How does acupuncture work?
From a Chinese medical perspective, acupuncture works by stimulating specific points on the body to re-create balance and healing from within. From a Western biomedical perspective, many theories exist to explain the effectiveness of acupuncture. Research has shown that acupuncture can affect a number of body systems including: brain chemistry, hormone levels, endorphins, and neurotransmitters. However, an all-encompassing explanation for how acupuncture works based on biomedical principals has yet to be developed.
The Chinese hold that balance is fundamental to a person’s health. This includes balance within the body and between the body and the external environment. When a person has total balance within their body and with the external environment, Qi and blood will flow smoothly throughout the body, insuring that all the organs, muscles, tendons and tissues are nourished. However, if the person is not in complete balance internally or externally, a blockage may occur. This could manifest as pain, sickness or disease. TCM was developed with the focus of helping the body once again be in balance. It does this through any combination of TCM modalities. For acupuncture specifically, the practitioner uses particular points on the meridians where the Qi is both concentrated and accessible. By inserting the needle, the practitioner is able to rebalance the Qi and blood within the body and the patient will feel improvement.
Does acupuncture hurt?
Different patients experience acupuncture differently. However, most patients feel little to no pain. Acupuncture needles are very fine, about the circumference of a few hairs. Most patients feel very relaxed during their treatments and some even fall asleep. Even people who are afraid of needles have little anxiety during acupuncture due to the small size of the needles and almost non-existent pain.
What should I expect from my first treatment?
Your first treatment will take about an hour to an hour and a half. We will do a thorough intake and then an acupuncture treatment. Questions will be asked about your main complaint (the issue that brings you in for treatment), as well as your general health insuring that the practitioner clearly understands all of the balances or imbalances within the patient’s body. The findings from this intake will be presented to you in a “Report of Findings” document at your second visit. Your acupuncturist will then insert needles into the points best suited for the individual case. You will then relax on a comfortable massage table for about 20 minutes. To insure that you are at ease during the treatment, it is best to wear loose and comfortable clothing.
Does acupuncture only work if you believe in it?
You do not need to believe in acupuncture for it to work. Acupuncture has been proven effective in controlled clinical trials, which means it is effective for treating many different aliments and it is not simply based on “placebo effect.” Furthermore, acupuncture is effective in animals and babies: two groups not believed to be susceptible to the so-called “placebo effect.” Even so at Valley Holistic Healing we know that patients with a positive attitude and an open mind only increase their body’s healing potential. This is why we take the time to educate our patients on the process of their treatments and give as much lifestyle advice and support as needed.
Is it safe?
Acupuncture needles are sterile, single use and disposed immediately after use. Side effects from acupuncture are rare and considerably less severe when compared to some Western medical treatments. Some side effects include small bruises, light-headedness, a slight itchy or burning feeling.
All herbs used at Valley Holistic Healing come from reputable companies who are Good Manufacturing Procedures certified by the FDA. The herbs we use are routinely tested for purity and contamination from harmful components such as heavy metals and pesticides.
How many treatments will I need?
The number of treatments needed will depend on the severity of your condition and whether it is an acute or chronic issue. Acute conditions tend to resolve faster than more chronic ones. Typically you can think of your healing process in 3 segments. The first being relief care during which treatments are more frequent, maybe twice or more a week. Second, corrective care treatments occurring maybe once per week. Third, wellness care treatments maybe once to twice a month. It will also depend on whether or not you take herbal medicine and what type of lifestyle changes you are willing to make. The frequency of your treatments will always be a decision we can make together.