The Best Acupuncture Benefits For A Variety Of Conditions

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Acupuncture is a powerful treatment modality that has helped millions of people over thousands of years all over the world.  If you are considering trying acupuncture or wondering if it’s right for you, here are some answers to some potential questions you may have. 

What Is Acupuncture & How Does Acupuncture Work?

Acupuncture is a Chinese medical modality that is utilized to treat a wide variety of signs, symptoms, and diseases.   Acupuncture consists of the insertion of very thin, sterile needles into specific anatomical points on the body.  Acupuncture works by needling points on the body in order to influence the flow of the Blood and Qi (pronounced “chee”) that flow through pathways called Meridians or Channels, which are associated with a respective organ system.  Strategic acupuncture points are selected and needled to create balance and restore proper physiological function.  When physiology is restored, then symptoms begin to resolve, and wellness is obtained and promoted. 

How Long Do The Effects Of Acupuncture Last?

There are many factors that can affect the duration and results of an acupuncture treatment.  Two main factors have to do with the condition being treated, and another is the person being treated.   Some qualities of the condition to consider are the type of condition being treated, how long the condition has been occurring, and the severity of the condition.   Another factor is that each person can respond to acupuncture differently. 

Acupuncture sends signals to the body in order to create healing pathways.  Problems that have existed for a long period of time may take more treatments to over-ride the existing pattern than acute condition and symptoms.   Treatments should progress into longer and longer-lasting results as the body begins to re-pattern itself into proper physiological function.  There will be other signs of progress than just the status of the condition being treated.  These other positive signs may be experienced as clear headedness, more energy, better digestion, better sleep, emotional wellbeing, etc. 

Is Acupuncture Safe?

World Health Organization has declared that Acupuncture therapy is safe when performed by a licensed and well-trained practitioner.   In the state of California, standard training consists of at least 3,000 hours of education/clinical training in order to take the licensing board exam.

What Are The Side Effects Of Acupuncture?

Potential side effects of acupuncture can be pain upon insertion of a needle, bleeding, bruising, and soreness.  These tend to be minor and brief if they even occur at all.

What Conditions Can Be Treated With Acupuncture?

Acupuncture benefits a wide variety of conditions.  Here is a list of some of some of the conditions that it can successfully treat:

  • For Pain

  • For Weight Loss

  • For Fertility

  • For Anxiety

  • For Back Pain

  • For Migraines

  • For Depression

  • For Sciatica

  • For Plantar Fasciitis

  • For Tinnitus

  • For Acne

  • For Gynecological Conditions

  • For Digestive Disorders

  • For Allergies

  • For Colds & Flu

  • And much more…

What Are the Differences Between Dry Needling vs Acupuncture?

Acupuncture and Dry Needling both utilize the insertion of sterile hair-thin stainless steel needles into anatomical points on the body. 

Acupuncture is practiced by licensed Chinese Medicine Practitioners, who have completed a rigorous 4-year medical graduate program studying theory, diagnosis, treatment, and practice of acupuncture (over 3,000 of hours of study in California). Utilizing ancient time-tested Chinese treatment principles, acupuncture can treat not only just pain, but also a wide-variety of medical conditions.

“Dry needling” is a more recent adjunct therapy that is utilized by physical therapists, chiropractors, etc. to treat pain based on the evidence of research pertaining to the efficacy of acupuncture for pain.  There are currently no credentialing bodies regulating the application of Dry Needling, and training can be as little as one weekend (16 hours). 

Currently, the California medical board has ruled that Dry Needling is under the scope of practice of Acupuncture, therefore only licensed Acupuncturists and MDs are legally allowed to administer treatments defined as Dry Needling.

What To Expect Before, During, & After Treatment

Before Your Acupuncture Treatment:

Your first appointment will last about 1.5 hours, and subsequent appointments will last approximately 1 hour.  Before your first acupuncture treatment, there will be series of forms to fill out.  If you have not filled them out online before hand, then allow yourself 15 minutes before the treatment time to do so at the office.  You will also want to give yourself a small amount of time to decompress from the stress of your commute.  There is no specific dress code for what to wear for an acupuncture treatment, but loose comfortable clothing is recommended.  If you have yet to eat anything at all during the day you will receive acupuncture, it is recommended to eat something light before you come in, but best not to come on a completely full stomach.

The consultation and treatment is performed in a private office.  The consultation consists of reviewing your health complaints, health history, and a series of questions that will help assess the general state of all of your body systems.  Even if you are coming in for neck pain, you will be asked about seemingly unrelated things such as sleep, diet, emotions, bowel movements, etc.  Any relevant signs and symptoms will create a Chinese Medicine pattern diagnosis, which will lead to an effective treatment plan.

Other diagnostic methods include checking your pulse, inspecting your tongue, and palpating parts of your body, most commonly the abdomen.  These methods help the acupuncturist further assess what is going inside the body.

During Your Acupuncture Treatment:

After the consultation, the treatment will begin.  You will either lay face up or face down on a massage table as instructed by the acupuncturist.   Acupuncture needles will then be inserted into strategic points along the body.   Other treatment techniques such as gua sha, cupping, or moxibustion may be administered as well.   Once the needles are in, you will be given a pager to alert the practitioner if you need any assistance, as you are left alone tor rest with relaxing music for approximately 30 minutes.   Most people go into a deep meditative state or even take a nap.   Next, the needles will be removed, and the practitioner will then go over your herbal prescription, and discuss the treatment plan.

After Your Acupuncture Treatment:

Plan to take it easy after your treatment.  Sometimes after receiving an acupuncture treatment you may feel a little lightheaded or “woozy.” If that is the case, please sit for a while in the seating area up front. In a few minutes you’ll be relaxed and clear-headed.  The healing process has started, and it’s best to avoid stressful situations, strenuous physical activity for a few hours. Very rarely, symptoms may become worse after an acupuncture treatment. This is often a sign that previously dormant conditions are being awakened so that complete healing may occur. This should pass quickly. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact the clinic.

Closing Thoughts on Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a safe and effective healing modality.  Hopefully the pros and cons of acupuncture have become much clearer, but if you have additional questions or want to book an appointment please do not hesitate to contact The Source. 

Lisa O'hara