Allow Your Vitality to Flow
The living body is composed of both energy and matter. The material body (your cells, tissues, etc.) has been intricately described by Western science and can be affected by such techniques as drugs and surgery. Your energetic body (meaning the channels or rivers of energy that underlie the material structure) has been described as well, by the ancient Taoists who developed Chinese medicine. Acupuncture works by stimulating the energy in your body to change in specific ways which will reestablish health. It does not add anything from the outside, but relies on your body's own natural healing abilities to be effective.
The short answer is no. Since acupuncture needles are extremely thin, flexible and solid, they do not hurt the way larger hypodermic needles do. You may not feel the needle insertion at all, or you may feel a slight "pinprick" sensation which is not painful. Once the needle is inserted, it is manipulated until the qi sensation arrives. Qi sensation is experienced sometimes as a tingling feeling, a deep ache, numbness, or sometimes a shooting electrical feeling along the acupuncture channel. It can be intense, but should not be painful. After the needles are inserted, the sensation often subsides entirely and I will leave you to relax for the duration of the treatment.
Because change is not imposed from the outside, acupuncture does not have side effects the way that pharmaceutical drugs do. The most common effect of an acupuncture treatment is increased relaxation and well-being. The needles are sterile and single-use, meaning that the risk of infection is extremely low. Sometimes a "healing reaction" may occur, meaning that your condition gets worse before it gets better, or old symptoms arise from past imbalances. This is generally a sign that your body is getting rid of old toxic energy but has to re-experience it before it is completely resolved. Please inform me of any changes you notice from treatment, whether positive or negative.
At your first appointment, we will discuss your health history and do a thorough interview to determine the particular imbalance in your energetic system. Then, I will answer any questions you may have about the needles or technique I will use that day. As I guide you through the needle insertion, I will ask you for feedback about any qi sensation you may feel. Then, you will relax for 20-30 minutes on the treatment table, before the needles are removed. I may incorporate essential oils, bodywork or acupressure massage, medical Qigong, or moxibustion, depending on what would be most effective for your treatment. Most people find their acupuncture treatment to be surprisingly relaxing and yet energizing.
It is usually best to schedule more frequent treatments at first, between 1-3 per week, so that we can most effectively bring about a shift in your energy. After you have noticed a positive change, we can space treatments out further. After your acute issues have resolved, receiving acupuncture on a monthly or seasonal basis can help address underlying chronic conditions, or be part of your preventative health and wellness plan.
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