What to Expect from Acupuncture

Posted on May 30, 2012

What to Expect from Acupuncture

What To Expect From Acupuncture

Knowing what to expect from acupuncture has a lot to do with understanding the basic practices of your local acupuncturist.  If you haven’t read the article called “Traditional Chinese Medicine and How it Works“, you might want to read that first to get some good background information.

The acupuncturist is an expert who performs acupuncture. They may apply the use of needles or some other materials in their quest to help their patients find balance and create tranquility in the body.

What To Expect From Acupuncture – Why All The Questions

An acupuncturist will ask a number of questions at the beginning of your visit just as your family doctor does.  This helps him or her get an idea of what might be behind the reasons for your appointment.  They often commonly  check your pulse and observe the shape, color and coating of your tongue. Checking the tongue will help them determine the condition of your organ and meridian systems.  By doing this they can tell whether you have excesses or deficiencies in your system.

At this point your practitioner will start the acupuncture treatment.  Acupuncture needles are different than needles used in western medicine because their purpose is different as well.  The needles may be inserted and twirled as they are pushed into the skin.  You may notice a prick or a twinge but the discomfort they may cause is most often negligible and rapidly disappears.  They will be left in the site for 15 or 20 minutes.  During that time it’s a good idea to focus on resting and being still.  You may use that time to enjoy a quick nap.

In some situations, acupuncture is even more successful when the needles are very first heated. This method is referred to as ‘moxibustion.” Here, the acupuncturist lights a dehydrated herb called moxa or mugwort and holds it near the needles. The herb, which burns slowly and gives off a little smoke as well as a favorable, incense-like aroma, is not applied directly to your body.

One more variation is electrical acupuncture. Here, electrical wires are hooked up to the needles and a weak current runs through it which may cause no or little sensation at all.

You should also expect to have some natural herbs remedies and possibly organic medications prescribed by your acupuncture doctor.  These remedies will enhance your healing process.

When seeking an acupuncturist, make sure the person is licensed in acupuncture.  This requires four years of training at an approved college of oriental medicine. A copy of their license should be displayed in their office for you to read.

Expectations of Acupuncture – Qualifications of a Good Practioner

Aside from their qualifications, when deciding on an acupuncturist you may want to ask them which approaches they normally use in their practice. While there is no research validating one type of practice over another the final decision is always yours.

One more question you might ask is about the expected duration of the therapy. Patients who are experiencing a persistent disease will need to be treated over a duration of months to achieve great improvements.  It’s a good idea to discuss a treatment plan at that time.

The acupuncturist, much like a medical doctor, is there to help you get better. As a patient it is important to stay involved in your care by asking questions, making life style changes and taking responsibility for your health and wellness. Being an active participant in your treatment plan will improve your results.

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