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What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is an ancient form of Chinese medicine that has been around for over 2,000 years. It includes the insertion of very thin, hair like needles that are placed throughout the body along acupuncture points and channels. Acupuncture helps to restore qi and blood flow in the body to help restore homeostasis, or balance. It is a main modality in Traditional Chinese medicine which also includes moxibustion, cupping, herbal medicine, and gua sha.

How does acupuncture work?

From a Western perspective acupuncture is increasing blood circulation in the body. It reduces inflammation by working as a self healing mechanism. When you insert an acupuncture needle in the body, it sends a signal to your brain that you've been cut. Your body then starts sending blood, oxygen and nutrients to that specific acupuncture point. It also shifts your body from the fight or flight mode (sympathetic) to the rest and relax/digest phase. Endorphins are also released during acupuncture which can make you feel rested, energized, and rejuvenated. We like to say that side effects of acupuncture include stress relief and improved quality of sleep.

From an Eastern perspective acupuncture is working with your body's qi, or your life source, your energy. Qi flows throughout your body via channels or meridians. There are hundreds of points on your body, all with specific locations and functions. You can think of these like rivers flowing throughout your body, sometimes you get a blocking and it just needs some redirecting. 

What does acupuncture treat?

Acupuncture is safe and effective at treating the following: 

▷  acute and chronic pain anywhere in the body

▷  nerve pain and damage (tingling, burning, numbness)

▷ headaches (all types including tension type and migraines)

▷ vertigo and dizziness

▷ hormonal imbalances (low libido, menstrual irregularities including infertility, and menopause)

▷ sinus congestion & allergies

▷ mental emotional disorders (stress, anxiety, grief, depression, irritability etc.)

▷ digestive issues (constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, acid reflux)

▷ pregnancy discomforts (breech baby, low back pain and sciatica etc.)

▷ cancer treatment side effects

▷ auto immune conditions

Does it hurt?

Pain is definitely not what we are going for. I always tell my patients that if that were the case, I would be out of business! Expect some sort of sensation of course, the body is too dynamic to not perceive the self healing cascade initiated by the teeny tiny needle. 

Dull, heavy, achy, warm, tingling and buzzing sensations are all good and fine. Those are just the acupuncture points and channels being activated. Muscle twitches are also possible, that is the muscle releasing and relaxing. If anything is ever uncomfortable be sure to let me know. By the time I leave the room for your acu-nap everything should have calmed down and dissipated. 

What should I expect from my first session?

We will go through your health history and discuss what brought you in for treatment. I will then explain how acupuncture works and what sensations you can expect to feel during the treatment. I always allow time to answer any questions you might have as well. I will place the needles, make sure you are comfortable and then you rest and have your acu-nap for about 25-30 minutes. You then enter the zen zone and leave feeling lighter, rested, and energized.

How should I prepare for my first treatment?

It's always best to have eaten something before a treatment, think of it like fuel to work with. It might not be best to not consume large amounts of caffeine or any liquid before treatment. Comfortable clothes are also always a plus, however I always have plenty of fresh linens for any draping and coverage needed.

How many treatments before I start seeing results?

Expect to feel different after your treatment, the body is way too dynamic to not sense some change. Pay attention to how you feel the following days after treatment as well, it takes the body a bit to process everything. Of course it's not typically a one time fix, although it happens. Acupuncture works best when you can initially come once a week for 4-6 weeks. Sometimes every two weeks works great. My goal is to get you to a point that you are no longer thinking of the symptom that brought you in but instead you are on a maintenance level. A monthly tune up is an ideal place to be.

What is cupping? What are the bruises about?

Cupping therapy is most often used to treat pain in my practice. You can think of cupping as a reverse deep tissue massage. By creating an inverse pressure we are pulling stagnant blood and lactic acid to the skin's surface. These are the healing bruises as I like to call them. Cupping also works to break up adhesions and tension. The darker the mark the better, that's just more stuff that we are moving out of the way and the better I know that you will feel.

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