Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine have been around for over 2,000 years. The medicine was handed down from generation to generation. It was put into a cohesive form known as Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) when Mao took the reins in China in the late 1950s. Most U.S. practitioners are schooled in and practice TCM, although there are other schools such as Five Elements, Japanese and Korean styles, to name a few. For years there have been questions about the efficacy of acupuncture. Research has now demonstrated the action of acupuncture needles for many health conditions, including chronic pain, migraines, headaches, digestive issues, nausea (for pregnant women and post-surgical), respiratory conditions, and so on.
Does Acupuncture work?
This is the question I get asked most frequently when discussing Acupuncture. The most common reason people seek out acupuncture is for pain. Most people experience relief, if not complete elimination of their pain after a series of treatments. An acupuncturist is equipped with many tools in addition to the actual needles, i.e., cupping, Gua Sha, E-Stim, Tui Na, Bleeding, etc., to address a health issue. These tools can do wonders to stimulate healing and provide relief. The amount of time it will take to see results depends greatly on the severity of the issue and the frequency of visits.
In China, patients visit their Acupuncturist several days a week when facing a health issue. Each day the body is assisted in maximizing its healing efforts. With the aid of Acupuncture, healing can happen more quickly. In our country, a patient may visit on average once a week, where they can feel better for several days but then regress to their level of discomfort before their next treatment the following week. This model does not leverage what Acupuncture can do and can diminish its capabilities. Therefore, it may be deemed ineffective. When working with patients, I will gauge the intensity of the patient's condition and determine the frequency of visits required to make Acupuncture effective for you. Additionally, herbs may be prescribed to support acupuncture treatments.
What can I expect during my Acupuncture Treatment?
Aside from receiving needles during your Acupuncture treatment, your practitioner may also use other modalities during your treatment, which may include:
How can Chinese Herbs help me?
One of my Chinese Medicine teachers described Chinese Herbs as "China's Nuclear Weapon!" Most people are unaware of the power of Chinese Herbal Medicine. I will give you an example. I had a 23-year-old man come to see me for chronic diarrhea. This man had been experiencing diarrhea for two years when I saw him. He had tried to go Vegan and Gluten-Free to help his circumstances. He came to me wanting to find out what foods he was allergic to so he could further limit his diet, thus hoping to improve his condition. My response to him was, "Why don't we just stop diarrhea?" I put him on a Chinese Herbal formula. I didn't need to know the why of the pathology. I just needed to understand from a Chinese Medicine perspective what his body needed. After two weeks on the formula, he reported diarrhea had stopped.
I will give you another example. I worked with a 42-year-old woman who was experiencing chest pain. She went to her doctor. After all the tests and scans, they could not determine the reason for her chest pain. Along with the chest pain, she would experience heat in her upper body and horrible headaches. Acupuncture sessions would remove the pain, heat, and headache after 30 minutes. It would last at first just 1-2 days. After adding Chinese Herbs along with Acupuncture, she could soon go 3-4 days without the symptoms returning. After one month, she was symptom-free.
So for those who are needle shy, you can still experience the benefit of Chinese Medicine through herbal formulas! The two together are a powerful punch, of course. Can you improve with just Acupuncture? Yes! Can you improve with just the Chinese Herbs? Yes! Will doing both together give me the maximum benefit? Absolutely!
How should I prepare for my Acupuncture treatment?
Please have something to eat at least 1-2 hours before your appointment and be hydrated.
Wear loose-fitting clothes, pants that can be rolled to the knees, and clothing that you would be comfortable removing should treatment involve accessing the chest, abdomen, or back. Sheets will be used to cover the body where appropriate.
Do not brush your tongue on the day of your appointment.
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