What Does Acupuncture Treat. What to Expect?

acupuncture treatmentWhen you come in for the first time, you may want to come a few minutes before your appointment time to fill out the inevitable paperwork. (Paperwork and pens are located on the table in reception, in case we are treating other patients when you come in). When you are finished, we’ll talk for a few minutes about what your priorities are for treatment (for example, lower back pain, migraines, and anxiety) and we’ll tell you what we think an appropriate treatment plan is (once a week, two times a week for 8 weeks, etc.). We may check your pulse and look at your tongue, perhaps ask a few more questions.

You can pick out an empty recliner, take off shoes and socks, put your things in a bin next to your chair. Roll up your sleeves and pant legs, recline or not as you like, and we’ll begin your treatment right away. We will explain a little bit for the first treatment, but during later treatments we probably won’t talk very much, just to update your condition since the last treatment. When all the needles are in place, we’ll go on to the next patient and you get to rest and nap.

We try to keep the treatment room quiet enough so that people can nap if they like, however sometimes there are people who snore. So if you are easily disturbed you may wish to bring ear plugs. You may also bring a favorite pillow or blanket if you like yours better than ours. Since we do use ear points for acupuncture, full-size headphones usually don’t work well, but iPod earbuds are usually okay if you prefer your own music.

At the end of your treatment, when you are comfortable that the needles have done their work (or when you need to leave for another appointment), you should just signal your practitioner with a “meaningful look” or a “hey, lady!” to let us know you are ready to be unpinned.

What Does Acupuncture Treat?

In the U.S. acupuncture is widely known for its relief of pain; however, it also treats many other conditions. Twenty-eight conditions have been documented by the World Health Organization (WHO) as affectively treated with acupuncture.

Here is a PARTIAL list of the conditions that acupuncture effectively treats, as recognized by the World Health Organization and the National Institute of Health.

Arthritis Treatment

There are two primary types – osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). One is really hot, the other is not. Acupuncture treats you, who has one or both of these conditions.

Osteoarthritis has a major impact on patients’ mobility and quality of life but the drugs used to treat it are associated with a number of side effects. Acupuncture is drug-free to relieve the chronic pain associated with OA. Our immune system has a part in arthritis, as does the bones themselves. We look at the Lungs and Kidneys. These organs are paired, and when one or both go out of balance, OA can result.

Rheumatoid Arthritis is also an Imbalanced immune system, and western medicine uses steroids to suppress an over active system. Acupuncture can balance the immune system to get it back to it’s job of protecting us. We look to the Heart, and to an “organ” called the triple heater. When RA flares up, cooling the heat is a must. We work to bring your Qi, life force back to balance so our bones grow stronger, moisture and gentle warmth returns and we can move with ease and comfort again.

Sciatica Treatment

acupuncture treatsSciatica can be a real pain in the butt, down the legs, and if its bad, down into the feet. You are not alone, it’s actually quite common, but you don’t have to live with it. It is important to see an orthopedist for a diagnosis to make sure there’s no serious underlying cause.

In Chinese Medicine, the body, mind and spirit are connected. We diagnose and treat patients with sciatica to come back into balance, and relieve your pain and numbness.

The stabbing, shooting pain associated with sciatica is a sign of blood stagnation. Don’t run to your cardiologist, please, this is a term used to describe your symptoms in Chinese terms. Qi (pronounced: chee) is our vital life force.

Blood stagnates when Qi gets stuck. Blood and Qi are linked. Qi is the guiding force behind the movement of blood and when the qi is weak, we develop pain. Sometimes dampness is involved. Our bodies are moist, but sometimes through our diet, our heredity, we store too much moisture and this causes the blood & Qi to slow down.

Some common symptoms that accompany sciatica can be:

  • Weakness in the lower back
  • Anxiety
  • Weak or tender knees
  • Fatigue
  • Ringing in the ears
  • A feeling of heaviness
  • Digestive issues
  • Frustration
  • Heavy and/or painful menses
  • Anger and frustration

Pay attention to these symptoms. Acupuncture reprograms the body to relax and let the blood and Qi move. It is important you do your part. Gently stretch and move. Tai Qi and Yoga are two gentle ways to stay flexible and balanced, and keep the sciatica away.

High Blood Pressure Treatment

We don’t feel High Blood Pressure, HBP, but if it’s not controlled, it can make our eyes and face red, and it can make our ears ring. It puts you at risk for coronary disease, which can lead to heart attack and stroke.

Also known as hypertension, HBP can occur at any age, even affecting children, but its most commonly seen in people over 35. Western medicine manages High Blood Pressure with drug therapy. Many are prescribed more than one drug. These medicines can lead to side effects as well.

Whether you are or aren’t on blood pressure medicine, diuretics, etc, acupuncture can help. Your acupuncturist may diagnose you with blood stagnation, or heat in the blood, or even damp obstruction. Please don’t worry, these are Chinese terms. We learn much from your pulse, and examining your tongue. If you are feeling scattered, or have difficult sleep, heat may be involved. Did you know that watermelon is cooling? So are cucumbers.

Your Qi, vital life force, may be rising, or it may be dampness, which from a Chinese perspective is blocking the smooth flow of Qi and blood. Are you feeling heavy and tired? Avoid fast food. Increase you intake of vegetables, and avoid fried foods. Even eating rice and quinoa can help.

Dizziness, vertigo, and loss of appetite, heaviness and obesity are also symptoms of dampness.
See your acupuncturist for treatment that will allow your blood to flow smoothly, and reduce blood pressure to healthy levels.

Asthma Treatment

Asthma can be really scary. It makes it so hard to breathe. Western medicine views asthma as an autoimmune disease, and prescribes a rescue inhaler and steroids, which suppress an over active immune system. These medicines stop the asthma attacks, but they don’t treat the underlying condition, so patients need to take the meds long term.

Acupuncture can help! From a Chinese medical standpoint, dampness is always involved. Always the Lungs, and Kidneys are involved. What do the kidneys have to do with asthma? This is a Chinese diagnosis. Are you having more difficulty breathing in, or out? Do you wheeze both ways? Feeling your pulse and looking at your tongue help us to diagnose your underlying condition.

Is your work and or home stressful? We can smooth your Qi, your vital life force, so you can better cope, and avoid stress eating.
Are you having digestive issues? Are you having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep? We can help you find balance.

When we treat you, we open your airways and balance your immune system so it gets back to its job of protecting you. Do you need acupuncture forever? No! As mentioned above, we treat the root cause as well as your symptoms. When your Qi is balanced, the breath returns. And when “Life lifes on you”. Come back in for a tune up, or when seasons change, or at the first hint you might be getting sick. Acupuncture can stop the progression to get you breathing easy again.
Meanwhile, you can help yourself by avoiding butter and fried foods, eating raw garlic regularly, and add beans (especially red and black beans) to your diet.

Herpes Treatment

Herpes symplex 1, herpes symplex 2, and herpes zoster, better known as shingles, are all viruses that are often triggered by a weakened immune system. In acupuncture an infection, viral or bacterial, is diagnosed as a toxin. People with herpes often describe a burning pain which is aggravated by sunlight, stress, fever or spicy food which is considered signs of heat/fire. Other symptoms of herpes are fluid filled blisters which in Chinese medicine is considered damp heat. The treatment of herpes is to clear heat, reduce dampness and to strengthen the immune system.

Diabetes Treatment

Diabetes is known as “wasting/thirsting disorder” in ancient Chinese texts. Today Type 2 Diabetes affects a large population of the U. S., but it can be controlled through diet modifications, exercise, and is effectively treated with acupuncture. It is associated with Yin deficiency and divided into three areas of the body: upper, middle, and lower Xiao-ke. Each has characteristic symptoms. The upper type is characterized by excessive thirst, the middle by excessive hunger, and the lower by excessive urination. These types are closely associated with the lungs, stomach, and kidneys, respectively, and all three are associated with Yin deficiency. At some point during the course of their illness, most people with diabetes manifest symptoms of all three types. When you complete your intake forms, we will assess your specific needs and treat accordingly.

Eczema Treatment

Eczema’s main pathogenic factors in Chinese Medicine are wind, damp and heat.

  • Wind: skin disorders are characterized by sudden onset and development, change from one place to the other, and generalized itching.
  • Dampness: manifests as puffiness of skin, vesicles or papules and oozing of fluid.
  • Heat: tends to manifest as a burning sensation, redness and swelling.

As with all treatment approaches with Chinese Medicine, we always look at the full picture of each client to see exactly how the disharmony in their body is manifesting in order to understand how illness has developed. In Chinese Medicine theory, it is the Metal element and the Lungs that govern the skin, therefore when something goes wrong with the skin as it does with eczema, we first look at the health of the metal and lung energy. Signs that the functioning of the lung (lung qi) is weakened are: frequent colds and flu, fatigue, shortness of breath, frequent sighing, dry skin, chronic cough, pale face, allergies. Acupuncture aims to strengthen the Metal and Lung energy as part of a treatment protocol for addressing the underlying cause of eczema.

Depression Treatment

From a Chinese medicine perspective depression is largely related to the stagnation of Liver Qi. Essentially, this indicates that the Qi within the body is not flowing smoothly and results in the symptoms of depression. Stagnation of qi results from lack of exercise,
poor dietary habits , fried/greasy foods and alcohol, and repressed emotions, anger/grief. The Spleen and Heart meridians may also be a factor in depression. Weakness of the Spleen, may lead to problems with fatigue and digestion which causes an increase in phlegm and leads to a feeling of heaviness that make everyday life a struggle. The weakened Spleen may also begin to affect the quality of blood in the body which can strongly influence the heart system causing symptoms such as insomnia . Acupuncture strengthens the energy associated with the weakened symptoms, thus causing a movement of Qi that leads to harmony in the body.

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