Fortunately, we now use sterile, disposable filiform needles that are on average 0.003 inches in diameter. When blood is drawn or injections given at your local western physician’s office or hospital, hypodermic needles that are on average 0.01 inches in diameter are used. Acupuncture needles are quite comfortable which is why physical therapists desire to use these needles for dry needling.
Moxibustion is a heating technique that was used as early as 500 BCE. The dried herb, Artemesia Vulgaris, from the mugwort family, is formed into a cone about as big as a piece of rice, and it is heated on the patient’s body over an acupuncture point to circulate the qi and blood. In the five element tradition of acupuncture, needles are often used in conjunction with the practice of moxibustion. In 2015, Artemesinin, a compound of this species of Artemesia was designated as a new class of anti-malarial agents, a nobel prized recognition.
Chinese medicine has a starkly different philosophy from western medicine as western medicine often focuses on symptoms and suppresses them with pharmaceuticals. This often complicates the illness. In emergency cases, this may be necessary as we know that western medicine is by far advanced in emergency medicine and surgical treatments especially when immediate life is threatened. For preventative medicine, pain, and chronic illness, when immediate life is not threatened, Chinese medicine is a sophisticated system of healing that penetrates the physical, mental, and spirit levels of a person resulting in feelings of overall wellness, restful sleep, feelings of contentment, and a manifestation of joy in work and in relationships.
After your acupuncturist completes a two hour intake to understand who you are, listens to what your treatment goals are, and evaluates your 12 pulses, the needles are inserted into specific points on the body for your specific need. The number of needles depend on your treatment. A diagnosis of where you live within the five elements directs the treatment plan as it is the root cause of imbalance. When this causative factor is treated, many things will begin to improve as your system starts to rebalance.
5-6 subsequent 45-50 minute treatments are recommended minimally as the treatments build on one another. The first three treatments are often clearing treatments to allow the subsequent treatments to be most effective. Depending on life transitions and circumstances, treatment can be needed 1-2x/week and ultimately tapering down visits is typical. The goal would be for a person to reach a level of wellness that one would only need seasonal treatments.
Please eat a modest meal 2 hours prior to treatment and be well hydrated.
Some imbalances and diagnoses in traditional western medicine that Acupuncture can specifically help:
- Infertility (male and female)
- Musculoskeletal and chronic pain (OA, RA, joint replacements, fibromyalgia, back/neck pain, CTS)
- Cardiac dysfunction
- Emotional conditions (stress, depression, anxiety, grief, fear)
- Trauma (PTSD, MVA, falls)
- Immunity and Allergies
- Colds or Flu
- Chronic illness or fatigue (chronic fatigue syndrome)
- Attention deficit disorder or difficulty with concentration
- Menstrual disorders
- Sexual dysfunction
- Adrenal dysfunction
- Gastrointestinal disorders (Crohn’s disease, IBS)
- Pulmonary dysfunction (asthma, COPD, bronchitis)
- Adjunctive Cancer therapy
- Diabetes or metabolic imbalances
- Thyroid disorders (Hashimoto’s disease)
- Transition or direction in life
- Exhaustion from overwork
- General preventative care