How long has acupuncture been around?
Acupuncture has been used for over 5000 years, and is the most widely used form of medicine in the world.
What kind of needles do you use?
Acupuncture is the gentle insertion of hair-fine needles into certain points of the body in order to rid the body of pain and other problems. You can fit 12 acupuncture needles inside one hypodermic needle.
The needles are stainless steel and disposable. Every needle you get in our clinic is brand new and sterile. Afterward, we dispose of each needle in a bio-hazard waste container and it’s never seen again.
If my back hurts, do the needles go in my back?
The style of acupuncture that we do is called “Balance Method” or Master Tung’s Points. This style of acupuncture is one of the best methods for treating different types of pain. The needles go primarily into the forearms, hands, calves, and feet. Very few needles are used elsewhere but we can treat problems in any part of the body.
How Does It Work?
In short, the needles stimulate your nervous system. They temporarily shut down your sympathetic nervous system – your “fight or flight” system – so your body goes in to a state of deep relaxation. This is when you start to heal.
It’s like re-booting your computer!
This stimulation may feel like tingling or pressure or you may feel nothing at all. It shouldn’t hurt; in fact, most people fall asleep during the treatment. The stimulation of certain points tells your brain to improve the circulation to your problem area. The improved blood flow allows nutrition and oxygen to flood the area we’re focusing on. This allows for healing to happen.
How long does it take to work?
The effect of acupuncture should be immediate.
Within 5 minutes of the needle insertion, the pain is typically reduced by at least 50%. After the needles are in, most people feel very relaxed and may even fall asleep.
For most conditions, a series of treatments are recommended. Traditionally, acupuncture treatments should be daily, or at least every other day to start. As your body starts to heal, the treatments become less frequent. How long this takes depends on the individual (age, general health condition) and the severity of the condition itself.
How long is each session?
Typically, the needles stay in for 30-60 minutes.
What possible side-effects are there from acupuncture?
There are rarely side-effects from acupuncture when it’s performed by a licensed Chinese medicine provider (as opposed to someone like a Physical Therapist, Chiropractor, or Physician who have taken a weekend course on dry-needling).
The most common one may be that you feel sleepy after the treatment. This is because acupuncture is very relaxing and most of us need to relax more! If you’re concerned that you’ll not be able to drive safely after the appointment (most people feel fine to drive afterward), make arrangements for someone to help you out.
Another common side-effect could be a small bruise from the needle. If you are on blood-thinning medication, have a blood-clotting disorder, or are deficient in vitamin C or iron, you may have more chances of bruising from the needles, but it’s something we’ll talk about during your initial consultation with us before we start your treatment.
If an acu-point feels tender after the treatment, this usually resolves itself in a few hours. An uncommon symptom after acupuncture is nerve tingling. This happens less than 1% of the time and is typically resolved in 1-2 weeks.
Pregnant women CAN get acupuncture safely, but we’ll need to know about your condition before the treatment so we know which points to avoid in your session.
Some people experience painful acupuncture treatments. I’ve talked to some of these people and have found that this happens when acupuncturists put the needles directly in to the pain area (which is already inflamed) or have over-stimulated the needles. This is something that we actively avoid doing in our treatments.
Most of our patients commend us on our gentle yet effective needling style.