Some people are nervous to try a new treatment like acupuncture, especially because it involves needles and seems so different than many other treatments. Acupuncture is actually very gentle and relaxing, in addition to being very effective. Many people choose acupuncture as their primary form of preventive and supportive health care.
What Happens During a Session?
At your first visit, Andrew will take time to go over your health history and talk about all the areas of your health you would like to work on. He will develop a diagnosis and treatment plan based on his findings. You will lie down on a comfortable treatment table fully clothed or covered to receive your treatment. Andrew will take your pulse, look at your tongue and palpate some points on your body. He will insert tiny needles into the treatment points, and may add some heat to the points, your belly, or feet. You will rest comfortably while your body receives the treatment. After the session Andrew will review the treatment plan and may give you dietary or lifestyle advice.
What Does Acupuncture Feel Like?
The needles used are thin, solid, stainless steel needles that are sterile and single-use. Needle insertion may be unnoticeable, or feel like a small pinch, or feel something akin to a mosquito bite, or perhaps a dull ache, numbness, tingling or a warm feeling might be felt at the site of the needle or elsewhere in the body. These are sensations of the qi moving in your body and it is a normal reaction to the needle insertion.
If you've had bad experiences with shots and drawing blood, acupuncture will be different. Acupuncture needles are smooth and solid; hypodermic needles are hollow with cutting edges. This makes acupuncture needle insertion MUCH LESS PAINFUL and reduces the likelihood of bruising. Once the needles are in place—they are usually left there for 10 to 15 minutes—you probably won't feel anything. The acupuncturist may manually stimulate the needles, heat them or use electrical stimulation on them.
Typically, the needles, which are much thinner than hypodermic needles, are inserted between one-quarter and one inch in depth. However, you need to stay relatively still and relaxed, because you could feel achy or tight in the needle spots if you move suddenly or tighten your muscles. If you are uncomfortable, tell the acupuncturist. If you feel faint, dizzy or nauseated or become short of breath or break into a cold sweat, speak up. It's often a function of nervousness, but your practitioner can readjust or withdraw the needles if necessary.
Most people feel a deep sense of relaxation once the needles are inserted, and may fall asleep. After the treatment you may feelc alm, relaxed, centered and energized.
How Many Treatments do I Need?
Based on your individual history, Andrew will recommend the most beneficial course of treatment for you. This will vary depending on how severe the issue is, how long you have had symptoms, and your overall health, energy and commitment to healing. A minimum of four treatments is recommended; eight treatments is an average course. Many people begin to see results in just a few treatments; others require more for full resolution of symptoms. Treatments may be scheduled weekly or less often depending on the condition. As symptoms improve, fewer visits are needed. After the main health issues are addressed, many people choose to include acupuncture as a regular part of their regular health care plan, coming bi-weekly, monthly or seasonally.
How Do I Know Treatment is Working?
You will know treatment is working because you feel better! At first your symptoms may change by becoming less intense or less frequent. You may also notice positive changes in other areas of your health including better sleep, improved digestion, more energy, fewer colds or illnesses, an ability to handle stress better, and a general sense of well-being. Usually within the first 4 treatments you will have noticeable changes. If not, you just may need a bit more time. Andrew may change the treatment plan and/or refer you to another health care practitioner to optimize your results.