How Does Acupuncture Work?
Acupuncture is just one of many healing modalities a TCM practitioner will use to restore balance and harmony to the body. All Chinese medicine practice is based on the flow of Qi energy within the body. Optimally this energy travels in currents along specific meridians within the body, aided by proper nutrition to bring health and harmony.
Based on TCM training, an acupuncturist believes each meridian affects particular organs and functions within the body and has its own pulse. The meridians also correspond to particular elements: wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. Blockages to this Qi current within the body create disharmony which is characterized by physical symptoms. These blockages can be due to the consequences of injury, illness, stress, diet, and lifestyle. In TCM practice, a diagnosis or course of treatment may refer to particular meridians, one of the 5 elements, or one of the body’s related organs. The terminology may be different from western medicine, however the extensive knowledge of these concepts has been passed down through centuries in a comprehensive way that supports both understanding and practice within the context of the Chinese culture. Many patients are surprised to learn how many of their symptoms relate to the functions of a particular meridian or element.
An acupuncturist is affecting the flow of Qi energy at various points along a particular meridian. Each acupuncture needle comes in its own sterile packaging and is used only once. The needles are very small and fine (in fact most patients report minimal sensations as they are inserted at the particular acupuncture points). While the patient is relaxing, the needles may be left in for 10-20 minutes, and very gently tapped periodically to further stimulate the site. Acupressure is similar, but uses pressure of the fingers instead of needles to get the desired results.
What to Expect on Your First Visit
The first time visit is typically one hour in length and includes a consultation to develop an individualized plan and treatment. Allow plenty of time for your appointment and parking so that you’re not distracted or feeling unnecessary stress. The TCM practitioner will begin by asking you questions about your health, your symptoms, your emotions, and your lifestyle to make sure we understand exactly what your concerns are, the primary issues that are keeping you from being healthy, your expectations in your recovery, and your health goals in general. As all of these aspects provide insights into your unique state of balance, it is an important step. A brief examination will follow allowing the practitioner to take your pulses, and examine your tongue. After all of the information has been obtained, Mrs. Wong will analyze your findings and present you with her best understanding of your specific ailment, the best method for restoring your health, alternative options, the cost and time commitment, and the expected outcome of treatment. Besides acupuncture, the plan may include nutritional counselling, herbal consultations, cupping and Moxibustion. Herbs and supplements are also available at an additional cost.<