How does Acupuncture work?
Acupuncture is a medicine grounded in ancient Chinese theory. The traditional physiological view of the body in Chinese medicine involves the flow of Qi (pronounced ‘chee’) throughout various pathways of the body. A rough translation of Qi in more modern terms is ‘cellular functioning’ – so by influencing the flow of Qi in the body, what we’re doing is enhancing and influencing the way your body functions, right down to a cellular level.
To be more specific, acupuncture points are areas of electrical sensitivity. Inserting metal needles into these points stimulates sensory receptors that stimulate nerves that then transmits signals to the hypothalamic-pituitary system at the base of the brain. The system then releases neurotransmitters and endorphins that have several functions including pain-relief, relaxation, regulation of inflammation and hormonal regulation, among many others. Fun fact: the body’s own pain-killing hormones are thought to be 4-6 times more potent than morphine!
Does it hurt?
Not at all. Most people find acupuncture treatments incredibly relaxing and many of our patients fall asleep during the treatment. We see a lot of needle-phobic patients and to date every single one of them has been surprised at how gentle, relaxing and calming the treatment is. Gentle sensations during the treatment are not uncommon and totally normal. We try our best to make sure you’re 100% comfortable during the entire course of your treatment.
What is the difference between acupuncture and dry-needling?
Quite a lot! This infographic brilliantly outlines the differences between acupuncture and dry-needling. We utilise both traditional and trigger-point methods when deciding on the best treatment for you.
Do you re-use needles?
Absolutely not! Here at Acupuncture with Grace, we practice in accordance with the Chinese Medical Board of Australia’s guidelines for infection control and prevention. All of our needles are sterile, single-use needles and are disposed of immediately after use.
How many sessions will I need?
There’s no hard-and-fast rule for this one. The longer you’ve had an ailment or problem, the longer it’s likely going to take to alleviate it. 12-16 treatments tends to be a standard number for chronic or persistent conditions, whilst are acute complaints can usually be helped within 2 – 8 treatments. Others find it helpful to visit monthly for maintenance treatments. As with all health interventions (including medications) one dose isn’t necessarily likely to solve it. We personalise our treatment plan for you, to suit your schedule and account for how well you respond to treatment.
What should I expect in a treatment?
First, we’ll sit down and discuss your health history. Sometimes we’ll ask you seemingly irrelevant questions about all sorts of bodily functions, but that’s just us trying to figure out how your body works in the scope of Chinese Medicine (trust us, they’re not irrelevant!). Next, we’ll probably have a look at your tongue and feel your pulse – again, this is a normal diagnostic technique in Chinese medicine and can help us to check that we’re on the right path. This part of the consultation will usually take anywhere from 5 – 20 minutes, depending on what’s brought you into the clinic in the first place.
After that, we’ll leave you in privacy to get on the treatment table and then we’ll begin the treatment. We utilise a wide variety of methods in our treatments alongside acupuncture including cupping, electroacupuncture, tui-na massage, laser therapy and sometimes herbal medicine depending on what’s appropriate for your condition.
How will I feel after a treatment?
Everyone has a slightly different response to acupuncture. Some people report an increased sense of energy directly after the treatment, some will feel grounded and calm but awake, while others can feel tired, relaxed and sleepy. In the latter case, this happens due to the drop in stress hormones that are experienced during a treatment (and are a good thing!). If your baseline energy levels are low, they will likely feel lower as you a lack of adrenaline circulating in your body. Regardless of how you feel, listen to your body, rest well and you will experience a significant healing process and a much calmer, sustainable sense of wellbeing.
What do I need to bring with me?
It’s a good idea to wear loose, comfortable clothes to your session, but not necessary. Make sure to bring any reports from blood tests and imaging related to the condition you’re coming in for. Also, bring questions! We love answering questions and informing our patients to our best ability.
Is there anything I should do before or after the treatment?
Make sure you allow plenty of time on either side of your appointment so you’re not feeling stressed about being late to your appointment, or being late to a meeting or event after your appointment.
It’s a good idea to keep well hydrated before and after your treatment. Try to avoid having a huge meal immediately prior to your appointment (about 2 hours in advance is ok). Also try to avoid turning up to your appointment on an empty stomach – this can sometimes leave you feeling light-headed and fatigued after the treatment.
What if I don’t like needles?
That’s OK! Acupuncture needles are nothing like the needles you get your flu shot from. That being said, in our treatments, we utilise a wide variety of Chinese Medicine and acupuncture-related techniques including laser acupuncture, cupping, moxibustion, electrical stimulation of muscles (TENS), tuina (massage) and Chinese herbal medicine. If you’re afraid of needles or anxious about the treatment, just make sure to let us know before we get started and we’ll figure out a treatment plan that is appropriate and effective for you.