Q: How does acupuncture work?
Every acupuncturist uses different methods and every acupuncturist is unique. Most acupuncturists apply Acupuncture Channel theories as well as ancient Chinese Medicine wisdoms in treating ailments. According to acupuncture channel theories, certain part of body is capable of healing another part of the body. Through stimulating points on the hands, arm, feet, ears, head and etc, our body's healing mechanism will be turned on and enhanced. There are also acupuncturists who apply modern knowledge and methods. For instances, scalp acupuncture, Motor Point acupuncture, Trigger Point acupuncture and etc. Regardless which acupuncture method is applied, during and after treatments, endorphin will be released, anti-inflammatory factors will be secreted, lymphatic systems will be stimulated, blood vessels will be dilated, digestive systems will be boosted which will enhance immune system and etc. And these are what ancient Chinese called Qi(氣). Due to lack of scientific tools and machines, ancient Chinese used the phrase Qi to describe these mechanisms. Depending on the symptoms, acupuncturists will stimulate different body healing mechanisms(Qi) to help you heal.
Q: Does Acupuncture hurt?
Acupuncture is not a spa treatment, and acupuncture might cause slight bearable pinched pains that is mostly unnoticeable to most people. Having said that, most of my patients find acupuncture quite relaxing. Sometimes it might cause some discomfort with micro-current stimulation, but the discomfort will be tolerable. The acupuncture needles used are finer and smaller than hair. One can put over a dozen of these needles inside a syringe injection needles that medical doctors and nurses use.
Q:What do you mean when you said stimulation?
In my clinic, in order to enhance treatment results, I would apply micro-current stimulations to needles. The sensation that it renders is tingling and pulsating. There won't be other uncomfortable sensations. I also apply Motor Point/Trigger Point acupuncture to my clients. Motor point is where nerve innervates muscles. When muscles are shortened or tightened up due to overuse, trauma or other reasons, muscles will be irritating nerves and blocking fluid circulation inside, which is the clinically key reason for pains and discomfort. In order to release the pain and discomfort, we need to elongate the muscles to relax them. By stimulating muscles through motor points with a micro-current machine, your muscles will be expanding and relaxing continuously and involuntarily for a few minutes. Through that mechanism, your muscles will be reset. With trigger points, one needs to release the tension either with manual or micro-current stimulation. In order to get the best clinical result and render the least pain during treatment, micro-current stimulation will be used whenever possible.
Q:Will my muscles be reset after one treatment?
While acupuncture is very effective in treating most modern ailments, we should not forget that acupuncture is not magic. Our human body is very complexed. Our muscles have their memories. One acupuncture treatment will help to boost and enhance our body's healing mechanism for at least 4 hours. The more and frequent one receives acupuncture treatment, the better and faster our body will respond to the treatment. Age, work conditions, stress levels, body conditions and most importantly life styles are all related to our body's healing process. Consistent treatments are key for the body to heal.
Q:How many sessions should I have before I see any improvement?
We all hope to get rid off your pains and discomfort as soon as possible and as much as possible. Most pains responds to acupuncture treatment fairly well. And most pains will be improved after 3 treatments. For chronic pains and discomfort, one's expectations should be reasonable. For these pains and discomfort, one needs to commit 5 to 10 treatments at least. For some life long issues, acupuncture can be used to help reduce the discomfort level, and thus regular maintenance is required.
For cosmetic acupuncture treatment, one needs at least 3 to 5 treatments before one sees any lasting difference. A course of treatments consists of 10 treatment. After 10 treatments one can reduce the treatment frequency to 1 to 3 times a month.
For snoring, sleep apnea and sinus issues, one will see some difference right after the first treatment. However, in order to make the treatment to be effective and long lasting, one needs to commit 5 to 10 treatments at least. After a course of treatment, one needs regular maintenance once every other weeks.
Having said all that, our body are very different from one another. Some people will be healed after a couple of treatments, while some other patients might need regular maintenance. Most patients see me regularly for 2 times a week for 3 to 5 weeks, then when their symptoms stabilize, they come to see me once a week for another 3 weeks. And when they don't have any discomfort, they come to see me for once every other week or once a month for maintenance.
Q:What would I be expecting and what should I be doing after the treatments?
Again, it varies. One might feel sore here and there because of the needle stimulation. The soreness usually goes away within 48 hours. However, some people might not even feel soreness whatsoever. One might feel some euphoric sensations after treatments. Some might feel tired for a few hours. Some might feel more energetic after treatment. One should be drinking 2 times as much water as possible to stay hydrated. One should stay away from any stimulating beverages and food. No alcohol or cigarettes consumptions afterwards. One should take the rest of the day easily if possible. If one feels extreme pain, if one faints for no reason, or if one get shortness of breath for no reason, one should go to an emergency room immediately.
Bruising is unavoidable with acupuncture treatments. Some bruises will go away within 1 week, while others tend to stay for 2 to 3 weeks before they disappear. One can apply arnica or heated and warm object on the bruising area. Boil an egg, and then apply the warm egg on the bruised skin or muscles. Don't put hot object in case of burning or scalding yourself.