If you’re thinking of trying acupuncture? There’s a few things you should know if have never been to a practitioner of Traditional Chinese or East Asian Medicine.
1) I may ask you questions you did not expect.
To a Chinese Medicine Practitioner, the big picture of your life is extremely important. I will want to know what your mood is like, how you’re sleeping, if you tend to run hot or cold, what your family environment is like and most importantly how your condition affects you. Your digestion is important to us so I will be asking about digestion and toilet habits.
Some of these questions may seem unrelated to the symptom that brought you into the office that day, but from a Chinese Medicine perspective, everything is connected. These seemingly unrelated questions give us insight into what organ systems (Zang Fu), channels, and energetic or Qi mechanisms are out of balance and need to be addressed.
2) The physical exam is different from the way a Western Medical Doctor would examine you.
You’ll notice that your acupuncturist will feel your pulse on both of your wrists for a pretty long time. The pulse is key in making a correct Chinese Pattern Diagnosis. Your practitioner isn’t just feeling the rate and rhythm of your pulse, but is also paying attention to the quality, intensity, and size of your pulse.
There are 28 qualities of the pulse that must be discerned and whilst assessing your pulse, your practitioner may have additional questions for you. And you might just feel like they’re reading your mind when they ask you about a piece of information you forgot to mention.
I will also want to look at your tongue. They will be looking at the size, shape, color, and any indentations or cracks on your tongue. Like the pulse, the tongue gives us more information about your organ systems and energetic health.
You might notice me having a good look at your face, eyes, nails and ears all of which gives me more information about you.
3) Your treatment will address the symptoms that are bothering you, and much more than that.
From your answers I will build up a picture of how you are and what your diagnosis is, I will then use your pulse, tongue etc. to confirm my diagnosis, which I will then explain to you.
From a Chinese Medicine perspective, the mind, body, spirits (in Chinese Medicine there are 5), Qi Qua, Yin and Yang are all related. Each organ has a physical, mental, and spirit function and depending on your diagnosis you might receive: Acupuncture, Acupressure (Tu Na Massage), Korean Hand Therapy (KHT) Fire Cupping, Qi Gong exercises etc.
Your treatment will address your mind, body, and spirits to relieve your symptoms and to address the energetic cause of your symptoms so you can move back into balance and health and will be unique to you.
4) Will I feel the needles? Will it be painful?
Acupuncture works with the qi of your body. Qi is the life force that powers every organ and cell in your body. You might not feel very aware of it on a regular day, but you will learn to recognize it.
The sensation of qi is different for everyone, but you might experience it as a tugging feeling, a warm and tingly feeling, a dull achy feeling, or some other feeling I don’t know about, because my qi is different than yours.
You might feel qi around the needle site or radiating to another part of your body. Patients often describe the sensation traveling through the acupuncture channels, even though they don’t know where they are.
Some points can be sensitive but we are never looking for pain! You may well feel a pin prick as the needle goes though you skin but after that we are looking for a sensation but never Pain.
5) Your life may never be the same.
Once you’ve experienced acupuncture you will notice some side effects. You may want more acupuncture. You may become interested in what your acupuncturist is doing and learn to speak Chinese Medicine. You may want to go deeper with your treatment and ask your acupuncturist for herbs, lifestyle, and diet recommendations. You may become more aware of your energy and the people, places, and activities that effect you.
And you may get to know yourself and this beautiful planet we call home in a way you never knew was possible.
6) Can I ask questions?
Yes. There are no silly questions and I encourage all my patients to ask as many or as few questions about their treatment as necessary.
If you have any questions or would like to contact me to arrange an appointment please click here.