- What is acupuncture? top
- Acupuncture is a healing art that was originally founded in China and is one of the oldest healing disciplines in the world - dating back at least 3,000 years. In short, acupuncture is a multifaceted discipline that primarily uses the insertion of tiny needles (about the width of a hair) into specific parts of the skin in order to stimulate the various systems of the body to work more efficiently. There is no discipline quite like it! Note: for those squeamish about needles, the needles can also be placed on top of the skin with similar effects.
- How does it work? top
- By stimulating points on the skin, the brain is made aware of very specific portions of the body in need of more attention and thus is able to direct what we in the west would call "nerve energy" (what the Chinese call "chi") to related sections of the body, and all portions of the body that run along that line of nerves (known in Traditional Chinese Medicine as "meridians" or "channels"). Oftentimes, and for different reasons such as trauma, chemical, mental, or emotional stress, lack of sleep, poor eating habits, etc. there is a lessening of electrical energy, a sort of blockage running through various channels of our bodies. By calling the attention of the nervous system to these blockages, blood flow and healing can naturally follow.
- How does the practitioner know where to insert the needles? top
- Part of what makes acupuncture so powerful is that it is very holistic in its focus. In other words, Acupuncturists understand that symptoms are indicators of underlying causes. A skilled practitioner spends a great deal of time gathering as much information about you as possible in order to form a true picture of what systems of the body need to be supported in order to facilitate healing. Sometimes symptoms can help the acupuncturist discover and treat an underlying problem you were not even aware of.
Another way acupuncturists know where to put the needles is because part of their training is to develop a highly skilled sense of touch similar to that of a blind person - think of placing a hair between two pieces of paper and trying to locate it simply by touch. By using touch acupuncturists can pick up clues on the skin, and in your pulse, that most people would completely miss. These clues help them locate blockages and begin the healing process.
- Is it painful? top
- Rarely! Because the needles are so small, the vast majority of the time you don't even know they are there. It is not uncommon to feel a slight prick upon insertion or removal of a given needle but the sensation is generally not very intense and usually doesn't last more than a few seconds. You may be surprised to learn that an acupuncture treatment is actually quite relaxing and many people find it easy to take a nap during their treatments.
- Who can benefit from acupuncture? top
- Anyone! Whether for stress management, dealing with pain, aching joints, allergies, digestive or skin disorders, infertility or a host of other ailments, acupuncture can be a great benefit to anyone.
- What can I expect at my first visit? top
- The first visit is usually a lengthy one. Because our acupuncturist is so thorough, the initial visit can take up to two hours for her to get to know you. (When was the last time a doctor spent that much time seeking to understand you?) Part of the initial visit will also include an acupuncture treatment. To help save time we suggest filling out your consultation paperwork before hand.
- How many treatments are necessary? top
- That depends greatly on what you have come in for, how long it has been a problem, and how diligent you are with reducing the source of the stress and practicing other health measures on your own. Typically you will begin to feel a difference after your first 2-3 treatments. Six treatments is a common minimum for most people, but many people require more than six visits. After you have made some progress, and if it is within your means, a once or twice a month (or more) maintenance approach to treatment is a wonderful investment in your health to help keep problems from resurfacing. Usually your body will tell you when you are due for another treatment and we are all about teaching you how to listen to your body.
- I've heard about moxa. Do you use it in your treatments? top
- Yes, our practitioner does use moxibustion in treatments. Read more about it on our Moxa page. It should be noted that Moxibustion treatment is not something you will find just anywhere. It must only be applied by a licensed acupuncturist trained in its application.
Theresa L. Spradlin, M.Ac., L.Ac., Dipl. Ac. (NCCAOM) Board Certified Licensed Acupuncturist