Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a complete medical system that is used to diagnose and treat illness, prevent disease, reduce pain, and improve well-being. It is highly effective for most non-emergency physical, psychological and emotional problems.
What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is part of the comprehensive medical system of TCM, and is one of the oldest and most commonly used medical procedures in the world, originating over 3,000 years ago. Acupuncture treatment involves the insertion of fine, sterile, single-use needles into specific areas of the body (acupuncture points) to clear blockages and balance the body’s internal circuitry. This re-balancing gives the body the support it needs to function optimally and heal itself.
How does Acupuncture work?
Systemic balance is critical to one's health and wellness, which is known as homeostasis in western medicine. Any imbalance can result in disorders such as pain, injury, insomnia, digestive issues, stress, gynecological disorders, allergies, depression, colds and a myriad of other complications. Acupuncture helps restore one's natural balance so organs and bodily systems can work together in harmony. This sets the stage for the body to repair itself and maintain its own optimal health. From a Western medical perspective, research has shown that acupuncture treatment triggers different physiological responses, such as:
Reduces inflammation, both locally and systemically
Stimulates the immune system and increases white blood cells, which defend the body against infection
Regulates blood sugar metabolism, which helps the body use energy more efficiently
Increases blood circulation and regulates blood pressure (can lower or raise blood pressure depending on what the body needs)
Regulates and stimulates serotonin, a neurotransmitter that is directly related to sleep, appetite, and moods
Increases the availability of receptors in the brain that process and weaken pain signals, affecting both the brain’s short and long-term ability to reduce pain sensation
Does it hurt?
Patients sometimes feel a slight prick or pinch when the needle is inserted, but this should disappear within seconds. This is often followed by a dull ache, sensation of heaviness, numbness, tingling or feeling of warmth around the area being treated: these are all good signs we call "qi sensation" which indicate that the needle is in the appropriate spot and doing its intended work. These sensations are not generally described as painful, and they tend to dissipate within a few minutes. Most patients experience deep relaxation and often fall asleep during their treatments. *Acupuncture needles are solid and much finer than hollow hypodermic needles. About 40 acupuncture needles can fit into the tip of one standard hypodermic needle!! I often describe them as being similar in thickness to a cat whisker.
How many treatments will I need?
The number and frequency of treatments will vary from patient to patient depending on your basic level of health, the specific condition you are being treated for and its duration, and how your body responds to acupuncture. Typically acupuncture treatments are given 2 times per week in the first 2 to 4 weeks and then gradually reduced. After the initial few weeks of concentrated treatments, I see some patients anywhere from once a week to once a month. It really depends on the conditions being treated and the goal of treatment. Acupuncture works cumulatively and each treatment will build on the last unless spread too far apart. Generally, average cases take around 6-8 treatments to resolve, while more complex or chronic cases can take 10 or more. After symptoms are resolved, a monthly "tune-up" to maintain optimal health is recommended.
What conditions can be treated by Acupuncture & TCM?
The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified approximately 40 conditions that are effectively treated with acupuncture. However, Chinese Medicine is a complete medical system that is capable of diagnosing and effectively treating a wide range of conditions including but certainly not limited to:
Musculoskeletal & Neurological disorders --- arthritis / joint pain, tendonitis, bursitis, headaches, migraines, neuralgia, back pain, sciatica, neck pain and stiffness, Bell's Palsy, side effects of stroke
Chinese Herbal Medicine is a strong, safe and effective form of natural medicine. Herbs are prescribed to address individual imbalances and should always be taken under the supervision of a licensed practitioner. Herbs should be taken as prescribed. If you begin taking any other medications that you were not taking at the time your herbs were prescribed, tell your practitioner. If you experience any adverse reactions you believe are due to your herbs, please discontinue use and contact your practitioner.
Is there anything I should know before my first treatment?
Please wear loose comfortable clothing that gives your practitioner access to points on the legs, arms and abdomen / back. Please be sure to eat something at least one hour before your treatment and be well hydrated. Your first appointment will last an hour and a half, with all other appointments lasting one hour. *Please refrain from brushing or scraping your tongue the day of your appointment. *Please bring a list of all medications (prescription & over the counter), herbs and supplements that you are currently taking.