Acupuncture is a method of healing that inserts small micro-thin needles into the body to help treat certain conditions and improve the body's overall health. It originated in Chinese medicine thousands of years ago and is used today mainly to treat pain. However, increasingly, acupuncture therapy is used to promote optimal health, improve immunity, and help with stress management.
Traditional Chinese medicine explains acupuncture as a technique for balancing the flow of energy or life force — known as chi or qi (chee) — believed to flow through pathways (meridians) in your body. By inserting needles into specific points along these meridians, acupuncture practitioners believe that your energy flow will re-balance.
In contrast, many Western practitioners view the acupuncture points as places to stimulate nerves, muscles and connective tissue. Some believe that this stimulation boosts your body's natural painkillers.
What are the risks of acupuncture? Risks to acupuncture therapy is minimal. Needles used at New Beginnings are sterilized, one-time use, pre-packaged needles that are disposed of in sharps containers. Acupuncture side affects are minimal if any. Some report that they may feel a little light headed or loopy after an acupuncture session. There may be some pin-point bruising at the site of insertion however that disappears within 24-48 hours.
You may have risks to acupuncture if you have the following:
Have a bleeding disorder. Your chances of bleeding or bruising from the needles increase if you have a bleeding disorder or if you're taking blood thinners.
Have a pacemaker. Acupuncture that may involve applying mild electrical pulses to the needles can interfere with a pacemaker's operation.
Are pregnant. Some types of acupuncture are thought to stimulate labor, which could result in a premature delivery.
During an acupuncture treatment, Dr. Joyce inserts very thin needles into specific spots on your body. Insertion of the needles usually causes little to no discomfort. Many report that acupuncture causes a feeling of deep ache or deep pressure as needles are inserted.
Each person who performs acupuncture has a unique style, and here at New Beginnings Dr. Joyce often blends both Eastern and Western approaches to medicine. To determine the type of acupuncture treatment that will help you the most, she may ask you about your symptoms, behaviors and lifestyle or examine:
The parts of your body that are painful
The shape, coating and color of your tongue
The color of your face
The strength, rhythm and quality of the pulse in your wrist
This initial evaluation and treatment may take up to 60 minutes. Subsequent appointments usually take about a half-hour to 45 minutes. A common treatment plan for a single complaint would typically involve one or two treatments a week. The number of treatments will depend on the condition being treated and its severity. In general, it's common to receive six to eight treatments.