Originating around 1000BC, Traditional Chinese Medicine explains acupuncture as a technique for balancing the flow of energetic life force, or Qi, believed to flow through pathways called meridians in your body. By inserting needles into specific points along these meridians, acupuncturists will re-balance your Qi. Acupuncture is commonly used for pain relief as well as for a wide range of conditions.
The individualization of the treatments is one of the strong points of Traditional Chinese Medicine, and is why people may experience broad changes within themselves after receiving acupuncture for a specific complaint. It also means that the treatments can be modified over time if they are not proving effective.The needles involved in an acupuncture treatment are sterile, thin, flexible and tapered at the tip, designed to slide smoothly into the skin for minimal discomfort. The sensation you will feel when being needled is generally minimal. In some styles, you will feel almost nothing, while in others the needle will be rotated slightly until you feel a heavy or distended sensation indicating the arrival of Qi. The number of needles used in a session varies with the condition(s) being treated. Some may require less than six needles; some may require more than thirty needles per treatment.
1. Schedule Your HEAT Acupuncture Appointment
Whether scheduling your appointment online, by phone, or in person there are a few things your acupuncturist will need to know to best prepare for your arrival:
• Length of Appointment
How long would you like your appointment to be?
• Health and Wellness Conditions
Some health conditions may delay or prohibit acupuncture therapy. Please share any conditions, and state of overall health and wellness to your therapist at the time of making an appointment.
2. The Day of Your Appointment
For your comfort and healing, please drink plenty of water on the day of your appointment. The human body is about 75% water, much of which is utilized to hydrate muscles, for greater ease of movement, structure and function. Generally, your first visit is longer than your followup visits or at the very least it entails quite a bit of questioning. The initial form you'll fill out upon arrival is a very important part of the care your acupuncturist can provide to you. While many of the questions may not seem connected to your condition, there are very good reasons behind the questions. The answers you provide, along with other basic diagnostic tools such as looking at your toungue and feeling your pulse allow the acupuncturist to tailor the treatment.
3. What to Expect During Your Acupuncture Treatment
After your health and wellness discussion, your acupuncturist will show you to the table and describe how to dress down, whether or not they will have a gown for you or if you are to remain beneath a sheet. They will leave the room for you to do this in private.
With the health and wellness assessment made, the treatment begins. After the insertion of the needles, the needles may be stimulated using different forms or methods. Heat can also be used to stimulate the needles in a form called moxibustion; an herb gently burned near the insertion point. Manual manipulation of the inserted needles potentates the acupuncture point.
After the needles are inserted you are usually left to rest for a period of 10 – 45 minutes. Within some styles the needles are inserted quickly and removed immediately and in others they are left in for a longer period of time. Most people feel fairly relaxed during this period and many simply fall asleep.
In many cases your treatment may consist of points on the front and back of your body so the practitioner may insert needles on the front, let you rest for awhile and then remove them, have you turn over and continue the treatment on your back.
4. After Your Acupuncture Treatment
Each session may last between thirty minutes to an hour. Two to six sessions may be needed depending on the condition requiring treatment. A definitive prognosis is always difficult to formulate, especially following an initial consultation. After the first 2-3 treatments, however, your acupuncturist should have a good understanding of your condition and be able to offer you a reasonable idea of how many treatments you will need. Sometimes, the patient may have to return for maintenance sessions down the road to ensure long-term benefit.
As part of your overall treatment plan, HEAT practitioners may also prescribe lifestyle and dietary changes to help you re-balance your body and mind.