Acupuncture & Traditional Chinese Medicine
- Frequently Asked Questions -
In the west, acupuncture is perhaps the most well known aspect of the East Asian or Chinese Medicine tradition. Acupuncture is a healing discipline that employs the strategic stimulation of points in the body known to have therapeutic significance. Many have sought it out as a worthy alternative to opioid drugs for pain management but it does so much more than treat pain. Acupuncture is known to be effective and safe in the treatment of a wide range of health conditions and disorders.
Is Acupuncture Safe?
Is acupuncture safe? Yes, acupuncture is safe when treatment is conducted by a properly trained and licensed acupuncturist. All needles used are sterile, single use and after use, disposed of in a biohazard container.
Acupuncture should be performed by Licensed Acupuncturists (LAc.s) who are medical professionals who have completed thousands of hours of training and clinical rotations in Chinese medicine. Didactic and clinical training in an accredited Master's of Science Degree in Acupuncture is requisite for eligibility for board examination application and testing required for licensure to practice acupuncture across the United States and Canada. Licensed acupuncturists train extensively in the use of Universal Precautions that are utilized throughout the medical professions. Licensed acupuncturists are also required to be certified in Clean Needle Technique to be eligible for licensure.
Is Acupuncture Painful?
Acupuncture is not meant to be painful but it is not entirely honest to say that if done correctly a patient will never experience discomfort. While some discomfort is possible depending on the patient's condition and state of health, acupuncture is not meant to be difficult or uncomfortable. The intention is to make your treatment experience comfortable and positive. Occasionally, some mild discomfort can be experienced. Even so, the benefit of acupuncture therapy diminishes the inconvenience of mild discomfort.
What is an acupuncture needle?
Acupuncture needles are nothing like the wide diameter hypodermic needles that are used in blood draws or vaccinations. Acupuncture needles are extremely fine (about the thickness of human hair give or take depending on the selected diameter). Depending on the patient and therapeutic intent / treatment strategy a practitioner may select a slightly different diameter.
How does acupuncture work?
From a biomedical perspective, acupuncture stimulates a biological healing response in the body. The body's own homeostatic regulatory functions which oversee circulation, hormone balance, temperature, tissue regeneration and healing are affected. The stress hormone cortisol is cleared from the bloodstream. Circulation to relevant areas is reestablished in cases of pain and pain reduces as a result. Acupuncture is one therapeutic intervention of the East Asian Medical system which has been used for thousands of years to treat a range of ailments.
What will I feel?
Patients often report reduction in pain, increased energy and vitality and a discovered sense of peace and a renewed relationship with their body after their first treatment.
How many treatments will I need?
Acupuncture works as a series of treatments. As with any healthcare, it is unreasonable to make a definitive claim with regard to care required to reestablish health. The effects of acupuncture are cumulative and works when applied as a course of treatment.
2x/week for 2 weeks is recommended as a starting point. Acute conditions can be resolved within 6 sessions while more chronic conditions may require 12 or more appointments. You should feel some positive changes after your first session and after a sleep cycle to allow your system to recalibrate. At the start, sessions are closely spaced together to gain traction, feel improvement and sustain that improvement.
Thereafter, continued 'tune up' / maintenance treatment at a frequency of 1x/month may be scheduled to sustain healthy defaults on how you deal with stress of life, sleep, digestion, energy level by regulating your body's modulation and use of finite physical resources.