How does acupuncture work?
Acupuncture works by stimulating the energy within your body to be active in ways that support your health. There is a basic principle at work within the Chinese Medical perspective that explains Qi dynamics; free-flow equates to no pain, no free-flow equates to pain. This pain can take the form of many symptoms from insomnia to neck pain. When we restore free-flow of energy with acupuncture, we are able to mitigate many symptoms of dis-ease while supporting the body’s nature to heal itself.
What is Qi?
Qi is the Chinese word for the energetics that are a part of our body system. We can also call this energy.
What can I expect to feel?
Acupuncture can bring about many different sensations. Mostly, you will feel relaxed and at ease. You may feel slightly dazed or extra clear when the session finishes. Most clients report better sleep and an ability to stay calm throughout the day and night following a treatment.
Does acupuncture hurt?
It depends on what you are being treated for, and, it depends on the particular state of your body at the time of treatment. Acupuncture can be very gentle and soothing. It can also be vigorous and stimulating. If you come in for a condition of pain, you can expect to feel sensation as we resolve it. Often, clients who have chronic pain find the sensations that accompany acupuncture enjoyable. There is a pleasant satisfaction that comes from finding relief to long standing pain.
How do you know where to place the needles?
We learn body maps, the channels and specific acupuncture points and functions in school. This develops into palpation hand skills that enable the acupuncturist to read the signs and symptoms being communicated by the body. There are patterns of holding that can be common from body to body. And, there is a lot of information being communicated through observing the body closely. The exciting part is learning to read the language of the body, it’s expressions of needs, and communicating back by supporting those needs. This is a skill set that is available to each patient as their relationship with acupuncture grows.
Are there different types of needles?
Yes. Needles come in different gauges and lengths. Acupuncture needles are also made of different materials, some are made of more precious metals like Silver and Gold and most commonly they are made from stainless steel, a more utilitarian metal.
How many sessions will I need to experience results?
Acupuncture is a cumulative experience, one that strengthens within us over time and repetition. You may absolutely come for a one-off treatment and experience positive results such as sleeping more soundly, or reduced pain. And, if the goal is to live a more fully aware and healthful life, you’ll be best advised to find a rhythm of regular acupuncture that works for your life. Some clients find that 1-2 times a week works best, these are generally people that are working with an acute issue or are in a very fast-paced daily lifestyle. More intense symptoms and lifestyles require a more regular integrationnof healthy energetic flow. Many clients come bi-weekly, monthly or seasonally for chunk of sessions to reset. There is no right rhythm, instead see this question as an invitation to get to know how your body is able to thrive most fully with the support of acupuncture as an ally.
How long do you study to become an acupuncturist?
A three year masters program is required to sit for state licensure.
What is Gua Sha?
Gua Sha is a physical modality which moves Qi and at times expresses Sha (stagnation of blood and qi) on the surface of the body. Gua Sha has been used in many ancient and indigenous cultures around the globe. It is essentially the vigorous rubbing of the surface tissues with a tool such as stone, coin, porcelain, bone or horn. There are many applications for Gua Sha. I use it often when a client is presenting with the onset of a cold, an overwhelm of emotion or the inability to sleep soundly.
What is Moxa?
Moxa is the application of mugwort on specific acupuncture points or areas of the body in need of tonifying. There are several ways to facilitate moxabustion. I use direct moxa and a pole moxa most often in my practice. The goal of the application is to bring warmth, space, flow, nourishment and witnessing to the parts of us in need. Mugwort is an adaptogenic herb, as such it is able to knowingly become exactly what the body is in most need of at a particular moment.
What is Cupping?
Cupping is a physical modality used to unblock stagnation of qi, blood and bodily fluids. Glass or silicon suction cups are used on the bodies energy channels to move what is stuck and causing such symptoms as pain, frustration, anger, sadness, etc. In general we apply cups with an excess presentation to relive the body of carrying an extra load.
What is Tui Na?
Tui Na is the name for Chinese medical massage. It is a collection of techniques and protocols that alleviate pain and misalignment with in the bodies systems – both physical and energetic. Tui Na comes from a merging of Chinese medicine with martial arts such as Qi Gong and Tai Chi. This merge is essential for cultivating energy within the practitioner that is used to facilitate a greater healing experience for the client.
Why don’t you use ice for inflammation in a Chinese Medicine context?
In Chinese Medicine we break down the entire universe into Yin and Yang (rhymes with gong). Hot belongs to Yang, Cold belongs to Yin. Cold also carries the characteristics of contraction, stagnation, harden tissues, lack of flow and so on. When we are looking to heal, we want to bring on board the bodies natural abilities as much as possible and in general, ice, which is the most extreme version of cold, does not allow for the bodies processes to flow. We do employ herbs which are cold in nature, such as San Yuan San to the tissues to bring down inflammation but not stop the flow of blood and Qi to the area in need of healing. Another way cold can be applied within the context of Chinese Medicine is the alternation of heat therapy and cold therapy. The back and forth of the two creates a pump, an opening and closing of the tissues and vessels which does facilitate flow.