Kristen Boze, Licensed Acupuncturist
“The best way to go into an unknown territory is to go in ignorant, ignorant as possible, with your mind wide open, as wide open as possible and not having to meet anyone else’s requirement but your own.” – Dorothee Lange
What Does Acupuncture Feel Like?
Many first-time patients are concerned that acupuncture needles will feel like the needles used in tattooing or drawing blood at the doctor’s office. They won’t, they can’t; they are SO much smaller. Acupuncture uses hair-thin, flexible needles that you may not even feel when inserted. Following insertion, patients often describe a heavy, achy pressure, or spreading, traveling feeling, but there is no “normal”, everyone responds differently. You may also feel an “electrical” sensation moving down the meridian pathways or an increase in pressure or pulsating at certain points; all of these sensations are the feeling of energy moving. You will tend to experience more noticeable sensations around the areas that have more stagnation and therefore require more movement of energy to flow through them, to unblock them. It can be an incredible feeling, that most patients find deeply relaxing, both mentally and physically.
Acupuncture treatment creates deep relaxation in both mind and body.
How Many Treatments Will I Need?
The benefits of acupuncture are cumulative, so more then one treatment is necessary. There are various factors/ energetic imbalances, that cause a condition, some are more easily treated than others. It is possible that an acute condition may be treated in as little as one session, whereas a chronic condition may take 5-12 treatments. As a rule of thumb, estimate four treatments for every year that you had the condition. There really is no cut and dry answer to this question because everyone responds differently to treatment, and YOU are the most important factor that will determine how effective your treatment will be over the long run. Simple things like drinking plenty of water, getting enough rest, and following aftercare advice, can make all the difference.
Acupuncture is Best as Preventative Medicine
Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine are at their best when used as preventative medicine. The needles are simply a tool to manipulate your body’s energy, to keep it flowing freely. Every headache, muscle cramp, fit of anger, twitching muscle, sleepless night, sore throat, etc …; they are all just symptoms of stagnated energy. The more stagnated your energy, the more severe the symptom. It’s actually very simple, but because we tend to ignore our health issues when they are minor, we allow them to become more problematic and more deeply embedded into our body’s tissues. For example, acute conditions are more easily treated because they are in the more superficial layers of your body, easier to “push out”. When you ignore something for long enough, or it isn’t treated effectively, it is able to settle deeper and deeper into your muscles, tissues and even into your memory. Your body can get so used to being in pain that your brain can get stuck in a negative feedback loop, creating pain if when none exists. The effects of acupuncture can be felt throughout your entire body, but the effects on your brain are what can create a more lasting result from your treatments. Acupuncture induces the release of endorphins, serotonin and other neurotransmitters in the brain, a/k/a your body’s natural pain relieving and feel good chemicals; they put your body in the ideal state to be receptive to treatment.
It really doesn’t matter what your current state of health may be, you will benefit from acupuncture.
Acupuncture aftercare: Most people find acupuncture relaxing and often feel very calm after a treatment. You may feel a little tired, sleepy or lightheaded; and should take this into account after your treatment, especially when driving.
It is also common after your treatment to have a dry mouth or feel dehydrated. You should refrain from vigorous exercise, give yourself (at least) a little time to rest, drink plenty of water and avoid drinking alcohol for several hours.