Is Acupuncture safe?
When performed by a competently trained, licensed professional, acupuncture is extremely safe. All licensed acupuncturist’s today use individually packaged, sterile, disposable needles. So there is virtually no chance of infection or contamination.
Does it hurt?
Acupuncture needles are typically not much thicker than a hair, and their insertion is practically painless. It is nothing like receiving an ordinary injection. In some cases, you will not even know the needles are in place. In others, there may be some tingling, warmth, heaviness, or a feeling of the qi moving up and down the channels. Most people find acupuncture extremely relaxing, and many fall asleep during treatment.
How many treatments will I need?
That depends on the duration, severity, and nature of your complaint. You may need only a single treatment for an acute condition. A series of 5-10 treatment may resolve many chronic problems. Some degenerative conditions may require many treatments over time. To help reduce the number of treatments, your practitioner may suggest dietary modifications, specific exercise regimes, relaxation techniques, self-massage, and/or Chinese herbal medicines, all of which may help to increase the efficacy of acupuncture.
Are there different styles of acupuncture?
Acupuncture originated in China but has spread to Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Europe, and America. In different countries, different styles have developed based on differing opinions as to theory and technique. Patients should talk to their practitioner about his or her particular style and learn as much as possible about the treatment being proposed.
What criteria should I use in choosing an acupuncturist?
Prospective patients should ask about where the practitioner trained and for how long he or she has been in practice, and, mostly importantly, what experience the practitioner has had in treating your specific ailment.
Acupuncture is a licensed and regulated health care profession in over 40 states in the U.S. In addition, the National Commission for the Certification of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) certifies both acupuncturists and Chinese herbal practitioners.
Acupuncturists who have passed the NCCAOM exam arc entitled to add Dipl. Ac. (Diplomate of Acupuncture) after their name.
What should I know about the proposed treatments?
Your practitioner will explain the nature of your problem in Oriental medical terms and what treatment he or she is recommending.
Your practitioner will tell you what benefits and risks there are to the proposed treatment and what other treatment options are available to you through this practitioner or by referral to another practitioner or physician.
Is there anything I need to do while receiving acupuncture?
The following suggestions will help you get the maximum benefits from your treatment:
Wear loose clothing. Women should not wear one piece dresses. Avoid wearing tight stockings.
Avoid treatment when excessively fatigued, hungry, full, emotionally upset, or shortly after sex.
Relax. There is no need to be frightened. Ask your practitioner any questions you have along the way so that you can get the most benefit possible from the treatment.
Do not change your position or move suddenly. If you are uncomfortable tell your practitioner.
How deep do they go?
The depth of the insertion varies. For example, your acupuncturist will use a needling technique that is different in fleshier areas, such as your buttocks. Typically, needles are inserted at depths ranging from 1/8” to 1 1/2”.
What can I expect?
Acupuncture treatments involve placing hair-thin needles of varying lengths into certain areas of the skin. The number of slender needles – as few as three, as many as 20 – and the length of time they are kept in place depends on the ailment being treated. During the treatment, the needles may be twirled, warmed or electrically energized to intensify healing effects. Some patients may feel a tiny prick when the needle is inserted. Others feel a tickle. But many patients don’t feel a thing.
Acupuncture sessions generally run for 45 to 60 minutes. Patients lie on a padded table, and soothing music plays in the background. Some patients say they feel an electrical sensation during a treatment, which is good – because that means healing energy is moving through the body. Most people end up falling asleep on the table, feeling peaceful, yet energized after the treatment.
Does acupuncture work with conventional medicine?
Acupuncture works nicely as an adjunct to your conventional treatment plan. For example, many patients undergoing chemotherapy also use acupuncture as a way to lessen the side effects associated with chemotherapy. Acupuncture has also been used as a complementary therapy in the treatment of allergies, asthma, sinusitis, pain, hot flashes, insomnia, IBS, and infertility, and is used in conjunction with physical therapy and chiropractic’s for rehabilitation from serious injury.