Acupuncture: much more than just pain relief
If you have never had acupuncture before, the thought of a “needle” being inserted into your body may be scary. Let me put your mind at ease, we can insert an acupuncture needle into the hole of a blood draw needle. They are extremely small in comparison and do not cause as much pain, if any at all. Also a personalized acupuncture protocol can help you with so much more than just muscle pain relief.
Why would you get acupuncture?
The most common reasons people receive acupuncture is for pain: headaches/migraines, muscle pain, arthritis, menstrual cramps, TMJ syndrome. Once your personalized protocol has been made acupuncture can even help with stress, anxiety, sleep issues, GI issues, high blood pressure, nausea, vertigo, strengthen immune system, and addictions.
What to expect in each appointment?
In your initial appointment a guided examination surrounding your complaint will take 20-30 minutes. This will allow the practitioner to make an informed Chinese Medicine diagnosis and prepare your personalized protocol. During the initial appointment you will also receive your first treatment, which will last roughly 20 minutes. Follow up appointments are roughly 30 minutes, which will only include your treatment unless something new has come up. In each treatment you will have the choice to talk with the practitioner or simply relax and listen to some music. The number of treatments vary depending on the complaints and severity but the average is 1-2 visits per week for 4-5 weeks.
What to expect during the treatment?
Each protocol is customized to your specific diagnosis and severity. There are 361 points that follow 12 meridians along the whole body. There are also Aschi points which are trigger points that form in muscles. A protocol can consist of 10-20 needles, and can be located anywhere from the forehead to the foot/hand or where the pain is located. Each needle is inserted to specific depths, depending on the location, this is done to activate Qi, when the right depth and location is achieved, you may feel a dull ache. Shooting or severe pain should not be felt. Once the needles have been inserted, they will remain in place for an initial 10 minutes. After this the practitioner many manipulate the needles, twist or move the needle to reactivate the Qi, there again they will remain for another 10 minutes. After the full 20 minutes the needles will be removed, it is not uncommon for a little blood to come out, but there is no reason for concern, especially for some protocols, bleeding will help resolve the issue.
What to expect after the treatment?
After the treatment most patients feel relaxed or energized, it depends on the protocol and the goal. It is suggested after a treatment to not lift anything heavy, to relax, stay away from stimulants and depressants for 12 hours, The practitioner may also make diet and lifestyle recommendations that go along with your diagnosis. A key to success with acupuncture is open dialogue, be open with your practitioner and give feedback so that he can make and adapt your protocol to be right for you. If you do not start to see improvements after a couple of weeks, the protocol may need to be changed or acupuncture may not be right for you.
Book your initial acupuncture appointment with Dr. Matthew Pace, ND