A few months ago I decided to give acupuncture a chance. It was recommended to me that I try it by a friend who had had success with it restoring her energy, helping with digestion, and making her feel more lively in general. After several months of consistently going once a week, I have to say I noticed enough of a positive difference to start recommending it to my clients and to share it will all of you. So, let me break it down a little so I can give you an idea of what acupuncture is and what it does to the body, explain some benefits, and what to look for in a good practitioner.
A form of traditional Chinese medicine, this holistic practice has been around for 2,500 years. The practice is based on the theory that Chi, energy, flows through the body along pathways known as meridians. Acupuncture’s main focus is to correct energy imbalance or blockages that might occur in the body. When these energy centers are blocked or out of balance it can cause disruptions in the body, leading to pain or disease. Acupuncture is done by placing thin needles into the skin on specific points, which is relatively pain-free. Heat, dull pain, pressure, or mild electrical current can be felt when a needle is placed and will dissipate almost instantly. The point is to restore energy flow back into the body.
During your first session with a new practitioner, the acupuncturist will do an intake form and ask you a series of questions about your health. He/she will ask you how you are feeling and if there is anything on which you would like to focus during your session. The practitioner will usually have you lie down on a therapy table and undress to your comfort level.
Once you are on the table, the acupuncturist will begin placing needles. This process, depending on how sensitive you are and what is going on in the body, can be pain-free. There may be areas where you are more sensitive than others, such as places like ears, ankles, and sites where there has been injury. Usually the pain will subside after a few seconds; but, if it doesn’t, you should let your acupuncturist know right away. The whole point is to feel comfortable and relaxed during your session.
Depending on the length of your session, after a certain amount of time the current needles will be taken out and you will turn over or remain in the position you are in and new set of needles will be placed. Then some more time will pass and the session will end. Make sure to hydrate when you’re done and not to expose your body to hot or cold water at least 4 hours after your session. The points where the needles were placed need to have to opportunity to close.
The main focus is to restore energy flow in the body. Blocked energy points can lead to all sorts of problems in the body, such as disease and pain. There are many benefits to acupuncture:
It is important to pay attention to what kind of facility you are seeking. If you are someone who likes a more clinical environment vs a spa, then you should keep that in mind when looking for a practitioner. Some places also have each acupuncturist working on more than one patient at once, so, again, that is something to consider when looking for a place. You will usually pay more to have the practitioner all to yourself, but if you the kind of person that needs more focus to feel comfortable, it is 100% worth it.
Your acupuncturist is the most important part to your success and safety during an acupuncture session. He/she must be very knowledgeable, encouraging, and have the right education. There is a big difference in the amount of training between a certified acupuncturist, licensed acupuncturist, and a practitioner whois allowed to use acupuncture needles. I am talking about thousands of hours of training difference. A licensed acupuncturist usually has to go through about 2,700 hours of training in acupuncture and oriental medicine training. A certified acupuncturist has to go through about 300 hours of training. It all depends on your state and what they allow for practice, but it is always a good idea to know the level of training your acupuncturist holds.
Your acupuncturist should blend with your personality if he/she doesn’t appear to understand you as a whole person, then the treatments might be off. You also need to feel comfortable, because acupuncture can take several sessions to start yielding the results you want, so you could be seeing a lot of each other. You will feel a difference after the first session, but for bigger changes, like elevating back pain or helping with headaches, then you will need to come back for repeat sessions. So, you want to like your acupuncturist; it will make the whole experience more amazing.
Most acupuncturists work in doctors’ offices or have a private practice. Generally, a good way to find a skilled acupuncturist is to get a referral. Luckily, these days we have review websites that can help us find the best one in the area; but, it is always nice to get direct feedback from someone you trust.
Acupuncture is an amazing holistic practice that can really help with imbalances and health problems in the body. I always recommend trying a holistic practice first when someone is feeling pain or discomfort. Acupuncture can also be a good way prevent disease in the body; so if you are on the border of needed medication for something, give acupuncture a try and see if you can rebalance your body.