What Is Acupuncture And How Does It Work?
Acupuncturists see the body as a complete, holistic system, operating under the knowledge that optimal health combines a person’s physical, emotional or spiritual well-being. If one of these areas is out of balance it can negatively affect the body, creating symptoms of ailment and disease. Acupuncture realigns energetic systems to address the root causes of disease and ailment by reestablishing a healthy balance.
What is an energetic system, you ask? Western Medicine practitioners commonly view the body’s energy in terms of circulation and nervous system activity. Acupuncturists view energy as Qi (chee), which encompasses far more than just the body’s physical processes. Qi relates to emotional processing, decision making, motivation, mental energy, blood flow and circulation, immunity, and feelings of well-being. Qi is meant to flow freely through twelve acupuncture channels (or meridians) in the body, and pain or discomfort usually stems from a lack of Qi flow, or stagnation. Acupuncturists use tiny needles to stimulate Qi flow at designated points along the twelve channels.
Japanese acupuncture is my favorite treatment style. Compared to traditional Chinese acupuncture, it is far more gentle, uses fewer needles, and tends to be more calming and relaxing.
Acupuncture in general is grounded in the belief that our natural state of being is one of total health. Any pain, discomfort, or disruptive symptom is considered a warning sign from the body that something is wrong and needs to be corrected. Japanese Acupuncture in particular views these abnormalities as a result of acupuncture channels being out of balance and uses hands-on diagnostic methods to identify the specific acupuncture channels that are out of balance and the best methods to correct them. Essentially we are using multiple tests to ask the body to tell us the cause of a symptom or condition and what it needs to feel better.
The most common test is abdomen palpation or gentle pressing on the abdomen to identify areas of tenderness, tension and/or discomfort. These tender spots correspond with certain energy imbalances and your practitioner will use this information to give you the exact treatment your body needs. Imbalances can also be identified through the pulse and sensitive points along the acupuncture channels. After a treatment you’ll find that the comfort level of these sensitive spots has greatly improved, confirming the effectiveness of your treatment.
Preparing For Your First Treatment
Your first appointment at Waterfront Acupuncture + Wellness will be your longest (up to 90 minutes), as we will extensively discuss your medical history and lifestyle to prepare a treatment plan that’s right for you. Expect about 20-30 minutes of conversation followed by your first treatment. All follow-up treatments will take no longer than one hour. We will briefly discuss your progress since your last visit before your treatment begins.
Wear comfortable, non-restrictive clothing. For most treatments we will need access up to your knees and elbows. Feel free to bring a change of clothes with you.
Please eat a light meal or snack and be sure you’re hydrated before treatments. Excessive hunger or thirst may lead to dizziness or fatigue, and may decrease the effectiveness of treatment.
It is helpful to familiarize yourself with any medications or supplements you are taking before your treatment. A written list of names and dosage information is very helpful.
Acupuncture needles work to stimulate qi at acupuncture points therefore activating the point's functions. Needle free treatments employ methods other than needles to achieve the same outcome. This can be done with magnets, metal tools called teishins, manual pressure on the points (acupressure), and moxa (or heat application).