yes, for those who can not be needled we do have non-insertive techniques, such as Shakuju therapy. Shakuju uses a teishin (a metal tool) to stimulate the points needed without puncturing the skin. The use of magnets is another option. They are commonly used in Japanese acupuncture. The non-insertive acupuncture techniques can be just as effective as the needling. Often the needles would be recommended but there are ways to treat without needles.
What is Qi?
Qi is roughly translated as vital energy. It flows all over the body through a network of pathways known as meridians. In Chinese medicine the proper flow of qi is crucial to the health of an individual. There are many types of qi all with unique functions.
What are Meridians?
A meridian is a pathway through which the qi flows in the body. Meridians work like a network all over the body. There are 14 major meridians, each has their own associations and functions. 12 of them are associated with an organ (ie: Stomach meridian is related to the Stomach organ and functions). A majority of acupuncture points fall along the meridians. Many of the meridians cross one another at various points. These intersections allow for the interrelationships between the organs and meridians. Allowing one meridian or a point on one meridian to affect another.
What bring to a treatment?
For a first time visit please bring a completed Health History Form. It is best to wear loose fitting clothing to allow the most access to the acupuncture points. Preferably able to roll up sleeves to the shoulders and knees comfortably. If you are using insurance please bring your insurance card with you.
What is the Difference Between Chinese and Japanese Acupuncture?
Both Chinese and Japanese acupuncture styles share the same underlying theory from the same classical texts. Chinese acupuncture uses the tongue and pulses to help develop a diagnosis. Japanese acupuncture uses abdominal palpation and the pulses to help form their diagnosis. Japanese acupuncture tends to use smaller needles with shallower insertions. Both styles of acupuncture are highly effective and can benefit individuals differently.
Will I get anything for between appointments?
Often during a treatment you will be given something to do or take at home to enhance the effectiveness of treatment. What is given can range greatly. You may be given some herbs to take daily, presstack or pressballs on acupuncture points (can help stimulate a point mildly over an extended period of time), an exercise to do, or some food suggestions based on TCM theory. All are there to help improve the time between treatments. The take-home portion will not include needles or other activities that require in depth training.
Moxibustion is the burning of moxa. Moxa is made up of the leafy part of the mugwort (artemisia vulgaris) plant. There are many different ways to preform moxibustion. It has many properties according to TCM. Moxa can promote the movement of qi and blood, warm the area, and dry up dampness. These are all actions that can enhance acupuncture treatments, depending on the need.
Loose moxa can be formed into moxa cones or balls. Moxa cones tend to be placed on the skin and burned down. It allows you to treat specific points or areas with moxa. The moxa balls can be placed on the handle of an acupuncture needle to help the heat penetrate deeply. Moxa cones can be placed in specific areas to help promote the proper flow of qi and blood in the area.
Moxa sticks are another form of moxa. It is pre-rolled into tight sticks of moxa. These are a form that can be used to cover a larger area with the warmth or target specific points. It is something that can be used at home to benefit certain conditions. There are many other forms of moxa but these are the most common.
Cupping is a technique used in Traditional Chinese Medicine is often used to break up stagnant energy or qi. By bringing the stagnation more to the surface it allows the body to process the stagnation more easily. It is commonly used to help soothe tight and sore muscles. Cupping often leaves muscles feeling looser and more flexible than before the technique is preformed. Cupping does leave marks on the area, which should go away in a few days after treatment but can last longer depending on certain factors. It can be done over large areas or targeting specific muscles. It can be a very relaxing technique to receive. How it is used depends on each individual case.
Gwa Sha is a technique in traditional Chinese medicine that involves scraping a tool along a specific area to help break up stagnation. This is often performed with a specific tool designed for gwa sha, Chinese soup spoon, or coin. Similar to cupping it leaves marks on the area treated, often referred to as Sha, meaning sand. Gwa Sha is commonly also known as coining or scraping.
The technique allows for the practitioner to deeply massage and work the muscles under the treatment area. It is helpful with musculo-skeletal pains and complaints. Often the goal is to improve the flow of blood and qi to the area.
Electro-acupuncture is a technique where two or more leads are attached to acupuncture needles. The leads will then receive little electrical pulses to stimulate the needles. Similar to a tens unit, it is a very mild stimulation. The main purpose is to treat pain related conditions. It can be a highly effective technique to control a lot of different pain conditions. It is not a painful technique when being preformed.
Auricular Acupuncture (Ear Acupuncture)
Auricular Acupuncture has many uses in Traditional Chinese Medicine. It is based on the thought that there is a “microsystem” (a map of the body condensed into a smaller area of the body) on the ear. It can be used to treat a wide range of conditions, from pain to nausea and much more. There are other microsystems found over the body, but the ear is a common one. The points can be needled or left with a take-home therapy called pressballs or presstacks. These are mostly just ways of stimulating acupuncture points aver a longer period of time, usually a few days.