FAQs about Acupuncture
Answered by Westport Acupuncturists
At Westport Chiropractic and Acupuncture, we understand that acupuncture is often misunderstood by those who are unfamiliar with it. Acupuncture may seem like an odd practice, but it has been used by medical practitioners to effectively treat a vast range of conditions for thousands of years. Its beneficial effects on the human body are well documented and well supported. Below, we’ve answered a variety of frequently asked questions regarding acupuncture in order to help our patients better understand how it affects them and their bodies. If you have a question that is not listed below, please contact us and one of our knowledgeable acupuncturists in Westport will answer all your questions.
To schedule a free consultation with one of our Westport acupuncturists, please either call us today at (203) 227-4474 or contact us online.
What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is an effective method for treating a wide variety of medical conditions. It is anywhere from 5,000 to 7,000 years old and its beneficial effects on the human body are well documented. However, the science of acupuncture is lost on many westerners because it involves placing extremely thin needles in the patient’s skin at various locations on their body in order to relieve pain and discomfort, as well as treat a body function or part. The placement of the needles, although entirely painless, tends to intimidate westerners due to their unfamiliarity with these thin, painless needles.
Early physicians in the East discovered a network of energy traveling on or just below the surface of the skin. This energy network connects all internal organs and structures to the exterior at thousands of “acupoints” on the body. The energy works in tandem with all the body’s systems, including the digestive, muscular, nervous, circulatory, genitourinary, and other systems. When the energy network is weakened or becomes blocked, negative health effects occur more frequently. Stimulating these acupoints can help clear the blockages, strengthen the energy network, and restore balance to the body’s systems.
Is Treatment Painful?
Many people mistakenly assume that acupuncture needles would hurt at least slightly since most of our experience with needles involve medical needles that are thick and can sting. However, acupuncture needles are so thin that four of them can easily fit inside an average hypodermic needle, which is what most of us are accustomed to using. These acupuncture needles are referred to as “teishen” and they are not really needles since they don’t completely pierce the skin. Due to the exceedingly thin nature of acupuncture needles, many patients report the sensation of being stuck with them as less than a mosquito bite. When the energy in your body is contacted by the needle, a sensation known as “techi” occurs. Techi is typically described as a slight to moderate tingling or heaviness.
Many acupuncture treatments use slight electrical stimulation of the needle in conjunction with the needle itself. This is meant to accelerate the healing process even further and it produces a relaxing and pleasant sensation. It is not painful, nor are any acupuncture treatment methods.
Traditionally, acupuncture treatments use needles in order to stimulate the acupoints on the body. However, with recent advancements in technology, many acupuncturists are able to use laser and electrical stimulation instead of needles with equal effectiveness. Both of these treatments are completely pain-free and have become standard acupuncture methods across the world.
What Is The Cost?
Depending on the experience and skill of your acupuncturist, the price for treatment will vary. However, the usual fee is about $149 per treatment and packages can make it exceedingly affordable.
What Conditions Are Accepted?
Acupuncture has shown to improve a wide variety of medical conditions and disorders, ranging from mild headaches to addictions to immune disorders and more. Since it primarily affects the body’s inner energy system, it allows the treatment to be versatile and effective at the same time.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), acupuncture is able to create a positive response in over 100 different medical conditions. In fact, there are fewer medical conditions that do not respond to acupuncture than there are that do.
Several common medical conditions that respond to acupuncture include the following, and more:
- Neurologic syndrome
- Various eye problems
- Abnormal blood pressure
- Skin conditions
- Gastric problems
- Tennis elbow
- Post-operative pain
- Mid-back pain
- Low shoulder pain
- Cervical (neck) pain
- Trigeminal neuralgia
- Bladder dysfunction
- Tension, cluster, and sinus headaches
- Acute and chronic pain
How Many Treatments Are Usual?
Generally, we start our patients with one treatment and see how well your body responds to the acupuncture. Then, if there is a positive response, we will perform two further treatments in order to maximize its effectiveness. At that point, our experienced acupuncturists in Westport will have a good grasp on your condition and how many more treatments will be needed.
The total number of treatments vary from person to person, depending on a variety of factors including your condition, its severity, your anatomy, and how well it responds to the treatment. For example, chronic medical conditions, in general, require more treatments than acute conditions. Some patients notice an immediate effect after their first treatment while others do not experience it until their sixth or seventh visit. It has been shown that a specific percentage of people experience optimum benefits up to three months after therapy.
A tiny number of patients may experience a slight worsening of their symptoms since this occasionally occurs due to the body’s energies reverting back to normal. However, this effect is expected and there is no reason to be alarmed. This worsening will be followed by a significant improvement.
The typical frequency for acupuncture treatments varies between 2 to 4 times weekly, with the total number of treatments being between 8 and 16. Although the average number of treatments is 12, this is different for everybody.
Patients are advised to not go into acupuncture treatments with the mindset of just wanting to undergo a couple and see how it is. You should commit to a full treatment plan because you will not experience the full benefits if you stop midway. If you are going to just “try it out”, that would be comparable to going into a three-hour surgery and stopping midway through to see how much progress you’ve made.
Patients are urged to have patience with the healing process. If a treatment program is prescribed and you start to show signs of significant improvement ahead of the program, your acupuncturist may recommend that your treatments end earlier than the scheduled end date.
Are Results Permanent?
For acute medical conditions and disorders where there has been no significant damage to your organs or systems, you can reasonably expect the results to be permanent. For chronic conditions, however, there may be slight recurring symptoms depending on your specific situation. In general, a couple additional treatments are enough to provide sufficient relief. We suggest that for patients who have severe or chronic conditions that they return for a booster treatment session about two to three times annually.
Are Results Psychological?
Many critics of acupuncture as a physiological healing method suggest that it is a form of mental hypnosis and self-belief, rather than an actual physical effect. This is completely unfounded since acupuncture has shown to provide significant improvements in toddlers and infants, as well as animals in veterinary settings. In addition, acupuncture has shown to be effective as an anesthetic in surgical settings, further disproving disbelievers.