What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is an effective form of health care that has evolved into a complete and holistic medical system. Practitioners of acupuncture and Chinese medicine have used this non-invasive 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 (pronounced "chee") and promotes natural healing by enhancing recuperative power, immunity, and physical and emotional health. It can also improve overall function and well-being. It is a safe, painless and effective way to treat a wide variety of medical problems.
What will my acupuncturist do?
During the initial exam, a full health history will be taken. Questions will be asked regarding symptoms, health, and lifestyle. Your acupuncturist will check your pulse and tonque. This information is then organized to create a complete, accurate, and comprehensive diagnosis of where the body has become blocked or imbalanced. After the interview process, you may receive an acupuncture treatment. Visits with your acupuncturist may last from sixty to ninety minutes.
Why do they want to feel my pulse?
There are twelve 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 twenty-seven individual qualities that reflect overall health. If there are any problems, they may appear in the pulse.
Why do they want to look at my tongue?
The tougue 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.
What can acupuncture treat?
Acupuncture is recognized by leading national and international health organizations to be effective in the treatment of a wide variety of medical problems. Below are some of the commonly treated health concerns that acupuncture can help with:
How safe is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is extremely safe. It is an all-natural, drug-free therapy yielding no negative side effects, just feelings of relaxation and well being. There is little danger and infection from acupuncture needles because they are sterile, used once, and then discarded.
Will my insurance cover acupuncture?
Insurance coverage varies from province to province. Contact your insurance provider to learn what kind of care is covered. Here are a few questions to ask:
What is Qi and how does it travel?
At the core of this ancient medicine is the philosophy that Qi, or vital energy, flows throughout the body. Qi helps to animate the body and protect 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. There are fourteen main meridian pathways throughout the body. Each one 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 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 nourishment the body requires to function optimally.
What can affect Qi?
Many things influence the quality, quantity, and the balance of Qi. Physical and emotional trauma, stress, lack of excercise, overexertion, seasonal changes, diet, accidents, 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 is excessive, or if the body is in a weakened state, then illness, pain or disease can set it.
Different Treatment Modalities
Cupping is a therapy designed to stimulate the flow of blood and Qi within the superficial muscle layers. It is used for many ailments including sore muscles, tension, neck pain, and the common cold. In this therapy, your acupuncturist will place small glass or plastic "cups" over specific areas of your body. A vacuum is created under the cup using heat or suction. They may be moved over an affected area or left in place. You may leave the office looking as though a large octopus gave you a big hug. There is no need for alarm. The slight redness will quickly dissipate.
Moxibustion is a treatment that uses an herb called mugwart. It may be burned on the handle of the needle, above the skin, on salt, or on a slice of ginger. This is used to "warm" acupuncture points or areas in order to quicken the healing process.
How many treatments will I need?
Treatment frequency and number of treatments needed depend on a variety of factors: you r constitution, the severity and duration of the problem, and the quality or quantity of your Qi. Some people experience immediate relief; others may take days or even weeks to achieve results. Chronic conditions usually take longer to resolve than acute ones. Plan on a minimum of a month to see significant changes. An acupuncturist may suggest one or two treatments per week, or month visits for health maintenance and seasonal "tune ups".
How should I prepare?