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What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is one of the oldest and most popular health care systems recognized in the world with origins dating as far back as 2,000 years ago. As part of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), acupuncture aims to restore and maintain health through the stimulation of specific points on the body.

How does acupuncture work?

Traditional Chinese Medicine’s philosophy is based on the belief that the body, mind, and spirit are inseparable and that if the two opposing forces, yin and yang, are balanced, the body is healthy. The classical Chinese explanation is that energy or Qi, (pronounced as chee) flows along specific pathways or channels, called meridians, throughout the body in a regular pattern. The constant and regular flow of energy or Qi keeps the yin ang yang balanced allowing the body to function properly. An obstruction in the flow of this energy greatly affects the overall condition of the body. If the body's energy flow is disrupted, different kinds of pain and illnesses can occur. By inserting needles into the meridians, it stimulates the body's own healing response and helps restore its natural balance.

Fact check: the needles don't heal the body. They just remind the body what the body needs to do in order to heal itself.

Can Acupuncture really treat my condition?

Acupuncture is a medical system that can influence three areas of one’s health: promotion of well-being, prevention of illness, and treatment of various illnesses. Although often associated with pain control, in the hands of a well-trained practitioner, it can treat a wide range of conditions including, but not limited to: neurological, respiratory, digestive, urogenital, gynaecological, dermatological, musculoskeletal, dermatological, and psychological diseases. However, the best answer will come from your visit with the acupuncturist. During your initial visit, the acupuncturist will examine you and review your medical history, condition, and the treatments you have received or are receiving. Afterwards, the acupuncturist will evaluate your condition and advise you whether acupuncture is suitable for you and if you need other medical advice or treatments.

How many treatments will I need?

The frequency of treatments differ from one person to another depending on the complexity of the ailment or condition. Each individual case is unique. Although some people respond well after the first treatment, follow-up sessions are often recommended. For chronic conditions, one or two treatments a week for several months may be necessary. For acute conditions, fewer treatments are often enough. Also, the longer the patient had the condition, the longer the course of treatment before showing substantial results. As symptoms improve, fewer visits are required. A personalized treatment program will be discussed after your acupuncturist assesses your condition during your initial visit.

Are there side effects?

Usually, there are no significant side effects to the treatment. As energy is regularized and redirected in the body, healing takes place. Occasionally the original symptoms may worsen for a few days, or other general changes like appetite, sleep, bowel or urinary patterns, even your emotional state. These are often indications that the treatment is starting to work. Any discomfort after the treatment will pass shortly and usually will never require anything but rest.


Do the needles hurt?

Many people have a fear of needles, so if it's the needle that's keeping you from trying acupuncture, worry not. The sensation generated is very minimal.

Some aren't even aware that a needle has been inserted. Often, the acupuncturist will try to elicit what we term as da qi, or “the arrival of Qi” with sensations ranging from heavy and dull, to a slight jolt or a tingling sensation. It doesn't feel as painful as the needles they use for injection or blood extraction. So, if your agony is your major concern, rest assured, it shouldn't hurt.

What is the treatment like?

Your first visit usually begins with an extensive interview. You might be surprised at the range of questions you are asked which may seem irrelevant to your complaint. However, this line of questioning, including diagnostic tools such as tongue and pulse diagnosis, will help your practitioner in determining the correct pattern of disease and its appropriate treatment. Then, in preparation for the actual treatment, you may be asked to change into an examination gown. (It is advisable to come in loose clothing or bring a change of attire.) Most treatments will require you to lie down or sit comfortably. After the needles are inserted, you are usually left to rest for 15-30 minutes, some times longer if needed. . Frequently, our clients feel very relaxed that it allows them to meditate. Some even fall into a light sleep during the session.

In addition to acupuncture, several modalities may also be applied like:

1) Electro-acupuncture – This is the stimulation of needles using very low voltage electricity from a machine

2) Moxibubstion – This involves burning of an herb either attached to the needle, or indirectly over the skin.

3) Cupping/Ventosa – This is the practice of using a plastic or glass cup which is placed on the body thru suction.

How should I prepare? Are there Do's and Dont's?

Bring a list of all the medications and supplements you are currently taking.

Plan your activities so that you can rest and relax after the treatment. Your body needs some time to process and integrate the shifts that happened in the treatment.

Get regular treatments. Be punctual and disciplined in going to your treatment schedule. In acupuncture, regularity, aside from frequency, is important in achieving optimal health and lasting effects.

Ask for lifestyle tips and follow them. There are many ways you can help yourself to enhance the healing effects after your treatment. Don't be shy and ask your acupuncturist about it. They will be more than happy to share.

Keep track of your progress. Take note of how your body responds after the treatment so your doctor can best posiibly help you in designing follow up treatments.

Do not eat unusually large meal imediately before or after your treatment. Though, it is not adviseable to go in on an empty stomach.

Do not over-exercise or consume alcoholic beverages within 6 hours before or after the treatment.

Avoid caffeine and sugar before and after treatment.

Do not wear uncomfortable clothing, wear loose clothes.

Avoid cold water intake immediately after the treatment.

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