What does it feel like to be “needled” or “does acupuncture hurt”?
Acupuncture needles differ greatly from what we commonly think of as needles, which are injection needles. A main difference is acupuncture needles are often described “as thin as a human hair” meaning they are so thin they almost don’t look like needles. Another difference is acupuncture needles are not injecting any fluids into the body, which is part of what makes injections uncomfortable. The sensation of an acupuncture needle is most often felt as a slight prick on the skin or a sensation of pressure on the skin. Other sensations can be a momentary sharp pain or even an itching feeling depending on the condition and the location of the point.
What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is the use of needles at points mapped out on the body to access Qi or bioelectric energy in the body. There are several pathways of Qi flow in the body and when the flow in these pathways is interrupted illness can enter the body. Acupuncture is one part of a regulating system for these pathways, eliminating blockages and strengthening the Qi that flows through these pathways. Chinese Medicine also uses exercises like Qigong and Tai Chi along with massage and herbs to work on eliminating the same blockages and strengthening the Qi in the body.
Rachel’s approach to needling acupuncture points is to use the needles to cause the muscles to “turn on” all the way, forcing them to contract around the needle. This full contraction results in the muscle becoming fatigued. Once the muscle is fatigued, it will turn all the way off, enabling the the muscle to completely relax. This complete relaxation of the muscle helps to get rid of pain and permits the muscle to reset to it’s normal functions.
What happens in a session?
Rachel will talk with you about your condition and evaluate the pattern needed to address the disharmonies unique to you. She will then place needles in the body at the appropriate points and leave the needles in for 15-30 minutes. While the needles are in the body, most patients become very relaxed, often falling asleep and napping while the needles work.
How many sessions will I need?
This is a hard one to answer as many factors contribute. If your condition has persisted for a long time it may take several (5-10) treatments to get rid of the condition. If the condition is recent, the number of treatments may be as a little as one. Rachel sees most patients no more often then 1 time per week. If the condition is acute, she might see a patient every week, but most commonly every two weeks. There should be demonstrable results after your first treatment so you know it is effective. If you do not see results after 1-2 treatments, Rachel will suggest other therapies that may be more effective for you.
Does insurance cover acupuncture?
What kind of care will I need after a treatment?
After a treatment it is recommended that you cease the activities which make the condition worse for at least 12 hours. We also suggest that you drink extra water and use the application of heat to alleviate any soreness felt. It is not uncommon to be sore, like you would after a strenuous workout for 12 hours or so after being needled.
How does Rachel know where to put the needles?
One of the theories of acupuncture is based on maps of meridians in the body. There are 12 meridians each one made up of specific points used to access the Qi flow. Each point in the body has specific effects on treating illness and disharmony in the body. Part of the study of acupuncture is to learn what each of those access points is good at helping re-balance and heal and how they work together in an overall pattern to bring about harmony in the body. Because of Rachel’s training in Chinese Medicine and how to locate “landmarks” on these maps as well as over 10 years of experience, Rachel has a highly developed sense of which points will be best able to assist her patient’s bodies in healing.
Can I exercise, do my physical therapy, massage, etc. afterwards?
No. It is best to wait at least 24 hours after treatment to allow the acupuncture to settle in. If you are seeking treatment due to an injury from an activity such as running or standing it is best to avoid or limit doing the activity that caused the injury until treatment is complete.
Will I notice a difference right after?
In most cases you will notice at least a 30% difference within a few hours of treatment. If you don’t, then possibly acupuncture is not the appropriate treatment for your illness/condition.
Can acupuncture treat my condition?
Rachel will assist patients with:
- Acute Bronchitis
- Acute Sinusitis
- Back Pain
- Cancer, in conjunction with other medical care providers
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Common Cold
- Facial Palsy
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Meniere’s Disease
- Menopausal Symptoms
- Migraine Headaches
- Peripheral Neuropathies
- Post-Polio Syndrome
- Sore Throat
- Sports Injuries
- Tennis Elbow
- Tension Headache
- TMJ (Temporal Mandibular Joint Dysfunction)
Conditions in which the symptoms can be treated, but the illness cannot be cured:
- Chronic Fatigue
- Chemotherapy & Radiation effects