Acupuncture is an effective form of medical treatment that has evolved into a complete holistic health care system. Practitioners of acupuncture and Chinese medicine have used this noninvasive treatment method to help millions of people become well and stay well.
Acupuncture promotes natural healing. It can enhance recuperative power and immunity, support physical and emotional health, and improve overall function and well-being. It is a safe, painless and effective way to treat a wide variety of medical problems.
Frequently Asked Questions About Acupuncture
Some common questions about acupuncture are answered below. Call us if you have other questions or if you are interested in improving your life through acupuncture treatment.
What Is Acpuncture?
Acupuncture is one of the oldest forms of healing in the world. The fact that acupuncture continues to be practiced today is a testament to how effective it is.
Acupuncture is the use of painless, ultra-fine disposable needles, which are inserted at specific points of the body to unblock or redirect the flow of qi. There are over three hundred sixty acupuncture points on the body. Each has its own specific function. Ultimately, acupuncture decreases the body’s stress and inflammatory response, not only allowing the body to operate in a more healthy state, but also activating the body’s innate ability to heal itself.
A typical session can last from fifteen to forty minutes, sometimes more, sometimes less depending on the desired outcome. After a treatment, most patients feel relaxed and rejuvenated with partial or total relief of symptoms treated.
It is a safe, effective, and painless way of treating a wide variety of issues.
How does acupuncture work?
Western View: Acupuncture increases circulation, decreases inflammation, and releases endorphins and opioids which are natural pain-relievers. It supports the immune system cells as well as neurotransmitters and neurohormones in the brain. Research has shown that blood-stream chemicals become elevated after acupuncture, that acupuncture points correspond with junctions of inter muscular fascia and have a lower electrical resistance than the surrounding areas. There is evidence that stimulating acupuncture points enables electromagnetic signals to be relayed at a greater rate than under normal conditions. This may increase the flow of healing or pain-killing natural chemicals to injured areas.
People who have never experienced acupuncture before are often a little unsure about trying it and the after effects. Sticking needles into people to promote health might seem a little counter productive. But acupuncture is a safe and effective way of dealing with numerous health issues and has proven itself effective by withstanding the test of time.
Current theories on How Acupuncture works:
- Neurotransmitter Theory: Acupuncture affects higher brain areas, stimulating the secretion of beta-endorphins and enkephalins in the brain and spinal cord. The release of neurotransmitters influences the immune system and the antinociceptive system
- Autonomic Nervous System Theory: Acupuncture stimulates the release of norepinephrine, acetylcholine and several types of opioids, affecting changes in their turnover rate, normalizing the autonomic nervous system, and reducing pai
- Vascular-interstitial Theory: Acupuncture effects the electrical system of the body by creating or enhancing closed-circuit transport in tissues. This facilitates healing by allowing the transfer of material and electrical energy between normal and injured tissues
- Blood Chemistry Theory: Acupuncture affects the blood concentrations of triglycerides, cholesterol, and phospholipids, suggesting that acupuncture can both raise and diminish peripheral blood components, thereby regulating the body toward homeostasis.
- Gate Control Theory: Acupuncture activates non-nociceptive receptors that inhibit the transmission of nociceptive signals in the dorsal horn, “gating out” painful stimuli.
Eastern View: There are more than 2,000 acupuncture points on the human body that connect with 12 main “meridians”. Pain and disease result when these pathways become blocked. By placing needles at strategic points on the body, the healthy flow of energy can be restored and the body can revert back to a state of balance.
Acupuncture is based on the idea of Qi (pronounced “chee”), or energy. This energy is what animates us and performs all the different activities that the body is capable of. When we are in optimal health, the body’s energy works together as a cohesive team, each part contributing what is needed when it is needed, in order to run smoothly and efficiently.
Unfortunately, stress is apart of daily life and we are often subject to less than ideal conditions including poor lifestyle choices, genetic deficiencies, poor nutrition choices, emotional upsets, etc. All of these factors tax us mentally and physically, overwhelming the body and causing our resources to become limited. This is turn weakens some systems and causes other systems to overwork. The system then becomes sluggish, energy becomes blocked and stagnant, and imbalances occur which lead to dis-ease in the body.
Fortunately, acupuncture can provide quick and thorough solutions to numerous health problems. In the United States, acupuncture is mostly associated with treating pain, However, acupuncture is not limited to or meant to just alleviate symptoms. Acupuncture can assist a wide variety of health issues, including all types of digestive disorders, female reproductive issues (including infertility), insomnia, asthma, allergies, immune enhancement, athletic performance, musculo-skeletal issues, hypertension, fibromyalgia, anxiety, depression and many, many other conditions.
Unlike many prescriptions medications, acupuncture is a relatively non-invasive, with virtually no side effects. it is extremely effective and offer people a way to take control of their health in a natural and holistic way. And it has lasting results. Many people come to acupuncture as a last resort after limited or no results from more typical western medicine forms of treatment and find significant improvement in their quality of life with acupuncture. Whether you’re looking to just improve your overall general health, are a chronic pain patient, or you’re managing a terminal illness, acupuncture has something to offer everyone. it allows the body to make the best use of the resources at hand so that you can make the most out of whatever life has to offer. Acupuncture at its core is a preventative medicine. So instead of waiting until you’re sick or experiencing symptoms, take action now to keep your body working optimally.
How should I prepare for treatment?
Please arrive 10-15 minutes early to check in, take a potty break, and get settled. If you have any specific questions, please write them down and bring them with you so that we may address them during your visit. We suggest wearing comfortable clothing. Depending upon the treatment, you will either remain fully clothed or be properly draped with a gown and/or linens. Optimally, you do not want to be hungry or extremely full during your treatment so we suggest eating sensibly a few hours before your appointment with a light snack immediately prior to coming into the office. Please refrain from wearing heavy cologne, perfume, and/or makeup. Please make sure your cell phone is turned off before entering the treatment room.
Please refrain from eating a large meal immediately after your visit as well. We also recommend avoiding overexerting yourself, working out, drugs, or alcohol for up to six hours after your visit as the treatment is still working and we do not want to interfere with the process. If possible, we suggest relaxing after treatment and nourishing yourself with plenty of rest, plenty of water, and clean eating.
Between visits, pay attention to how you feel and be aware of any changes that you may feel, i.e. decreased pain/symptoms, increased energy, change in symptoms, new symptoms, elevated mood, etc.Again, if any questions arise, write them down and bring them with you to your next appointment.
What are the needles like?
Acupuncture needles are fine like a strand of hair. They are stainless steel, solid, and sterile. The needles are disposable and insertion is almost painless. When most people think of needles, they think of getting a shot at the doctor’s office. Hypodermic needles are thick and hollow with an angled point and tear the skin upon insertion. Acupuncture needles are nothing like this. Acupuncture needles are solid and so fine that they pass through the skin quite easily. The point is fine, even, and solid, and nothing is injected into the body.
Acupuncture needles are also quite flexible. Although we recommend keeping movement to a minimum, it is not necessary to remain uncomfortable still during treatment so minor body adjustments can be made to insure your comfort while receiving treatment. Needles are inserted into the body’s soft tissue, never into veins or nerves. Points do not usually bleed during treatment. However, if a person has a lot of excessive heat in their system, a very small drop of blood may sometimes be seen after removal of a needle.
Acupuncture treatment can be so effective that most patients agree the benefits far outweigh any initial concerns they had over the use of needles. Even my needle phobic patients soon lose their fear after reaping the benefits of treatment.
Does it hurt?
Although treatment does involve needles, acupuncture does not hurt. Most patients do not even feel the needles being inserted and report feeling a sense of relaxation. Some even fall asleep. Most patients feel the practitioner palpating the acupuncture point more than they feel the actual insertion. The most common feeling during the actual needling is light pressure and perhaps a feeling of distention around the point. Needles may be inserted and immediately removed or they may remain in place for twenty to forty minutes depending on the treatment style used.
Patients may report a feeling of relaxation. Or they may feel energized. Both sensations are normal and quite common. Most people have a very positive experience and look forward to their next treatment.
Is acupuncture safe?
Acupuncture is very safe with little to no side effects when performed by a competently trained, licensed acupuncturist. If any discomfort is reported, the practitioner can modify the treatment or position of the patient so that they can receive the maximum amount of benefits from treatment.
The safety and well-being of our patients is our primary concern. As such, we use the highest quality, disposable equipment available. All needles are individually packaged, sterile, and disposable. They are used once and then properly discarded. Because of this, there is no chance of infection or contagion from the acupuncture needles.
We advise our patients to continue all current treatments, therapies and medications as safely advised by their physicians. Before discontinuing any medication, we advise discussing possible side effects with the prescribing physician. As with any type of treatment, you should always inform us of all medications you are taking, any underlying health conditions you currently have or have previously experienced, any changes in your health while undergoing treatment, and if you are pregnant or trying to become pregnant.
Is acupuncture safe during pregnancy?
Not only is acupuncture safe during pregnancy, it alleviates many typical pregnancy related complaints such as nausea, low back pain, sciatica, and mood swings. There are certain points that should be used and others that should be avoided during each stage of pregnancy. Following these guidelines ensures the safety of both the mother and child. Acupuncture can play an important role in nurturing the mother and child throughout the pregnancy and after birth recovery.
Can I exercise or go back to work after my treatment?
The short answer is yes, you may return to your normal activities shortly after your treatment. However, for optimal treatment benefits we suggest refraining from overexerting yourself and heavy workouts up to 6 hours after treatment.
What should I expect from my first acupuncture treatment?
Your first session will last approximately 90 minutes and consists of a full intake, exam, and treatment. A comprehensive written and verbal intake will be conducted in order to learn how your symptoms interrelate with each other. Other diagnostic tools may include looking at the tongue, taking the pulses, and palpating the abdomen. After the needles are inserted, they will be retained anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes while you relax.
What results can I expect from my treatment?
Everybody experiences the effects of acupuncture differently as no two people are the same. Many people may notice the benefits almost immediately, while others may require several treatments before feeling a shift in their symptoms.A chronic issue that has been going on for several years may take more treatments to experience a significant difference than an acute issue like a sprained ankle. Some people become very relaxed while others become very energized. Those who don’t feel any difference when they leave the clinic may notice changes later in the day, the next morning when they wake up, or even several days after treatment.
How many treatments will I need?
As no two people or conditions are alike, the number of treatments required to resolve a condition can depend on a number of things, including but not limited to, the severity and duration of the condition, a person’s lifestyle and constitution, as well as the quality of their qi or energy. Most patients usually notice some type of shift with their condition within or shortly after their first treatment. However, others may take months or years to achieve results and return to a state of optimal health. However, since acupuncture treatments have a cumulative effect, each treatment builds upon the last and people notice greater changes as the treatments progress
Although it does vary, I usually suggest a round of 12 treatments. After this first round, we re-evaluate to see if the condition has been resolved or if another round is needed. Long standing (chronic) issues usually take longer to resolve than recently occurring (acute) issues.Depending on the condition, I may suggest we begin with 1 to 2 sessions per week. As symptoms diminish and we retrain the body to function properly, treatments are spaced further apart until we reach the maintenance stage. Maintenance can be once a month or quarterly with the change of season.
How long will results last?
How long the results last varies by individual. The results of the first treatment are usually short lived. As the treatment effects are cumulative, each treatment provides longer lasting results. If treatment is consistent, the patient will steadily improve with the results lasting indefinitely as long as lifestyle changes and maintenance are maintained.
Why do they take my pulse?
As a Five Element practitioner, there are 6 pulse positions on each wrist that I will palpate. Each position corresponds to a specific meridian and organ. I will be listening to 12 pulses in all, looking for energy blockages, as well as the strength and quality of each pulse. The state of a person’s pulses reflect the quality of their overall health. By removing blockages and correcting any energy imbalances, the body can begin to return to a state of homeostasis, or balance.
Why Do They Want To Look At My Tongue?
Although Five Element acupuncturists refer to the pulses more than the tongue for diagnosis purposes, we will occasionally check in with the tongue as a secondary diagnosis tool. Looking at the tongue can give us a overview of the body’s health. And just like the pulses, it reflects the general health of the organs and meridians. The color, shape, cracks, and coating on your tongue each tells its own story and can be used to diagnosis specific underlying issues.
What about herbs and supplements?
Herbs, supplements, and nutrition therapy can play an essential part in good health by treating underlying conditions without causing unwanted side effects. Many pharmaceutical drugs are derived from herbs and supplements. They do this by isolating and concentrating a specific chemical component of the plant. However, stripping away important components of the plant tend to cause unwanted side effects. Unlike pharmaceutical drugs, herbal formulas and supplements not only help resolve the symptoms that a person is experiencing, but they also treat the underlying cause.Any herbs, supplements, or dietary recommended are tailored to your specific needs and condition.
How Much Does It Cost?
At Vibrant Living Wellness, we try to keep our rates affordable and believe that money should not be a barrier if treatment is needed. The first session is $100 and lasts 90 minutes. It includes your initial intake, exam, and treatment. Followup sessions are $70 and last 45 minutes to an hour. We do offer cash discounts for treatment plans as well as monthly specials. We also offer Community Acupuncture on a sliding scale at various times. If you would like to discuss whether acupuncture is appropriate for you and the cost involved, we offer free 15 minute consultations.
Will My Insurance Cover Acupunccture?
Vibrant Living Wellness Center does not currently file most insurance. We are a direct provider with the VA and can file a VA claim with a pre–approved referral. However, we can provide you with a super bill that you can submit to your insurance company for reimbursement if you have acupuncture or massage/manual therapy coverage. We also accept HSA payments. We are committed to offering quality, low cost treatments because we believe your health is the number one priority, so please do not let cost be a deterrent from getting the treatment you deserve. Free consultations are available to discuss your specific condition, how acupuncture can help, and cost of treatment.
How are acupuncturist educated?
Acupuncturists are required to complete a Masters Degree at nationally certified schools. Their training consists of thousands of hours of training with their last year consisting of working with patients in a clinical setting. After completing their graduate studies, they must pass a national exam. Once passing their national boards., each practitioner must apply to and meet their individual state requirements. To practice in Georgia, a practitioner must graduate from a master’s program, pass their national boards, apply for state licensure under the Georgia Medical Board, and complete an additional year of supervised clinical studies under a Georgia licensed acupuncturist before being granted full licensure.
What Can Acupuncturists Treat?
Acupuncture is recognized by the National Institute of Health (NIH) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to be effective in the treatment of a wide variety of medical problems. In fact, The World Health Organization lists a wide variety of diseases or disorders for which acupuncture therapy has been tested in controlled clinical trials.