All About Acupuncture: FAQ
What Does Acupuncture Treat?
Acupuncture has been practiced in China for over 3,000 years. Acupuncture is actually one branch of a system of medicine known as Chinese Medicine. Treatment methods include acupuncture, Chinese herbs, nutrition and tui-na massage.
Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine works for everything (to varying degrees). It recognized, 2,500 years before the West did, that our emotions and lifestyle can profoundly influence our health and well-being. Chinese medicine is a complete system, based on an understanding of how the body, mind and spirit work. It had an integrated theory of disease that included both external pathogens and internal imbalances 2,500 years before the West did. Physical symptoms are often intimately related to how you are dealing with life emotionally. For more detailed information, see "How is 5 Element acupuncture different?" below.
How does it work?
Acupuncture treats your body, mind and spirit as a whole. In Chinese medicine, wherever pain or illness shows up, it is about unbalance. Acupuncture addresses the life energy that flows through the body, called ch’i (pronounced "chee"). Ch'i is carried throught the body in meridians, which act like roads. When this energy flows smoothly, you live in ease. When it is blocked, the result is pain or illness on a physical, emotional or spiritual level. I help you repair yourself by unblocking and redirecting the energy flow to achieve maximum wellness.
From a Western biomedical standpoint, there are various theories for why it works. One thought is that acupuncture releases endorphins, which it does, but that isn't the whole explanation. A recent fMRI study found electrical microchannels that criss-cross and connect the whole body; the researcher suggested that by changing the flow of electrical energy, acupuncture affects the electro-chemical responses of the body.
Whichever explanation appeals to you, the undisputed fact is that acupuncture works!
Will acupuncture "fix" me?
Yes. And no. Ultimately, you fix yourself: acupuncture just opens the door. For issues of physical trauma (for example, speeding up the healing of a broken bone, tendonitis, sprains, carpal tunnel, side-effects of chemo, etc), the treatments are fairly simple and "fix" you.
Addressing non-trauma problems will require your active participation. The fundamental truth is that your body is wise: you do not have symptoms for no reason. This means that your symptoms are not independent of you, your lifestyle, or the choices you make in life. Therefore, to really heal, you have to listen and act on what your body is telling you about yourself and the way you deal with life issues. So yes, acupuncture can fix you, if you are willing to take responsibility and fix yourself.
How is 5 Element acupuncture different from other kinds?
I am a 5 Element acupuncturist, which is very different from other acupuncture styles you may have heard of or experienced. All acupuncture, including 5 Element, can treat injuries or physical issues. What makes 5 Element acupuncture different is that it addresses the “inner tradition” of Chinese medicine. I emphasize the connection between your physical health, emotions and life choices. By recognizing that emotions and thought patterns can profoundly influence health and well-being, 5 Element acupuncture gives you a way to live life with integrity and make choices that enhance who you are. "Each moment of life, we are faced with a choice between renewing our vitality through authentic action or avoiding reality and increasing our burden of mundanity that eventually kills"** our true selves. 5 Element acupuncture helps you cut through the stress, mundanity, pain, or whatever blocks are keeping you from feeling and acting like yourself, and restores you to well-being and your true self.
Are the needles safe? Do they hurt?
I only use single-use, disposable needles. There is no possibility of transmission of any disease. The needles are the width of two human hairs: they are very slender. They also don't go in very deep. And the needles are not hollow, like a hypodermic needle, so they hurt at lot less (if at all). You may feel a buzzy, tingly or heavy sensation after the needle is inserted: that's good! It means I've gotten the point exactly right.
Okay, but I REALLY don't like needles. Can you still treat me?
Yes! I have non-needling methods of treatment. I still stimulate acupucture points, but I use massage, tapping tools that don't break the skin and heat therapy on the points instead of needles. I can also prescribe herbs. It may take a little longer to get results, but it still works. And the part of the treatment where we use the wisdom of Chinese medicine to look at the inner link between your symptoms and your life is just as potent.
What can I expect at the first treatment?
The initial treatment is 2-2.5 hours. The first hour is a comprehensive conversation about your physical, emotional and spiritual health. The second hour is a needle treatment. Follow-up appointments are 1 hour each.
When will I start to see results?
You should start to see improvements in how you feel within 4-6 treatments, depending on the severity of your issues. Many patients notice an improvement after the first treatment.
What else do I need to know?
The decision to get acupuncture can change your life. It’s not just about addressing symptoms. It’s about making all of you feel better and giving you the tools to create your own wellness. It’s a radically different approach to wellness and health care, and it will leave you feeling vibrant and alive.
Acupuncture is a versatile treament mode. I've listed links to some articles that discuss the benefits of acupuncture for a variety of issues. Click on the colored words to link to the site. The NIH, WHO and other reputable agencies have all agreed that acupuncture is an effective, safe treatment for many issues.
Clinical studies have shown, through multiple controlled clinical trials, that acupuncture helps: adverse reactions to radiation/chemotherapy and leukopenia, allergic rhinitis, depression, painful and/or irregular periods, morning sickness, general nausea, facial pain, headache, high blood pressure, knee/neck/shoulder pain, rheumatoid athritis, sciatica, sprain and tendonitis. http://tcm.health-info.org/WHO-treatment-list.htm#_treat
There are single-study clinical trials that demonstrate that acupuncture is effective for the treatment of: acne, alcohol/drug/tobacco addictions, Bell's palsy (see my blog for a post on acupuncture and Bell's palsy), asthma, gallstones, Type II diabetes, earaches, nosebleeds, infertility (click to see my page on this), fibromyalgia, gastrointestinal issues, insomnia, insufficient lactation, ED, Meniere's, obesity, rheumatiod/osteo-arthritis, polycystic ovarian disease (click to see my website page on PCOS), PMS, Raynaud's, TMJ, colitis, IBS, heart disease. http://tcm.health-info.org/WHO-treatment-list.htm#_treat
1. The Triumph of New Age Medicine (The Atlantic Magazine)
2. Acupuncture and Back Pain
3. Acupuncuture and Knee Pain
An NIH sponsored study found that acupuncture helps osteoathritic knee pain better than just conventional treatment:
Are you committed to doing what you have to feel better? If yes, call for an appointment and give yourself the gift of feeling like yourself again!
** from The Clinical Practice of Chinese Medicine, by Lonny Jarrett
Dr Lisa Grant, OMD
Spring Mountains Acupuncture, Summerlin, Las Vegas
9414 W. Lake Mead Blvd. Las Vegas, NV 89134