Have you wondered what exactly is this weird thing called acupuncture? Well I've been having on-going treatments for various issues and wanted to share with you my knowledge on the topic. Acupuncture is a component of traditional Chinese medicine that goes back over two thousand years. It involves the insertion of short needles in your skin at strategic points on your body to unblock the energy flow (Qi). Acupuncturists believe that an illness occurs when someone blocks or unbalances your chi. At my first visit my acupuncturist had me fill out a long form asking about all of the problems with my overall health and even asked what my favorite color is. She checked my pulse in several places on my wrist to check in with my Channels. What happens at the pulse informs her decision on what points to use to treat me that day. She also looked at my tongue as it also informs her as to what is happening inside my body.
Acupuncture can treat a variety of problems: back pain, TMJ, stress, insomnia, headaches, nausea during pregnancy, indigestion, arthritis, food allergies, can help cancer patients take chemo better, and I've personally heard of friends of friends having success with infertility through acupuncture. To practice as an acupuncturist they are required to get a Master's degree, training in clean needle technique, and pass the National Acupuncture Board Exams to be licensed. They are required by law to use pre-sterilized, disposable, single-use needles to ensure your safety. I've personally watched my acupuncturist open new needle packets for me. She also does a metal sweep of her floor at the end of the day in case any needles have fallen.
Acupuncture is a process, so it might take a few visits to feel a difference. My appointments last one hour and I find my sessions very relaxing, I often fall asleep. No it doesn't hurt! It's like little baby pricks and the stimulation increases my blood flow to trigger my body's own natural pain killers. My acupuncturist uses Chinese herbs in conjunction with acupuncture for added therapeutic effect. Once I had severe shoulder pain from strength training and she used cupping on me. It's a glass cup that is usually heated and then applied to your skin. It creates a vacuum and pulls the oxygen upwards inside of the glass. Since she can not use lighters in her office due to building rules, she used dry cupping which did not result in the usual round bruises you see on people but did elevate my pain. Occasionally you'll see celebs on the red carpet with their cupping cruises like Jennifer Aniston, Gwyneth Paltrow and Victoria Beckham.
I'm very lucky that my insurance pays for this but my city has a number of community acupuncture centers where you pay what you can and get treated in a common room with other people. If you have any kind of pain, physical or emotional, and are open and flexible to trying new things, acupuncture is an incredible treatment option you should try! I'm a believer in Chinese medicine because it works.