When I treat patients that are new to acupuncture, I always take time to explain what to expect and how the treatment works. It is then that I realize just how obscure this ancient medicine still seems to many. The questions I get (and I always encourage my patients to ask, ask, ask…) concern the practical portion of a treatment as well as the efficacy and history of Acupuncture. So I thought it might be time to address some of these questions in a bigger forum.
- Do you sterilize the needles after you use them?
I made this my number one question because it frequently comes up during the
intake. To be perfectly clear, we DO NOT REUSE needles! Needles are sterile
and one-time-use only. While historically, needles were used more than once, this
NOT what happens at your acupuncturist’s practice these days. I fact, we are
trained in “Clean Needle Technique” protocols and not only use needles properly,
but also dispose of them in biohazard boxes.
- Do the needles hurt?
The needles don’t hurt – there may be a sensation once the needle is inserted,
but this sensation will subside within a few seconds. If you continue to feel a
pinching or burning sensation at the needle site, let me know so that I can make
adjustments to get you comfortable. A heavy feeling or a slight ache, however, is
sign that the body is responding as it should and in a productive way.
- “I told you my back hurts – why do you put needles in my feet?”
I often compare acupuncture to the game “chess”. The points are like the chess
figures – they have specific functions. However, there is a multitude of strategies
of how to use the points in order to get the desired results and “win the game”!
Sometimes I treat a condition with local points but at other times it seems more
effective to use points farther away. Ultimately it is a matter of training and
preference, and of course the patient’s response.
- Why do I feel sleepy when the needles are in?
I know, it is counter-intuitive to expect a person to fall asleep with needles all
over their body. Fact is that nine out of ten patients I treat, fall asleep during the
treatment. Acupuncture seems to cause our central nervous system (CNS) to move
into a resting state, activating the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS). Living
in a world where stress is the norm, activating the PNS not only induces deep
relaxation, but also activates the body’s innate healing mechanisms.
This is only a small sample of questions I receive from many patients and I will use my blog to answer them here and there. So, if there is something you have always wanted to know about acupuncture, cupping and herbal medicine, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be sure to get you the answer!