Frequently Asked Questions about Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine
What is Chinese medicine?
What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a medical practice used within Chinese medicine to move qi and balance yin and yang throughout the body-mind. It is the insertion of very thin filiform needles into the body to unblock and work with qi. According to Chinese medical theory, blocked and/or disturbed qi can lead to disharmony, causing physical and mental health ailments. Acupuncturists insert acupuncture needles at specific points along meridians or channels to effect change in qi flow, thereby restoring balance, initiating the body-mind’s own innate healing capabilities, and promoting deep relaxation.
Does Acupuncture Hurt?
How Does Acupuncture Work?
We don’t really know how it works yet, but researchers are trying hard to figure it out! We do know that acupuncture does work, though, because people get better every day using it; and we do have a few theories as to how it works based on the research that has been done thus far. Most of the research has shown acupuncture to stimulate anti-stress and pro-healing biochemicals such as endorphins, oxytocin, and adenosine, and help switch the body from a “flight-or-fight” sympathetic nervous system state to a “rest-and-digest” parasympathetic state. One possible mechanism of action is through the acupuncture needle’s effects on connective tissue. Studies have shown that when an acupuncture needle is inserted and retained for a set amount of time, the constituents of the connective tissue surrounding the needle reorient themselves to the needle, thereby effecting a seemingly unconnected part of the body. This is one possible explanation as to why, for example, a needle in the lower leg can diminish the feelings of nausea felt in the stomach.
Is Acupuncture Safe?
When performed by a licensed and well-trained practitioner using sterile needles, acupuncture is very safe. All needles are made with highest quality surgical-grade stainless steel, individually packaged and sterilized with ethylene-oxide gas (ETO) and are single-use. Our acupuncturists are certified in Clean Needle Technique, and take every precaution necessary to ensure your safety. Side effects of acupuncture are rare, but may include soreness, minor bleeding and bruising where needles were inserted, with soreness and bruising lasting no more than a day or two. Because needles are sterile and single use, risk of infection is very low.
How Can I Prepare For My First Acupuncture Treatment?
Be sure to have eaten within 30 minutes of your acupuncture appointment. Wear loose, comfortable clothes, if possible, and keep hydrated. Bring a list of all herbs, supplements and medications you are currently taking.
What Can I Expect at my First Acupuncture Session?
Can Children Receive Acupuncture?
Yes, children of all ages are welcome to receive Chinese medicine and acupuncture. Depending on the age of the child, needles are inserted and taken out immediately with no retention period. There are other non-needle tools we can use, too, such as Pointer Plus, a handheld microstimulation device and tei-shin, a small handheld tool with a rounded tip used to stimulate acupuncture points without inserting a needle.
Who Should Not Receive Acupuncture?
Anybody with a blood disorder, any type of cancer, and women in their first trimester of pregnancy need to speak with their doctor(s) before beginning Chinese medical treatment. In some cases, a doctor’s note in support of Chinese medical treatment and/or acupuncture may need to accompany the patient on their first visit.
What Conditions Can Chinese Medicine Treat?
- Acute and Chronic Pain (such as headaches, back pain, neck pain, etc.)
- Arthritis (Rheumatoid and osteoarthritis)
- Chronic Fatigue/Fatigue
- Gastrointestinal disorders (nausea, acid reflux, gas/bloating, IBS, IBD, etc.)
- Sinus Congestion
- Women’s health related conditions (dysmenorrhea, menstrual irregularities, fertility, labor pains, menopausal symptoms, etc.)
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