Q: Does it hurt?
A: It is nothing like receiving an injection. Acupuncture needles are filiform (solid shaft) unlike needles used for injections that have a hollow center (hypodermic). This allows them to be much thinner. Acupuncture needles are typically not much thicker than a human hair and their insertion is practically painless. In some cases, you will not even know the needles are in place. In others you may experience tingling, warmth, heaviness or dull sensation. Most people find acupuncture treatments relaxing.
Q: Is acupuncture safe?
A: When acupuncture is performed by a competently trained and licensed professional, acupuncture is extremely safe. All acupuncturists today use individually packaged, pre-sterilized, single use needles. They are disposed of immediately after treatment and never reused. So there is virtually no chance of infection or contagion.
Q: How does it work?
A: Eastern Explanation: The life energy flowing through the body which is termed Qi (pronounced chee)
can be influenced and balanced by stimulating specific points on the body. These points are located along channels of energy known as “meridians” that connect all of our major organs. According to Chinese medical theory, illness arises when the cyclical flow of Qi in the meridians becomes unbalanced or is blocked.
Acupuncture points are areas of designated electrical sensitivity. Inserting needles at these points stimulates various sensory receptors and transmit impulses to the hypothalamic-pituitary system. This system releases neurotransmitters and endorphins, the body's natural pain-killing hormones. It is estimated that endorphins are 200 times more potent than morphine! Endorphins also play a big role in the functioning of the hormonal system. This is why acupuncture works well for back pain and arthritis and also for PMS and infertility.
The substances released as a result of acupuncture not only relax the whole body, they regulate serotonin in the brain which plays a role in disposition. This is why depression can be treated with acupuncture.
Q: How many treatments do I need?
A: This depends on the duration, severity and nature of your complaint. You may need only 1-3 treatments for an acute condition. Some chronic ailments require longer courses of treatment with noticeable results occurring after 4-7 treatments.
Q: Do I need to do anything before or during treatment?
A: Wear loose fitting comfortable clothing to your treatment and make sure that you have eaten something. It is generally not a good idea to be treated on an empty stomach as it can cause you to feel faint. During the treatment simply relax and breathe. Notify your practitioner if you feel uncomfortable and don’t hesitate to ask any questions you have regarding your treatment.
Q: What can I expect from my treatment?
A: Some patients experience an immediate total or partial relief of their pain or symptoms. This relief may last or some pain may return. In a few cases, there may be no immediate relief only to notice the pain diminish over the next couple of days. Generally, you should expect to feel better!