Frequently Asked Questions
What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) which is a complete system of health care that has an origin of more than 3,000 years. This health system also uses herbs, nutrition, exercise, massage and meditation to balance the body's vital life force called "Qi." When there is a blockage, shortage or imbalance of Qi, pain and illness will result. Acupuncture involves the insertion of very fine needles at specific points on the body to manipulate the flow of energy or Qi. The number of needles used and their placement will vary according to the health problem of the individual person. The needles used in our clinic are sterile and disposable and about the diameter of a human hair. After insertion needles are gently stimulated to attract Qi, in Chinese medicine this is called “De Qi” and is considered a desirable effect and proof that the energy or “Qi” is moving freely. Most patients become deeply relaxed during the treatment and this feeling typically continues for quite some time after they leave the office.
What is an acupuncture treatment like?
The acupuncture treatment takes place in a peaceful and confidential environment where your health history, desires and questions are discussed. The initial acupuncture consultation and treatment take 1 to 1½ hours and involve a detailed case history where we talk about your present and past well-being.
Using the traditional examinations of looking, palpating, questioning and listening, I will be guided to an understanding of how to approach your individual health-care. From this initial session I work with you to develop a treatment plan which will suit your lifestyle and meet your individual need for health care. During the acupuncture session, you will lie comfortably on a treatment table while hair-thin, disposable needles are gently placed. Most often needle entry is unnoticeable. Sometimes you may feel sensations of heat, tingling, or tension around the needle.
Follow up sessions are 55 minutes and include consultation and treatment. Treatment may include acupuncture (needle), moxibustion (herbal heat treatment), tui na (Chinese massage), cupping and guasha (external skin therapy). In addition to your treatments at the clinic I may advise small lifestyle adjustments designed to support the healing effect of treatment. Chinese food therapy or herbs may be prescribed. Many people relax deeply during the treatment and leave with more mental calm and loosening to body tensions and discomforts.
How will acupuncture benefit me?
Acupuncture and TCM observe the subtleties of a disease pattern by looking at the person as a whole. No sign or symptom is unimportant. Whatever your chief complaint may be, there is undoubtedly other aspects of your health that you would enjoy seeing improvement in as well. If you have a chronic pain, mental/emotional condition, menstrual disorder, digestive disorder or reproductive disorder that has not responded to other treatment; Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine modalities may benefit you. There are many times when someone comes to me having been told that their condition was not going to change, "that they'd have live with it by managing the symptoms," and acupuncture has improved or resolved their disease pattern.
Acupuncture is safe and effective treatment for:
• Neck pain
• Shoulder pain
• Back pain• Joint pain
• Carpal tunnel syndrome
• Tension headache
• Sinus headache
• Migraine headache
• Myofascial pain syndrome (MPS)
• Fibromyalgia (FMS) pain and fatigue
• Acute injuries/pain
• Post-operative pain
• Cold & flu
• Menstrual pain
• Nausea & Vomiting
• Irregular periods
• Premenstrual (PMS) syndrome
• Mood swings
• Stress management
• Abdominal pain
• Acid reflux
• Irritable bowel/IBS
• Fatigue and lack of motivation
~ And more.
How does acupuncture work?
• Analgesic Effect - acupuncture releases your body's own natural pain killers. The NIH, National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), has ongoing research exploring possible mechanisms for the pain-relieve effects of acupuncture.
• Homeostatic & Tranquilizing Effect - calms the mind, induces balance of blood pressure, heart rate, body temperature, and hormone levels
• Immune Enhancing Effect - has a direct influence on the number of white blood cells in your blood, therefore strengthening your resistance to and recovery from illness
• Motor Recovery Effect - increases blood flow and repair to muscle tissues.
What is Qi?
Qi (prononced "chee") is the vital life force behind all living things. It is the energy that enters at the time of conception, empowers all growth, development and bodily functions, and when it leaves the body there is death. Qi flows along invisible pathways throughout the entire body. Along these pathways are specific points that when stimulated (with needles, massage, or pressure) have a significant affect on the surrounding tissues and organs. When this energy is balanced, there is health. When it is out of balance or weak, then pain or illness results. Recent scientific studies have begun to document evidence to the presence of this vital energy in our bodies.
What is Yin and Yang?
Yin and Yang are polar opposites in the body and environment. In TCM, Traditional Chinese Medicine, optimal health is considered to be complete balance between Yin and Yang.
Yin is characterized as cold, wet, soft, slow, diffuse, yielding and passive. It is associated with night time, femininity, the moon, earth and water.
Yang is characterized as hot, dry, hard, fast, solid, focused and active. It is associated with daytime, masculinity, the sun, sky and fire.
Will it hurt?
Patients describe acupuncture as "sensational" rather than "painful." In most cases therenos little sensation at all, while in some cases there are sensations such as warmth, tingling, tightness, or sting. All of these sensations are possible with acupuncture, and are seen as positive signs of a successful treatment. In a treatment session, the patient is always encouraged to participate in the healing process. I welcome feedback, suggestions, and if ever there is a sensation that is making a patient uncomfortable, they feel comfortable in letting me know. Cupping and Guasha are two muscle therapies that I incorporate into most treatments. These treatments work to release chronic muscle tension, don't involve needles, and feel wonderful. It is rare that a client doesn't desire these therapies.
How many treatments will I need?
Individual response to treatment will depend on many factors such as the nature of your condition, how chronic your illness has become, the general state of your health, and your willingness to participate in your healing process. You will likely begin to notice improvements in your condition within four to six sessions. Conditions that are chronic or more severe will take more time. During the course of treatments you may notice that seemingly unrelated problems clear up such as sleep patterns, moods, stress and energy levels. Acupuncture and TCM are well known for relieving people of ailments they hadn't mentioned or that seemed entirely unrelated to that which brought them in for treatment.
What does Michelle specialize in?
I enjoy treating all patients, all complaints and people from all walks of life. Acupuncture is truly beneficial and relief is felt by most. I see great results in a vast presentation of emotional complaints, self care motivation and relief of all kinds of pain. Acupuncture can be great support before and after surgical procedures for emotional preparation, relaxing of tissues prior to surgery and of course increasing Qi and blood flow to promote faster healing. AND, the needles don't go where the surgery was so there is no concern about getting in for acupuncture too soon after surgery.
My specialties are Anxiety, Depression, Emotional Trauma and PTSD, Cancer Support and Cancer Survivorship, and a wide variety of acute and chronic pain.