The Acupuncture Treatment
Acupuncture treatments consist of a short intake interview, pulse taking and tongue inspection. If necessary, we will do orthopedic testing, which may include range of motion, sensory and muscle testing. This information is used to make a diagnosis after which acupuncture is administered. Needles are typically retained for 15 minutes, making the total treatment time approximately 45 minutes to 60 minutes. Depending on the complexity of symptoms, your treatment may be slightly longer or shorter because it is tailored to your specific needs.
The course of treatment depends on the severity of symptoms but in general, the more chronic the problem is, the longer it will take to treat. Four to eight weeks is typical for chronic conditions, with one or more visits per week. For acute conditions, you may experience profound results within the first visit and need no additional treatment, while others may require several treatments in a short time span to have a similar reaction.
The Acupuncture Experience
Acupuncture is an ancient form of oriental medicine based on the principal of chi, or energy flow. In the oriental medicine framework, the free flow of chi throughout the body produces optimal health. Chi is believed to flow along twelve defined pathways, called meridians, which are connected to specific organs. If chi is blocked in any way, illness may result.
Acupuncture works to restore the flow of chi throughout your body by placing very thin, stainless steel, sterile needles at various points in your body. There are as many as 365 acupuncture points along the meridian pathways where needles can be inserted to restore a balance of energy.
During your treatment, your acupuncturist will first start by selecting points along the appropriate meridians, which will be cleaned with cotton that has been dipped in alcohol. Sterilized needles are then placed on the selected points. Acupuncture needles are different lengths and gauges, but are generally hair-thin, solid and made of stainless steel. sage acupuncture use pre-sterilized, disposable needles only.
Typically needles are placed just below the skin’s surface, but some may go deeper, depending on the points being treated. Usually, most patients only experience a brief sensation as the needle is first being placed. Once the needles are in place, they generally cannot be felt.
Many patients find the treatment very relaxing and experience a feeling of well-being. Often patients are surprised at how comfortable they are during the treatment and how easily the needles are placed. Needles typically stay in place for about 30 minutes; however, this may vary depending on your individual needs. After your acupuncturist removes your needles, your insertion points are gently cleansed with cotton that has been dipped in alcohol.
Acupuncture needles are much thinner than those needles use for injections and so are less painful. Needles are always pre-packaged, pre-sterilized and are disposed of after each use. You may not even know when they have been inserted. When the needle contacts Qi, or energy, you may feel a variety of sensations, including heat, tingling, numbness, swelling, a sensation in another part of your body, etc. Many patients feel so relaxed during treatment that they fall asleep on the treatment table.
Your Individualized Treatment
Although the use of needles is the main mode of treatment, our clinic will customize your treatment program to care for your specific health needs. Based on the diagnosis and treatment principle, your treatment may combine: Chinese Herbal Medicine, Cupping, Scraping, Moxibustion, Electrical point stimulation, Microsystems or TuiNa (traditional Chinese massage done through clothing that incorporates kneading manipulations of western massage with acupressure).
The Researches of The Meridian Theory and Mechanisms of Acupuncture
For thousands of years, acupuncture has been based on the premise that specific points along the meridians correspond to specific organs, such as liver, and functions, such as the motor control. From the 1970’s and 90’, the relationship between acupoints and their related organs was a key focus of acupuncture research.
The meridians depicted in oriental medical charts have no obvious anatomical basis-though diagrams of them do bring the nervous system to mind.
Meridians and acupoints might also correspond to areas of the body with physiologically distinct properties. In a study published in the scientific journal anatomical record in 2002, dr Helene langevin, an associate professor of neurology at the University of Vermont College of Medicine, showed that about 80% of the acupoints o the arm correspond to areas of connective tissue between muscles.
Langevin is now examining what implications this might have for how acupuncture sends messages to the brain. She has published data showing that when needles are inserted into acupoints, the underlying connective tissue winds around the needle “like spaghetti around a fork,”she says. This doesn’t happen when a needle goes into a non-acupuncture points.
Langevin has also shown that the winding action causes the cells in the area to change shape, a process that she theorizes might signal the central nervous system. She is testing the theory in a series of animal experiments.
Other, older studies conducted and published in Asia and Europe during the 1970’s and ‘80s produced evidence suggesting that acupoints might be areas of very low electrical resistance, might be slightly more sensitive to touch or might lie near major nerve pathways. But scientists don’t know the significance of these characteristics.