How does acupuncture work?
Acupuncture has been used effectively for over 2,000 years in many parts of Asia and is the oldest system of medicine currently in use. According to the ancient Chinese philosophy, all living things are animated with "qi" or life force. In humans, this qi energy follows certain currents, called meridians. Acupuncture addresses imbalances by accessing the flow of qi through points on the meridians. These acupuncture points are the gateways to this energetic system.
Five element acupuncture is a preventative as well as curative constitutional treatment; it works by bringing the entire system into balance. Since our health problems did not come about overnight, it follows that true healing requires a gradual undoing of old patterns. Though some patients may experience very rapid results, in general, consistent and steady improvement will provide the most long-lasting healing.
What about the needles?
Needles used in acupuncture are about as fine as a human hair. They are pre-sterilised and disposed of after each use. Needles are inserted at certain specific acupuncture points. They usually penetrate only a few millimeters under the surface of the skin. There may be a temporary stinging sensation. Other responses might include a feeling of warmth, a dull ache, or a wave of calm well-being.
What is Moxa?
As part of the treatment, I may also use an herb called artemisia vulgaris (mugwort) commonly referred to as Moxa. Moxa is used to gently heat the acupuncture points and enhances the movement of energy.
How long is the course of treatment?
The course of treatment varies with each individual, depending on the severity of symptoms and how long someone has been out of balance. Within three treatments most people will experience a positive shift in some aspect of their health or state of mind. Deep-rooted symptoms will take longer to resolve, though usually, some aspects of the health picture will begin shifting within a few treatments.
Initially, people might come for treatments once a week or every two weeks for a month or two, and as things start to balance, treatments will be spaced further apart. Some people find that monthly treatments keep them feeling at their best, while other people might come in with the change of seasons or when there's a particular physical or emotional stress in their lives.
How will I respond to treatment?
Some of the things people experience with acupuncture include:
- Greater vitality and joy of living
- Reduction or disappearance of original symptoms
- Improvement in other chronic conditions that the person may have resigned to "live with" (such as sleep patterns, digestion, moods, circulation)
- Improvement in overall well-being
- Occasionally, people will experience temporary mild exacerbation of symptoms before they resolve. This is called "the law of cure." If a person is concerned about the intensification of symptoms, I am always available for phone consultations.
What other treatment modalities do you use?
I also do a form of bodywork that I call "structural acupressure." This can be incorporated into acupuncture treatments or done in a separate session. Structural acupuncture focuses primarily on the alignment of the spine and freeing up areas that are hindering the free flow of qi. The client remains fully clothed. People find this bodywork is gentle and relaxing and leaves them feeling energized and clear.
Will acupuncture conflict with my other medical treatment?
Acupuncture is compatible with other medical treatments and healing modalities. However, chiropractic, reiki, shiatsu, massage and other energy-shifting treatments should be scheduled on a different day from acupuncture treatments to get the most benefit from each modality.