In the classical sense, there is a system of meridians that run throughout the body at different depths. It is within this network of channels that Qi (vital energy or life force) flows. When the Qi flows smoothly through this network, there is balance and health, but when there is a blockage in the flow of Qi, imbalance occurs in the system, and illness and disease arises. When a needle is inserted at a specific point, energy is activated in the channel, which unlocks the obstructed energy, telling the body to heal itself; allowing for open communication throughout the system.
2. What should I expect during a treatment?
Treatment takes about 1 hour acupuncture. When it comes will be asked some follow-up questions, the acupuncturist will feel the pulse, watch your language, and then start treatment. During treatment, you may feel a range of feelings both where the needle is inserted and in other parts of the body. You may feel a dull aching sensation, tingling, heaviness or feeling of energy in motion along a meridian. These sensations are called deqi (more on deqi blog), they are perfectly normal, and exactly what we're looking for. If you feel a sharp pain or discomfort during treatment, it is important that you communicate this to your acupuncturist so you can adjust the needle.
3. Does acupuncture hurt?
The needles used for acupuncture are very thin, about the same size or smaller than a human hair, and the insertion is usually painless. Typically patients feel beneficial sensations such as dull-achy, a pressure, a "shock" or tingling, a heavy sensation, or a sense of energy moving through the channels.
4. How often do I need to have a treatment?
For best results, it is recommended that come 1-2 times a week at first. As treatment progresses, the number of visits can be reduced.
5. How many treatments do I need?
Typically, a course of treatment is 10 sessions, at which time there will be a reassessment. But it really depends on each case and how acute or chronic disease. For example, if it comes with a common cold you will probably only need a visit.
6. Do you reuse the needles?
Never! All needles are pre-sterilized and individually wrapped and are used only once. After the needles are removed, they are discarded into a biohazard waste container and properly disposed.
7. Is acupuncture safe? Are there side-effects?
Acupuncture is a very safe, non-invasive form of therapy. Studies were conducted to quantify the safety of acupuncture, which led to the conclusion that it is indeed safe while in the hands of a skilled and trained professional (only licensed & board certified). The most common side effect found in these studies was fainting. In general, other minor side effects that may be experienced are nausea, dizziness, a drop of blood at the site of needle insertion, small bruises at the insertion site, vomiting, and in rare cases, pain at the site of insertion. For a summary of these studies click here
8. What conditions does acupuncture treat?
The World Health Organization (WHO) published an official report entitled, "Acupuncture: Review and Analysis of Reports of Controlled Clinical Trials," which stated that acupuncture is an effective treatment for these symptoms, diseases and conditions:
Adverse reactions to radiotherapy or chemotherapy
Allergic rhinitis (hay fever)
Depression (including depressive neurosis and depression following stroke)
Acute bacillary dysentery
Epigastric pain, acute (in peptic ulcer, acute and chronic gastritis, and gastrospasm)
Dentistry pain (including dental pain and temporomandibular dysfunction)
Periarthritis of shoulder
In the same report, the WHO also lists three other categories in which acupuncture is effective, but more trials are needed to gather evidence to satisfy the medical community. To view this report, click here.