What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is one of the five branches of Chinese medicine. Acupuncture works on the whole body and is based on the principles of Asian medicine: Yin and Yang, concept of meridians in which the Qi (vital energy or life force) flows through the body.
This method consists in introducing metal needles under the skin to stimulate specific acupuncture points, in order to regulate the Qi and restore the energy balance of the body.
There is a detailed mapping of acupuncture points and meridians and their roles to restore health and patient balance.
When Acupuncture Can Help?
Acupuncture can cure, often in tandem with other practices, a variety of imbalances related, among others, to the musculoskeletal system (arthritis, tendinitis, bursitis), respiratory system (bronchitis, asthma), gastrointestinal system (calculations, diarrhea), and nervous system (depression, stress). It also helps relieve various common ailments (headache, fever, nausea), but it cannot cure serious diseases or correct genetic deficiencies.
Acupuncture may also play an important role in disease prevention.
Many pathologies can benefit from acupuncture:
- Inflammatory joint pain
- Gastric problems
- Urinary incontinence
- Dental pain
- Support in quitting smoking, and during a diet
What Does an Acupuncturist Do?
An acupuncture appointment requires little preparation. Most important, you should not come with an empty stomach. A good guideline is to eat about two hours before your session. Also, since it is a stimulant, refrain from drinking coffee, as well as alcohol or drugs that impair the senses. Acupuncture does the opposite ?it brings more awareness to how you feel.
On your first visit, do not expect your acupuncturist to appear needles in hands with a smirk...
First, your therapist will assess your health status and detects its energy imbalances. For this, he will use observation, palpation and may ask you some strange questions, such as the flavors you prefer. He will take note of your medical history and of your characteristics (height, weight, complexion, breathing rhythm, tone of voice, movements, emotional state, etc.). He will take your pulse and examine your tongue, listen to stomach noises, note body odors and auscultate sore spots associated with meridians, looking for patterns of disharmony.
Your acupuncturist will use 2 methods:
- Needles, of different sizes, caliber and length, depending on the points addressed.
- Moxibuxtion, which involves burning small cones or sticks on energy nodes.
Although the needles are, at first glance, uninspiring, they are rarely painful. They are hair-thin and designed to fit into the skin without resistance. Usually, your acupuncturist will use 1 to 15 needles, that he will leave different points for 15 to 40 minutes, depending on the problem being treated.
The sensation caused by the needle can be compared to a mosquito bite. You may feel a slight tingling or numbness, which disappears before the end of the session.
For sanitary safety reasons, the practitioner uses sterile disposable equipment and follows the basic rules of hygiene (hand washing, skin disinfection).
Is Acupuncture Safe?
Sometimes small rash may appear around the points that have been stitched. The patient may also feel some tiredness or soreness after a session. These are really the only notable adverse reactions, and all typically won't last more than 24 hours. Lightheadedness is pretty rare, but it can happen, that's why you are recommended not to come to a session with an empty stomach. When your session is over, take your time getting up. If you find yourself feeling lightheaded, sit in the waiting room for a few minutes before you leave.
Most commonly, you will experience better sleep, more energy, mental clarity, better digestion and less stress.