To understand your present concern, I review with you your current and past health condition. Diagnosis continues with you lying on a massage table; I press gently on your abdomen, legs, and back, and feel your radial pulses on your wrists. Based on this, I select acupuncture points and use needles and moxibustion to encourage healing. These points may not be near your specific symptoms because the goal is to encourage your whole body to heal itself.
Moxibustion is the burning of dried mugwort on the body. Moxibustion works similar to needles, but uses heat and the plant’s volatile oils to promote healing.
Acupuncture resolves illnesses by working on what else has become compromised over time, in addition to the specific aches dragging us, or we drag, into the clinic. The focus is beyond where the pain is; the experience is long-lasting results.
Take for example chronic lower back pain. One priority is to relax the affected muscles, which can be anywhere from the upper neck to the calves. I know, using needles to relax sounds like going to an all-you-can-eat buffet to lose weight, but the bulk of scientific research explains acupuncture’s effects by the pain receptors it sedates. Improving the circulation of oxygen, nutrients, and hormones is next. These improvements can result in better tolerance to cold, better sleep, more energy, regulated blood pressure, and less discomfort premenstrual and during periods. It is these changes that go beyond a painkilling pill and end the cycle of chronic pain.
Being free of these symptoms can be a long process, but it doesn’t need to be painful.
Does acupuncture hurt?
The gentle style I practice, Japanese Acupuncture, causes almost no discomfort. If recipients feel the needle, they often compare it to a mosquito bite. One of Japanese style acupuncture’s goals is to encourage the body to relax and focus on healing. When practised correctly, there are almost no adverse effects. Research has shown that trauma and infection may rarely occur. I minimize these risks by using a shallow needling technique, moxibustion, and disposable needles. The plant used in moxibustion has proven immune-enhancing qualities.
How do the needles work?
Acupuncture, like massage therapy, works on reorganizing connective tissue tension. For a more detailed look at the process by a clinical endocrinologist, visit the link below.
Positive results can come from one treatment, but significant and preventative healing usually depends on regular visits. The efficacy depends on your problem, how well your body responds, and how frequently you receive acupuncture and other treatments. Just as one gym workout does not make one an elite athlete, the same holds true for acupuncture.
Can acupuncture help with pregnancy?
Yes. Treatments focus on endocrine functions to reduce interventions and enhance recovery.
Second Time Visitors
So you’ve had acupuncture, now what?
Whether it’s your first or nth session, my goal at each visit is to make you better—because this makes me better. In addition to positive change with your specific health concern, these are the typical after-effects of an acupuncture treatment:
Better sleep – More enegy – Mental clarity – Better digestion – Less stress
These occur because of acupuncture’s effect on our autonomic nervous system. Read more about our stress response from this Harvard Health Newsletter.
Why did you feel around my abdomen?
Tension held in tendinous intersections and aponeuroses on the abdomen may indicate the weakened links in our bodies. These weaknesses are often long-term systemic imbalances, a less-evident correlation in Western pathophysiology (but this is changing). It may only take a handful of treatments to be in less pain, but maintaining our abilities to handle life’s stresses requires our commitment to give our bodies the attention we deserve.
So you treated my adrenals. What does that mean?
Treating your adrenals means regulating your body’s response to long-term stress. The adrenals are endocrine glands located near your lower back, but addressing the complete picture means inducing changes in your hypothalamus and pituitary gland, both located in the region of the brain, as well. These make up the Hypothalamus-Pituitary Gland-Adrenal Glands axis (HPA axis). Prolonged stress means the HPA axis is working overtime, which in turn throws the autonomic nervous system off. By quieting your HPA axis, your corticoid hormone levels are regulated, thus taking your stress response out of the exhaustion stage.
How can I help the treatment work better?
Know yourself. The spectrum of stress responses is between a ‘fight-or-flight’ response and a ‘tend-and-befriend’ response. Fight can mean responding aggressively, flight means a passive response. Tending behaviors focuses on protecting others perceived as vulnerable, and befriend means forming connections of peer support. Is your reaction to various stresses too much of one of these? Which action do you least take on?
An acupuncture treatment can turn down the noise that can be distorting your stress response. This noise can be daily aches and pains or your inability to carry through a thought into action. With less of these obstacles, you’re back on the healthier adaptive stage of stress response. Recall how you’ve been since getting acupuncture. Any difference?
What makes Japanese-style acupuncture different?
Precise and gentle technique. Traditional Japanese acupuncture relies on a precise touch, not a textbook, to get to the point. Each treatment is an active process, personalizing each step based on how your body is responding. The thinner needles used in Japanese acupuncture work effectively without exciting your nerves.
Whole body healing. Traditional Japanese acupuncture resolves illnesses by supporting the physiological functions that have become compromised over time, not just the present symptoms. Positive results may show not only on one’s specific concern, but also on other measures of healthiness.