Q: What is Acupuncture:
A: Acupuncture is the ancient Eastern Healing Art that uses ultra-fine, one time use, sterile needles to stimulate specific points on the body; unblocking and correcting the flow of energy (Qi). Our body is constantly searching for homeostasis (balance). Acupuncture helps support our bodies natural balancing function by releasing endorphins (a neurotransmitter responsible for blocking pain receptors), increasing blood and oxygen circulation in order to reduce pain. Acupuncture also works deeply to help with mental-emotional healing and stress-reduction by getting to the root causes, not just the symptoms. If you are already feeling great, Acupuncture is wonderful preventative medicine. Keeping the body in balance is the best way to prevent illness and dis-ease.
Q: How long do the needles stay in? Do I have to stay still?
A typical acupuncture session is 60 minutes long. This hour includes time for your Acupuncturist to ask you questions in order to form a diagnosis and treatment plan. Needles are usually retained for 20-40 minutes depending on the condition. You will want to stay relatively still- but can usually adjust your head or scratch your nose if it's itchy. Sometimes however, depending on where the needles are, small movements may re-trigger some sensations- which may be intense for a little while. Large movements are NOT recommended as they could pull needles deeper in, bend them or irritate nerves. While needles are in- it is a GREAT time to relax and focus on your breath... and maybe even take a nap.
Q: Does acupuncture HURT?
A: Acupuncture should NOT hurt. If you ever feel PAIN, the needle should be adjusted or removed. I like to tell my clients that they should feel sensations such as heavy, throbby, achey, pulsing, deep or tingling. This is how we know we have accessed Qi. Some points you may feel strong sensations (which dissipate after insertion) and others you may not feel at all.
Q: What is Qi?
A: Other than a great way to get rid of your Q without a U playing Words With Friends, Qi is a deep and complex subject in Eastern Medicine that has been studied and contemplated for THOUSANDS of years. Qi is in EVERYTHING. From humans to a rock- the more movement/heat something has it has more YANG Qi. The more cool/still something is, it is more YIN Qi. Maybe we could think of it as electrons or cells? Constantly buzzing around, giving structure and 'life'. Most simply, it can be described as energy or somethings 'life force'.
Q: How am I suppose to feel after getting Acupuncture?
A: It's actually difficult to say how a person SHOULD feel. We are all so different and each of us is coming for acupuncture for a different reason. If you are coming for Acute Pain Relief or Limited Range of Motion, we hope that your see/feel improvement within the course of a few treatments. For digestive concerns, mental and emotional wellness and women's health it may take a few weeks to months to get desired results. However, after your first treatment, we hope that you leave feeling rested and relaxed with some immediate feelings of relief. Often I refer to my first treatment where I left the office feeling really euphoric and was 'hooked' on Acupuncture forever. Not every treatment is the same though, even for me. Some people may feel a little more 'raw' or that their emotions are heightened. This can happen because we are moving energy and creating space for things that might be deep within us that need to be expressed. Sometimes you may feel tired and really need a nap. Movement of Qi is what we are aiming for in order to help create balance.
Q: Why does my Acupuncturist want to see my tongue?
A: It might seem strange, but a person's tongue can tell an Acupuncturist a lot about the state of their health both constitutionally and currently. It makes sense because the tongue is the only internal organ that we can actually SEE on the outside. We look at the color & thickness of the coat and the body, moisture, texture, cracks, movement. All of this diagnostically gives us an idea of the internal issues that may be going on. Other than hoping this will be a restful time for you, this is also why we ask that patients do not drink coffee before an appointment... And please do not brush your tongue either. We like to see a healthy coat.
Q: What is my Acupuncturist feeling for when then touch my wrists?
A: Partly, as in Western Medicine, we are feeling for your pulse rate but also we are feeling for quality. In Eastern Medicine, your pulse says many things about the state of things inside and outside that may be affecting your health. There are approximately 27 pulses qualities and 3 positions on each side with 3 different depths. We are checking on overall strength, width, depth and quality.
Q: What do I wear to get Acupuncture or Massage?
A: When receiving acupuncture and certain types of massage such as sports, shiatsu or tui na, you would be most comfortable in loose clothing. In general, the Acupuncturist in most cases will need to be able to access your forearms, lower legs, back or abdomen and chest. In some other cases, they may need to needle into your lower abdomen, hips, gluteal area, upper legs and arms. Loose clothing allows the Acupuncturist to move garments around without cutting off circulation or causing the client discomfort. When receiving Sports, Shiatsu or Tui Na massage, the practitioner is not using oils or lotions (unless therapeutic oils are being applied). In this case you can leave loose clothing on. If you forget to bring loose clothing with you to your appointment, a sheet will be provided.
Q: What is cupping and WHAT are those marks?
A: Cupping is another ancient form of medicine that has been practiced all over the world for centuries. Cups (glass, ceramic, plastic or silicon) are applied to areas of the body using heat or a pump to create suction. We believe that pain is caused by the stasis of Qi and Blood. Cupping is known to help increase circulation of blood and lymph, which is great at reducing pain and increasing range of motion. It is also very well known and often used to eliminate 'wind' or what we know of as the common cold. Cupping techniques can loosen chest congestion and reduce cough as well as bring pathogens to the surface to reduce fever. The marks that are occasionally left from cupping look like bruises but they are not. Bruises come from impact; cupping marks come from suction. Typically, the marks go away in 3-5 days. Darker spots may take longer, but these are usually areas that are experiencing pain and tension for some time. There are a few different techniques & styles of cupping. Based on your concerns, your practitioner will discuss what they think is best for you and how to care for yourself after treatment.