2 Reasons to try Acupuncture: Reduce stress and your body's response to it, Reduce Anxiety
Frequently asked questions and common concerns led to a small blurb about the reality of acupuncture.
The most common questions around the needles that I get:
- Do you reuse the needles?
- No, they are sterile packed and after treatment disposed of in a sharps container.
- Does it hurt?
- For the most part no. There are some points that are more sensitive than others, but generally we can get the needles in without you feeling almost anything. The most frequent reaction to a first time needle insertion is, "That's it? I didn't even feel it". Sometimes we get: "You put a needle in?"
- There are some point locations that are tender. Those can feel like small pressure or light pulsation. If anything is uncomfortable you let the practitioner know so that we can make adjustments. We don't want you to be uncomfortable during a treatment.
- Why do some of the needles look different?
- There are different colors indicating length and diameter of a needle. There are also different types of needle handles and packaging that each practitioner gets used to. We like to find needles we are comfortable with, and more importantly that you are comfortable with.
- What's in the needles?
- Nothing. Acupuncture needles are solid, not hollow, and constructed hair thin.
The most common questions around treatment I get:
- What should I expect?
- Expectations need to be addressed and adjusted accordingly for each individual. (If you haven't slept for 10 years, your insomnia may not go away on the first treatment.) The first treatment is new for you, so you may not be able to sink in like the guy/gal that comes out looking like they just woke up. Give yourself an appropriate amount of time to get the feel of and relax into acupuncture.
- Treatments are subtle. Most people get very relaxed, some of them snore (which is considered a complement). A variety of discomforts may naturally ease. I have patients that say it's important to look for what is no longer there. Are you sleeping better? Is your energy better? How's your mood? Has your pain subsided or lessened, knowing that it may not be 100%.
- Expect to feel relaxed after. You can do what you normally choose to in moderation.
- How often do I need to come in?
- Expect to make a commitment of at least 5-6 visits. While one hit wonders are amazing, and we love them too, the reality is that it may take at least a few visits to balance out. (It's like going to the gym, you do not go just once and say you are in shape again.)
- Expect to come in seasonally or when stress kicks up in your life to maintain results. Seasonal maintenance and "tune ups" are important.
I hope this helps with the basics. I'm happy to answer more as they arise, but these seem to be the most common. Everyone has a different reason for trying acupuncture. Some have tried everything else and it is a last resort. Some are just looking for a unique experience. Whether it is just relaxation, or assistance with a health issue, you should be comfortable in your clinic.
Does Acupuncture help with weight loss?
Acupuncture and real food are an excellent combination for weight loss. Acupuncture can help mitigate cravings by looking at the systemic root cause you are having them. Your energy level can be improved greatly, your sleep, your ability to cope with stress, digestive system upsets can be ironed out, and your overall health picture improved. These improvements in overall health can help give you the start you need for better food choices and physical activity. Will it magically melt pounds away? No.
Food, nutritious real food, can mean permanent weight loss. Each body is unique and you may have to find what works for you in order for the weight loss to be permanent. Establishing those habits are not easy, but they are worth it. I usually have patients keep a food log, overweight or not, because it shows areas for improvement. I have over the years referred people off to Marksdailyapple.com, and Whole30.com. I like this particular approach because it begins to change your mindset around sugar consumption and fat. In order to keep track of meals you can use Myfitnesspal.com or the app, take pictures of your meals, or just use plain paper.
Many people experience great improvement with minimal changes in a real food direction. It takes a small amount of work and planning. If you cannot get it together Catered Fit and Fitlife foods can help. There are meal plans laid out by Melissa Joulwan at https://meljoulwan.com/paleo-meal-plans/. Free grocery store shopping lists to download and help keep you on track while grocery shopping can be found at http://paleoonabudget.com/shopping-list/. There are so many resources online you could get lost sorting through it.
Acupuncture offers many benefits that help with weight loss: improved sleep, better energy, improvement with the way you and your body handle stress, and easing digestive discomfort. Digestive system relaxation and systemic relaxation often go hand in hand. Acupuncture helps shift the body to a relaxed state and organ systems function smoothly. The whole picture health plan is not just to lose weight, it's to feel great.
Acupuncture approach to weight loss is slower than crash diets. We are seeking to shift lifestyle choices in a direction to maintain better health choices, weight loss is the byproduct of choosing differently daily.
By the time many are willing to try acupuncture, this is how they come in the door:
"I have tried everything."
"My blood work is fine...but I still feel this way."
"I have no choice except to add a little more balance to my life now."
"I just hurt."
Acupuncture is as much about the physical body as it is the mind and spirit. Pain, physical and emotional, is what most commonly brings people in the door for treatment. Acupuncture can indeed help with pain management. The lens through which the practitioner sees you seeks to not only help you with your pain, but figure out what the relationship is to your pain or illness. Acupuncture does not seek to find "what is wrong with you". It looks for what is off balance, how to adjust that, and clear the way for your body to heal itself. We often ask questions like: When did your pain begin and what were the circumstances around it? How are you currently affected and what changes would you like to see? What effort are you willing to put in to make changes happen? When approached from that level physical ailments are sometimes relieved, stress reduced, and the mood around the situation improves.
Acupuncture will adjust where you are currently at, but what will you do to keep moving forward? Will you change your eating habits to help align your health? Will you adjust your sleep schedule so that you are able to recover? Acupuncture and any form of medicine, eastern or western, require that you make changes to progress and benefit fully from treatment. Your health for the most part is up to you. What will you do to make the best of it?
Acupuncture can also be used as a band aid, like any pill you could swallow. I choose not to use it that way. Participants that benefit the most make changes, even small ones, in their daily life to help the process along. It may be as simple as getting to bed earlier, making changes in food choices, stretching, breathing, or learning what it feels like to be comfortable in your skin.
I began my journey as an acupuncture physician interning with Midwife and Acupuncturist, Janice Heller. I felt so fortunate to have met her when I was pregnant with my first child, who would later propel me into natural health and acupuncture school. On one of my first days in clinic Janice sent me outside to moxa someone’s toes, using acupuncture point bladder 67, as her baby was breech.
The pathology of the heart is Excess Joy. Imagine that, excess joy, who doesn't need more of that?
Excess joy really looks like anxiety or other emotions reflected into the heart, mind, that have been stirring around for a longer time than needed. Emotions, in a state of health, are experienced and moved through without becoming locked in that state. In Chinese Medicine all emotions are reflected up through the heart, spirit, or shen. It's problematic when you are unable to get off the roller coaster. One of my clients described it as feeling like having too many tabs and windows open in your mind, essentially taking up head space.
Joy in the appropriate state is the ability to connect with others and stay present in the moment. The heart in Chinese Medicine is considered the emperor of body, mind, and spirit. The vessel itself is hollow meant to conduct and house the spirit. In health it allows us to be present and flexible/adaptable to our surroundings simultaneously.
In health it allows us to experience life without checking out, or disconnecting.