What is an acupuncture treatment like?
The first acupuncture visit involves discussing your chief complaint, health history, and lifestyle habits. During the intake, your pulses will be felt and your tongue will be examined at to aid diagnosis. After discussing your treatment plan, the acupuncture needles will be inserted and any adjunct therapies will be administered. The needles may be inserted in your arms, hands, legs, feet, face, chest, abdomen, or back. The needles are retained for 20-30 minutes. During that time, herbal prescriptions will be prepared, if applicable. At the end of treatment, the acupuncture needles are removed and discarded.
How does acupuncture feel?
Unlike hypodermic needles, acupuncture needles are very thin and their insertion into the skin is nearly painless. You may feel the insertion, but the sensation should be brief and mild. You may also notice heaviness, dullness, aching, or a radiating sensation around the needle after insertion. This indicates that the body is responding to treatment. Styles can be adjusted for those wary of acupuncture needles.
What are the needles like?
The needles used in acupuncture treatments are sterile, single-use, and disposable, and come in different gauges and lengths. The most common needles used are 36 or 34 gauge and 1 or 1.5 inches long.
What adjunct therapies might I receive during treatment?
- Bloodletting: The use of a sterile lancet or needle to obtain a few drops of blood. This technique reduces venous pressure and invigorates Qi and Blood.
- Cupping: The placement of heated glass cups on the body to create a vacuum to move stagnation, reduce pain, and detoxify the body.
- Ear Seeds and Intradermal needles: The application of Vaccaria seeds or intradermal needles (very short needles) to acupuncture points with hypoallergenic tape to continue stimulating these points after a treatment.
- Electro-acupuncture: The use of a small, battery powered stimulator with leads attached to the needles that produce a mild vibratory sensation to enhance treatment effects.
- Gua Sha: The skin is stimulated with a round edged instrument to move stagnation, reduce pain, detoxify the body, and open the pores.
- Moxibustion: The burning of Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) to deeply warm and strengthen the body, increase immunity, respiratory and cardiovascular function.
- Plum Blossom: The stimulation of the skin with multiple short needles to increase blood circulation to the area.
- Tui Na: Chinese medicinal massage using many different pushing, pulling, pinching, grasping, kneading, and stretching techniques.
How should I feel after treatment?
Many patients will find acupuncture to be pleasant and relaxing, and usually experience significant relief of symptoms after the first treatment. Patients report feeling more calm, grounded, balanced, or in less pain after an acupuncture treatment.
How many treatments will I need?
Each patient responds differently to acupuncture treatments. The number of treatments will depend on the duration, severity, and nature of your condition. Some acute conditions may require only one or two treatments. Chronic conditions that have progressed over months or years may require several treatments. As part of your initial visit, a treatment plan will be developed and the number of visits you are likely to need will be discussed.
What can acupuncture treat?
World Health Organization reports that the following diseases, symptoms, and conditions have been proven, through controlled trials, to be effectively treated by acupuncture:
World Health Organization also stated that for the following diseases, symptoms, and conditions, the therapeutic action of acupuncture has been shown: