What To Expect At Your First Acupuncture Appointment

So…you’ve been dealing with discomfort and pain for too long now, tried every medication and over-the-counter pill and did all the research and reading you possibly could…but still no results. Your friends and family have been urging you to try acupuncture, and you’re finally ready to give it a shot. As human beings we understandably fear the unknown, and one of the main reasons acupuncture is still growing in the United States.

But have no fear. When you’re ready to really solve the root cause of your pain and discomfort with an acupuncture treatment, you’ll have us to thank for getting you prepared. Here’s what you can expect at your first acupuncture appointment.

After you’ve checked in and been brought to your room, your acupuncturist will ask you what brought you in the door. This is the most important step, because an acupuncturist can only reliably and effectively treat a patient if they know what’s ailing them. Be as specific as you can in terms of what type of pain and discomfort you’re experiencing, how long you’ve been experiencing it, and what illnesses and/or conditions you’re battling.

Next, your acupuncturist will determine your treatment, how many needles and where to place them. And here’s one of the most important things to remember: acupuncture needles do not hurt! A fear of needles keeps many folks away from acupuncture, but those who experience the treatment are amazed at how they can barely feel the tiny needles. Once your acupuncturist has finished placing the needles in, it’s time for you to relax!

Your acupuncturist will likely leave you alone in the room for a bit while the needles do their job, opening up your pathways and balancing the energy in the body. Most acupuncturists will put on calming music or ambient noise, and/or calming scents and lights to help you center yourself during your treatment. It’s your chance to lie down and gather your thoughts, meditate, or do whatever makes you feel calm. Put that phone away!

Most times your acupuncturist will come back to check on you and make sure everything is feeling right. Depending on your specific treatment, your acupuncturist may at this time add a warm heat lamp to a certain area of your body. They’ll then leave the room again for the remainder of the treatment.

After a period of time determined by your acupuncturist, depending on your condition, your acupuncturist will return and remove the needles. This final step is a follow up, where your acupuncturist will ask you how you’re feeling and let you know the preferred treatment regimen moving forward. It’s likely that return visits will be necessary in order for acupuncture to have a lasting effect.

But now that you know what to expect, those future sessions will be a breeze.

One Woman Shares What Happened When She Tried Acupuncture for PMS

When you’re suffering from a bad bout of PMS, you’re bound to try just about anything to find relief.

 

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But instead of turning towards anti-inflammatories and painkillers, and curling up on the couch with a heating pad, why not try acupuncture? The noninvasive therapy can help to combat the unpleasant exhaustion, headaches, mood swings, cramps and just about every other side effect of your monthly “gift.”

 

In a recent Bustle Article, writer Emma McGowan shared her experience when she turned to acupuncture for some holistic relief.

 

Struggling with suffering from nearly two weeks of both the physical and emotional ramifications of PMS (due to irregular periods) she opted not to go on hormonal birth control, and instead followed her aunts suggestion that she try acupuncture. (Her aunt is an acupuncturist, after all.)

 

With confliction options around the efficacy of acupuncture for PMS (though we’re firm believers in it’s power!) she decided to go for it, and her experience was met with big results.

 

After six months of treatments she shared, “First of all, I can tell you that my physical symptoms pretty much disappeared within the first couple months of doing weekly treatments. No or minimal boob swelling and nipple soreness and I only feel like I want to crawl out of my skin for a day or two, as opposed to two solid weeks.”

 

As far as her emotional issues, she said they did seem to amplify as her physical ones passed, though she acknowledges, “But there was also a lot going on in my life during that time, so it can be a little hard to gauge.”

 

Overall, would she recommend acupuncture to anyone considering it? She says, “Sure! If it’s affordable for you, give it a shot. The risks are low. And it might just make you feel 10 times better.”

 

 

Acupuncture for Fibromyalgia Pain

Pain, fatigue, feeling like you’re just in a fog. For some of us, these symptoms come and go and are easily manageable. But for those who suffer from fibromyalgia, these symptoms persist and greatly affect quality of life. For many sufferers, symptoms can begin after a physical trauma, infection or event that causes major psychological stress, but for others there may be no single cause.

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According to the Mayo Clinic, “Repeated nerve stimulation causes the brains of people with fibromyalgia to change. This change involves an abnormal increase in levels of certain chemicals in the brain that signal pain (neurotransmitters).”

There are many ways people try to treat fibromyalgia pain, including medication. However, one treatment in particular is proving to be most effective in potentially restoring fibromyalgia patients to a fruitful and pain-free life.

A recent study performed at the Oregon Health and Science University showed that Individualized acupuncture in a group setting significantly decreases fatigue and pain in fibromyalgia patients, compared with standard group therapy—a treatment that has previously been shown to be helpful for fibromyalgia patients. Thirty patients who reported moderate to severe pain were treated, half of which underwent standard educational group therapy and half of which received individualized acupuncture treatments within a group setting. The half who received acupuncture treatment did so in 40-minute sessions, twice a week for a 10-week period.

The results were clear.

“Those who underwent group acupuncture showed significant improvements, which were sustained and even improved four weeks after treatment,” the results of the study said. “Fatigue scores in this group improved by 25%, and pain decreased by 2.8 points.”

With nearly 10 million people across the US suffering from fibromyalgia, chances are you may know someone who is in need of treatment from the pain, fatigue and “fibro fog” associated with the disease. If so, acupuncture may be just what they need.

 

 

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How Acupuncture Saved One Woman's "Mom Bod"

There’s nothing more beautiful and precious than bringing a new life into the world. But pregnancy can of course also be a physical burden on mothers, the incredible changes that the body goes through causing all sorts of aches and pains all over.

Caitlyn Doenges always suffered from back pain, and it only got worse when she was carrying her first child. Once her daughter was born, Caitlyn expected her pain to get better. Now that she wasn’t pregnant, wouldn’t her back have less strain on it? However Caitlyn soon realized that her baby brought many more physical challenges—holding the growing child, pushing her in a stroller, taking her in and out of car seats, etc. The day-to-day rigors of child care include lots of stretching, reaching, and straining—for someone who has a history of back pain, raising a child can often make it even worse. Eventually, Caitlyn’s pain took an even worse turn.

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“All of this combined with my already bad back led to the herniation of a disc in my lower back,” she wrote. “The pain from this herniation radiated all the way down my leg and caused such severe nerve damage that three years later, a large part of my leg is still numb. I had to do something to get better.”

That something, for Caitlyn, wasn’t surgery or medications, both options she could have taken. Instead, she went down a holistic path that she had previously known nothing about: acupuncture.

Caitlyn initially was treated three times a week for the first few months, then eventually went down to at least once a week continuously for the past three years. Now that Caitlyn has two children, she certainly is doing plenty of lifting and stretching and pulling – but she’s living a much more comfortable and pain-free life. 

“Those tiny little needles have saved my mom body by allowing me to put away the pain meds and focus on being present with my kids.”

 

 

Can Acupuncture Help Asthma?

Approximately 8.4% of children and 7.6% of U.S. adults suffer from bronchial asthma, more commonly known as asthma. Common treatments for this disruptive and concerning breathing disorder include prescription medicine—often administered through an inhaler.  However, while many of these treatments for bronchial asthma help the symptoms, they aren’t too effective at attacking and healing the root causes. Those who suffer from the disorder may thankfully get a temporarily reprieve from symptoms, but those symptoms are likely to return. When it comes to something like asthma, every attack is one too many.  

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However, a potential breakthrough in treatment appears to be on the horizon: acupuncture.

The China Academy of TCM recently performed a number of studies to see how effective  acupuncture and other holistic treatments can be in treatment of bronchial asthma. One study consisted of a comprehensive acupuncture regiment on 111 patients. Needles were retained for 20 minutes on a daily basis at the outset, with treatment ramping down to every other day as symptoms subsided. Of the patients, 48 underwent a positive change, 61 saw significant improvement, and 2 saw no change—an impressive 98% effective rate.

Further studies were done using moxibustion as well. Moxibustion was administered to a specific acupuncture point, and then moxibustion paste was applied to the point every day until the initial moxibustion scar was healed. This study of 299 patients yielded a 70.6% success rate—57 experienced a positive effect, and 124 saw a significant improvement.

How might these treatments help curb symptoms of asthma and have long-lasting effects?? Acupuncture allows relaxation of the muscles, relieving spasms that can cause asthmatic attacked. This increases ventilation, allowing the patient to breathe more safely and naturally.

If you or anyone you know suffers from bronchial asthma, acupuncture and moxibustion may be the next crucial steps to take.

 

Can Acupuncture Help Animals Live Longer Lives?

Traffic the cat once made the daredevil choice to jump out of a car going 65 miles per hour and lived to tell about it. There’s no question that Traffic has gotten the most out of his 19 years on earth, perhaps even using up some of his 9 lives in the process. But those years have taken their toll.

An article recently posted by K5 news entitled, "Animals Living Longer Lives Through Acupuncture," introduced us to Traffic, who a few years ago, was diagnosed with a high level of liver enzymes, among other health issues. The Bradic family sought many treatments for Traffic, including steroids, but nothing seemed to work.

That’s where Darla Rewers stepped in. The Bradics brought Traffic to the Fremont, WA based veterinarian, who runs the Ancient Art Holistic Veterinary Service center where, among other holistic treatments, Rewers specializes in animal acupuncture.

"It's really minimally invasive. There's these little tiny needles that can really affect a lot of change,” Rewers told King5 News.

"The acupuncture points actually communicate with the main part of the nervous system. And all those nerve endings connect and communicate so that the body can restore, repair, remodel and rebuild."

A few weeks ago we talked about the positive impacts acupuncture treatments had on an arthritic giraffe, and Rewers has used acupuncture on all sorts of animals, from dogs to cats and even birds, with successful results. How did the treatments work for Traffic the cat? The Bradics say that after 3 treatments, Traffic’s liver enzymes reduced from a count of 850 to 200. The family also said that Traffic has regained his healthy look and playful nature, and continues to receive regular acupuncture three years from the initial treatment.

There are many times in our lives where physical and mental stress can zap us from our own healthy and playful natures. Like Traffic the cat, acupuncture can often be the key to unlocking a pain-free and overall healthier life. While we won’t recommend leaping out of a speeding car any time soon, we can say with confidence that acupuncture will benefit you just as it did Traffic.

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Acupuncture Use in the Military

 

The Fort Hood Sentinel recently ran an article entitled, “Ancient Chinese Technique Enhances Modern Medicine.” The ancient technique they’re talking about? Acupuncture, of course.

In the article, retired Air Force Col. Arnyce Pock, a board-certified Internist, advocates for the procedure, particularly for pain relief. The article states, “Pock said acupuncture offers pain relief without the costs, potential side effects and addiction and dependency issues associated with opioids, which act on the nervous system to relieve pain.”

While it explains that the medical field still doesn’t have a clear or scientific reasoning of how it works, acupuncture can work in single, or consecutive treatments.

Pock adds, “but it can be highly effective in treating a wide range of conditions,” including symptoms associated with traumatic brain injuries, such as depression, anxiety, insomnia and headaches,” which are unfortunately common struggles of military veterans.

Retired Air Force Col. Ricard Niemtzow, is cited in the article as developing a technique known as “battlefield acupuncture” also known as BFA. Within the process of BFA, needles are placed at specific accupoints along the ear, and stay secure there for two – four days. This practice aims to release pain continuously with little interruption to daily routines and responsibilities.

In fact, BFA is now taught to a variety of health care providers through the Department of Defense and Veterans Health Administration (VHA). Additionally, according to the article, “Acupuncture is available in more than 80 military treatment facilities overseas and stateside,” a great achievement for the minimally invasive treatment that is full of health benefits.

The article also quotes a third source, Army Col. Jason Wieman, hospital director at Fort Belvoir and family medicine physician trained in acupuncture as saying, “‘Acupuncture really works,’ he said. ‘I treat an average of a dozen patients per week with acupuncture, and I’ve used it personally. It’s a great tool for pain relief, and a great asset for our providers to have at their disposal.’

 

Cant Sleep? Try Acupuncture.

We spend about a third of our lives asleep. This can be music to the ears of many, or a frightful realization for those who struggle with slumber.

We’ve all been there, when you just can’t fall asleep, or stay asleep, due to racing thoughts, stressors, too much caffeine, or lack of comfort. But what about when this continues for days, weeks, even months? Acupuncture can help.

According to sleep.org,  “Acupuncture, an ancient Chinese practice, has been linked to improved sleep and has also been shown to help treat insomnia.”

While more research is needed to determine exactly how it helps, many people swear by the effects. We know the procedure can help patients to relax and improve their sense of wellbeing, but according to the site it has also, “been shown to help manage sleep apnea, perhaps because it strengthens the tongue and prevents it from dropping back during the night and blocking your airway.”

Furthermore, according to Insomnia.net, there are a few types of insomnia, according to Chinese Medicine, including:

 

·       Sleep onset or difficulty going to sleep

·       Middle of the night, or waking and unable to go back to sleep right away

·       Terminal or late insomnia, or waking in the very early morning and cannot return to sleep again

·       Sleep with vivid and disruptive dreaming

·       Inability to sleep, in general.

It is important to keep in mind that a singular session may help to relax you, but to truly combat insomnia it is important to come up with a treatment plan that will span a period of assigned time. This largely depends on the nature, and cause of your insomnia.

To improve results, there are a few complimentary lifestyle changes that will work in conjunction with acupuncture. These can include restricting caffeine intake, limiting exposure to technology for 30-60 minutes prior to sleep time, breathing exercises, and light stretching.

Sweet dreams!

What is Qi?

In Chinese medicine, Qi (commonly referred to as chi) is the central focus of acupuncture. But what is it, exactly?

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In translation, Qi literally means “breath” or “air,” and is often used less literally as “life force” and “energy flow.” Essentially, it’s the vital force behind life, allowing living beings to thrive and live balanced lives.  Acupuncture treatment helps to balance Qi, as an attempt to achieve qigong (balanced chi.) This is important as all living beings within the universe have movements, and changes in their Qi.

According to acuhealing,com, Qi has many bodily  functions including:

·      Promoting Action (vitality, promoting physiological functioning)

·      Warming Action (the main source of heat for the human body)

·      Defending Action (guarding the body and skin from invading diseases)

·      Consolidating and Governing Action (keeping blood flowing, controlling sweat, storing and excretion of bodily fluid)

·      Promoting Metabolism and Transformation (helping us to properly digest and dispose of food waste)

Qi blockages are often the result of emotional problems. In eastern medicine, emotions are energy – and any negative emotions such as stress or sadness can manifest in the body, ultimately causing Qi imbalances.

When there is stagnant, unbalanced or blocked Q, problems, pain and disease arise. This is why acupuncture plays such an important role in maintaining and improving health. By tapping into and stimulating sources and locations of the energy, the fine needles puncture the body to stimulate specific acupuncture points and meridians.

Through acupuncture therapy, the hope is that the Qi will begin to flow more smoothly, improving health, pain, and other problematic symptoms.

 

 

Can Acupuncture Help You Lose Weight?

With Halloween just behind us and the winter holidays fast approaching, many of us are entering what is known as “the danger zone,” - AKA the time of year where our indulgences in sweets, comfort foods and beverages at festive gatherings can quickly catch up with us, and our waistlines.

Whether you’re looking to lose a few pounds or to combat any potential holiday weight gain, following a healthy diet and getting proper exercise is key. But, could acupuncture help, too?

According to Women’s Health Magazine, it’s possible. The article stated, “‘Obviously, we have a huge obesity epidemic and we’re trying to find any way to help people lose weight,’ says Reshmi Srinath, M.D. and assistant professor of medicine, endocrinology, diabetes and bone disease at Mt. Sinai. Unfortunately, she notes that there aren’t enough controlled, randomized studies proving a direct link between weight loss and acupuncture. ‘I do, however, think there are benefits,’ she says. ‘It certainly can’t hurt.’ “

Acupuncture can help to reduce hunger by controlling appetite, and can also release the feel-good endorphins that may help prevent overeating and overindulging. Typical points that target weight loss and appetite control are located in the ear, as well as in the abdomen, knees, and elbows.

You probably know by now that there is not a one-size-fits-all approach to weight loss, and no quick fixes. (Or quick fixes that are healthy and promote lasting results, at least.) With this knowledge, it is recommended to follow a treatment plan with consecutive treatments – as one treatment is not likely to have any effect on weight.

In addition to acupuncture treatment, Dr. Daniel N. Hsu of New York Acuhealth Acupuncture has said that Traditional Chinese Medicine also recommends patients:

·      Eat small meals

·      Eat warmed, fresh cooked food

·      Avoid cold drinks and frozen food

·      Avoid fried foods

·      Avoid alcohol and caffeine

·      Avoid anything with added sugar

·      Avoid fast food and junk food

 

Why IVF Patients Turn to the Practice to Improve Their Chances & Experience

Women struggling with infertility and their loved ones know first-hand how stressful, painful, overwhelming and expensive the process can be. From daily injections and monitoring, endless blood draws and ultrasounds the in-vitro fertilization process is demanding, with of course, the end result hopefully being very much worth the work.

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Those seeking to get a handle on stress stemming from the process, or to possibly improve the chances of a positive outcome are seeking acupuncture treatment more and more.

Stress can significantly impact the IVF cycle, and acupuncture can help to reduce it.

A recent Parents.com article cited Alice Domar, Ph.D., executive director of the Domar Center for Mind/Body Health as saying, “We know the number-one reason insured people drop out of IVF treatment is stress, so anything you can do to reduce stress might keep you in treatment longer and help you get pregnant.”

In an article entitled, Does Acupuncture for Infertility Work? Dr. Lara Rosenthal, a licensed acupuncturist who works with patients New York University Langone Medical Center Fertility Center in New York City is quoted as saying, “"Doing acupuncture before trying drugs or IVF might help you avoid those treatments altogether,” while having acupuncture treatment during an IVF cycle may help combat the unpleasant side effects stemming from the added hormones and mediations in your system.

Even Hollywood moms have publicly turned to acupuncture during their battles with infertility. Celine Dion’s reps have confirmed that she sought treatment during her sixth IVF experience which led to her pregnancy with twins Nelson and Eddy.

After suffering a miscarriage, Mariah Carey told Access HollywoodCeline was talking about acupuncture. I used to get acupuncture, and I had never thought [of it] with regards to the trying to conceive situation,” and seems to believe it helped to make her pregnancy with twins via IVF, a dream come true.

Currently, many fertility doctors are now recommending acupuncture to their patients who are trying to conceive. From helping to balance hormone levels, releasing congested qi and helping patients to achieve relax, there are many benefits to giving it a try.

If you are actively trying to conceive or are undergoing infertility treatments, we are happy to try to help you achieve your parenting dreams and to lessen the stress of the process through skilled acupuncture treatment.