It is estimated that four out of five Americans will experience some form of back pain in their lifetime. There are many causes of pain including stress (whether physical or emotional), improper lifting, traumatic injury, sedentary lifestyle or over exercising. All of these things can lead to tight or strained muscles or ligaments that will throw the body out of balance. In TCM terms, when your body is put under any kind of stress your Qi becomes stagnant. This stagnation can lead to pain and inflammation. Acupuncture helps to ease your pain because Acupuncture points are innervated by nerves and blood vessels. Inserting needles at the various points increases the circulation in your body and reduces inflammation. Acupuncture also helps to calm your nervous system which can be in fight or flight mode when you are in pain.
At Acupuncture Mama we will ask you many questions during our initial evaluation, some of them seemingly unrelated to your pain. This helps us arrive at a treatment plan that is comprehensive and specifically tailored to help you. Acupuncture treatments will not only help eliminate your pain but they have the added benefit of giving you more energy, better sleep, increased immunity and an overall improved quality of life.
During the initial exam we will take a full health history and you will be asked questions regarding your symptoms, health, nutrition and lifestyle. Your Acupuncturist will check your pulses, look at your tongue and may conduct a physical exam.
Considering all these factors, as well as discussing your stress level and other lifestyle factors, your acupuncturist will put together a comprehensive diagnosis and discern where the imbalances are in your body. After completing the intake and diagnosis, your acupuncturist will formulate a treatment plan and insert needles accordingly. You will then have an opportunity to rest for about 30 minutes.
Make sure to eat a light snack (preferably not a heavy meal) before coming in for your treatment. You can wear loose comfortable clothing so that points are more easily accessible, but we also have towels to cover you should we need access to your abdomen or legs.
At the point where the acupuncture needle is inserted you may experience a vague heavy sensation, tingling or dull ache. Sometimes people experience a sensation of energy spreading and moving around the needle. This is called the “Qi sensation.” All of these reactions are completely normal.
Everyone experiences acupuncture treatments differently. After the treatment you may have a feeling of sleepiness and deep sense of relaxation or you may feel energized with a sense of well-being. Either way, listen to your body and act accordingly.
Since each person is unique and responds differently to treatment, the number of treatments will vary. Among the determining factors are the nature, severity, and history of your complaint, as well as your overall health. Usually one or two treatments per week are necessary when first starting out with acupuncture.
In some cases, symptoms will improve very rapidly with acupuncture and herbs. As a general rule, chronic problems require treatment for several weeks or longer while acute problems tend to respond much faster. As in any form of medical care, the patient’s attitude, diet, and lifestyle will affect the outcome and course of treatment.
Acupuncture is an extremely safe form of healthcare when provided by a licensed professional. The State of California requires licensed acupuncturists to use sterile, single use disposable needles. Furthermore, acupuncturists in California are required to be certified in clean needle technique before sitting for the state licensing exam.
This is the most common question that people ask about acupuncture because many people have a fear of needles. Acupuncture needles are nothing like the hypodermic needles used to draw blood. In fact, they are hair thin and more like pins rather than needles. While some points may be more sensitive than others, most people barely even feel them upon insertion and are usually pleasantly surprised at how pain free and relaxing the treatment really is.
Acupuncture has many benefits. Patients often report that they have more energy and sleep better even when that’s not why they are coming in. It also helps to strengthen your immune system to keep you healthy during cold and flu season.
Chinese herbal medicine has been practiced for thousands of years, and has continued to develop as research points to new ways herbal medicine can help in healing, health and well being. The materia medica of Traditional Chinese Medicine is comprised of over 500 single herbs mostly coming from plant’s seeds, berries, roots, leaves, flowers and bark. Every herb has multiple functions and they are categorized according to taste, temperature and main use. Single herbs work synergistically when they are combined into formulas and are rarely used individually. At Essential Points Acupuncture, Chinese herbal formulas are prescribed for each individual patient based on diagnostic patterns and principles.
Chinese herbs are very safe when prescribed correctly by a properly trained practitioner. Over the centuries, herbologists have compiled detailed information about them and placed great emphasis on the protection of the patient. Allergic type reactions are rare, and will cause no lasting damage if treatment is stopped as soon as symptoms appear.
In California, acupuncturists are the only licensed health care professionals who are required to be trained and tested for competency in prescribing herbal medicine. The California Acupuncture Board strongly recommends consulting an acupuncturist before beginning any herbal therapy. It is also important to inform both your physician and your acupuncturist about all of the drugs, herbs, and other supplements you are currently taking so they can monitor and prevent any adverse reactions.