What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is only one type of modality used in what consists of the broad healing spectrum of Traditional Chinese Medicine. It focuses on the idea that the body, as a whole, should be balanced physically and energetically, in order to obtain and maintain optimum health. By using noninvasive techniques, which include inserting a small, sterile needle into the acupuncture points, we are able to draw attention to the body’s own healing mechanisms, therefore enabling the body to heal itself. Energy, most commonly translated as Qi, is circulated throughout the most superficial layers, down to the organs themselves.
Does Acupuncture Hurt?
Acupuncture is a noninvasive, effective, safe, and often painless procedure. Acupuncture needles range in size, but most of them are no thicker than one strand of hair. Very seldom does the insertion cause any long term pain or discomfort. If there is burning or a sense of shock, tell your acupuncturist right away so that the needle can be adjusted.
How Can Acupuncture Help Me?
The healing ability of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine is vast. Relief from insomnia, fertility issues, stress and anxiety, depression, digestive issues and pain (to name only a few), can all be obtained through acupuncture and herbal medicine. An acupuncture diagnosis focuses on the body as a whole, instead of only the symptoms causing discomfort or imbalance. By addressing the root (cause) and the branch (symptom), patients can expect positive changes that are profound and long-lasting.
What Can I Expect During My First Visit and Follow-up Treatments?
A typical visit consists of an extensive interview and consultation, diagnosis and treatment. The appointment can take anywhere from 60 to 90 minutes, depending on the issue at hand. The interview dives into all body systems, and includes looking at your tongue and feeling your pulse. All of this information put together leads to a customized treatment plan. As a general rule, the more chronic an issue is, the longer it takes to fully resolve. However, some sort of change is expected within the first couple of treatments (maybe even after the very first).
How Long Should I Expect To Receive Treatment For The Same Issue?
As previously mentioned, the more chronic or long-standing the condition, the longer it may take to fully resolve. However, after each initial consultation and treatment, patients are provided with a detailed plan that includes an expected timeline, frequency suggestions and patient education material. Each visit can be adjusted according to the patient’s chief or main complaint, so not every visit will be the same.
I’ve Had Dry Needling, Is That The Same Thing?
Dry Needling is what non-acupuncturists call acupuncture. Currently, the law in Colorado allows some practitioners, such as Medical Doctors, Physical Therapists, and Chiropractors to practice dry needling. They use acupuncture needles to release muscle tension over certain areas of the body.
The certification process consists of a 5-day course which includes only 1.5 days of practice, while the remaining time is lecture. While these practitioners argue that Dry Needling is not Acupuncture, this method of treatment uses the same tools as Licensed Acupuncturists but WITHOUT proper training. Several cases have been reported throughout the United States where dry needling caused severe damage to patients, due to malpractice. These cases include pneumothorax (punctured lung), nerve damage, and spinal cord injuries.
Acupuncturists are required to have over 1,000 hours of actual practice before we are licensed. Additionally, we are taught the proper needling technique and depth of each point.
How Much Training Goes Into Becoming An Acupuncturist?
The laws vary from state to state and even country to country. Licensure in Colorado and in the United States requires a Master’s Degree consisting of over 1000 practical and 3000 didactic hours. In addition, a passing score of four Nationally Certified Board exams is required before licensure.