Acupuncture is a sometimes misunderstood type of health treatment. Our acupuncturist, Richard Vigorelli, answers some frequently asked questions.
How does acupuncture work?
Acupuncture creates a local microtrauma to basically trick the body into fixing the actual problem. For other conditions, such as infectious disease, emotional problems, organ dysfunction, and pain there are many theories as to why acupuncture works, but there does not seem to be a scientific consensus as to the reason. It does not always work, which could be caused by a variety of problems, such as an inaccurate diagnosis or a lacking needling technique. Western medicine often faces the same issue. Sometimes medicine doesn’t meet the need.
What are the advantages or benefits of acupuncture treatment?
Acupuncture is minimally invasive and very direct for the given problem being treated. A qualified diagnosis is needed and all questions must be answered by the patient accurately for the treatment to actually work.
What does acupuncture feel like?
For the most part, acupuncture is painless. There are some points that do hurt on the insertion of the needle but that pain usually lifts after about a minute or so. Some patients have reported a buzzing or humming sensation once the treatment has run its course. When this comes up the needles are removed and the patient is released. This usually takes about 20 minutes.
Do acupuncture needles hurt? Where do the needles go?
For the most part, there is no pain. Some points do hurt which is the nature of how the human nervous system is built. These points are not commonly used and they will be discussed before use. The needles are inserted into the flesh of the patient and not into bone, vein, artery or organ. Insertion into large joints such as the knee is not uncommon and very safe.
What should I expect for my first treatment?
It begins with a question and answer from the acupuncturist to the patient and diagnosis is formulated from the information collected. Radial pulses may be taken to assess the relative health of the internal organs based on the variant quality of the pulse. The patient is then invited to lie down either face up or face down depending on the treatment, however, they might also be treated sitting up. The relevant needles are inserted to depth and a record is made. if the patient is sitting up or if the treatment is for something relatively serious, the acupuncturist will remain at the bedside on the off chance the patient needs further care. Otherwise, the acupuncturist will leave the room for about 10 minutes and allow the patient to “cook”. The patient is then checked on after 10 minutes and any modifications to the treatment are made. At the 20 minute mark, the needles are withdrawn and the patient is released.
What sort of conditions can acupuncture treat?
The shorter list is what acupuncture cannot treat. It cannot restitch a bone, cure cancer, raise the dead, or reverse aging.
Are there any side effects to acupuncture?
Noted side effects do include emotional release and a possible sudden shift in digestion. Any detrimental side effects are vanishingly rare and are caused by improper needling technique. If done properly acupuncture is one of the safest forms of medicine in existence.
Is acupuncture safe during pregnancy?
Acupuncture is safe during pregnancy. Certain and specific points are contra-indicated however and are done so to preserve the health of the growing baby.
Does a client have to believe in acupuncture for it to be effective? Is it just a placebo effect?
You do not have to “believe” in acupuncture for it to work. This is not magic or religion. It is medicine.
Do Western medical doctors approve of acupuncture?
Depends on the doctor.
Can a client exercise or engage in any physical activity before or after acupuncture?
Should a massage therapy appointment take place before or after an acupuncture treatment?
Before is advised, and only for the reason that oil might get into one of the points and it could sting or cause a mild infection.