As a medical doctor who provides acupuncture and who routinely has patients comment on how they are feeling better because of their acupuncture treatments, I’ll be the first person to brush those myths away and explain that for an amazingly wide range of issues — from allergies, sinus issues, any type of pain and stress to hot flashes, anxiety, headaches and gastrointestinal symptoms — acupuncture works, plain and simple.
While some spas, shops and stand-alone businesses may offer the treatment, those outlets do not offer the medical background and thorough understanding of complex issues that you will find when you make an acupuncture appointment at our clinic.
We start with an initial consultation where we focus on a person as a whole and review your medical history and symptoms. Many “acupuncture-only” businesses cannot offer this depth of expertise. We all know that figuring out what’s behind a problem before spending money or rushing off to just “try something” makes sense. That’s where we’d start, before any treatment begins.
Those unfamiliar with acupuncture might imagine some scene from a movie or TV show they saw of a person bristling like a porcupine, covered in hundreds of needles. That’s Hollywood, concocting myths. Your body has many acupuncture points — about 200 of them are most commonly used — and no matter if you suffer from sleep issues or back pain — professionals know that we need not access all of your points at once. That would be silly.
Instead, your acupuncture treatment at our clinic might include just a half-a-dozen to 20 needles, shallowly inserted into specific points on your body. Your treatment might call for more points. Each patient is different. It takes about 10 to 20 minutes to set them, and they are left in place for 20 to 30 minutes. Most of my patients say the experience is relaxing — many of them grab a quick snooze in the dimly lit room where quiet music plays.
Needling your body’s acupuncture points activates nerves and affects how your body produces its own hormones and chemicals.
About the most-common response I get after I have placed the needles is “Is that it?” or “That wasn’t bad at all” because even people who fear needles or who come feeling skeptical cannot believe how relaxing and rewarding their acupuncture sessions can be. Another common response I get from previously skeptical patients is “You’re making me a believer in this.”
They say these things because they feel better. Even those patients who were reluctant, or who had believed some myth often find relief. While no treatment is fool-proof, medical professionals like me are finding more and more applications for acupuncture. More doctors who don’t know how to use it are recognizing its effectiveness. Most importantly, more patients are seeing it as an effective tool when other approaches haven’t worked.
Acupuncture does not cure everything. It can be a great tool to significantly lessen symptoms or help you reduce medication. Recently, I met a man with back pain and after his first treatment, he told me he no longer needed a cane to get out of bed in the morning. How rewarding! Nothing else he had tried had given him those results. If he can get more control over that pain, he might avoid major back surgery. The treatment helped him find options. Meanwhile, his pain is lessening.
That’s part of the reason I love what I do.
Acute conditions may improve after one session, or after just a few sessions. I encourage individuals who have chronic conditions to realize one or two acupuncture treatments may not be enough. But I’ve worked with many chronic-pain patients who reduced their pain over time, and who reduced the amount of pain medications they needed.
The beneficial options acupuncture provides tremendously outweigh the trite misconceptions people may have. Getting that treatment from a medical professional who can collaborate with other doctors and specialists, who can address complex medical situations, who know when you need to be referred to another provider, and who, like me, is dedicated to making you feel better, is the best route to take toward acupuncture’s benefits.
I look forward to answering any questions you might have about this proven medical technique that’s been helping people for thousands of years.