What is Acupuncture?
Several thousand years ago, East Asian practitioners discovered that the body forms disharmonies as a result of the various physical and mental stresses of life. Oriental medical theory explains these disharmonies as an imbalance of opposing forces called yin and yang. This imbalance disrupts the movement of the body’s vital energy (qi) along the meridian pathways, which are channels through which the body’s energy is thought to flow. Acupuncture restores the smooth flow of qi. By inserting and manipulating fine filiform needles at specific points on the body, Toni is able to return the body to its natural balance and promote the body’s ability to heal itself. “I tend to use KM style Japanese Acupuncture more than other Acupuncture styles but use APM (Sports Acupuncture) or TCM (Traditional Chinese Acupuncture) if they are more appropriate for your condition.” Toni also utilizes various forms of Cosmetic Acupuncture, Light Therapy and IR Therapy.
Toni’s goal is to successfully integrate acupuncture as an adjunctive modality to other wellness services offered at Healthy Weighs Wellness Center to enhance the quality of treatment given to patients.
What Does Acupuncture Feel Like?
Many first-time patients are concerned that acupuncture needles will feel like hypodermic injections at the doctor’s office. They won’t. Acupuncture uses hair-thin, flexible needles that you will hardly feel. When gently stimulated, the needles may produce a unique sensation that Oriental medicine calls de qi. Patients often describe de qi as a heavy, achy, pressure, or spreading/traveling feeling. You may also feel an “buzzy” sensation moving down the meridian pathways, though this is less common. Most patients find these acupuncture sensations deeply satisfying, and fall asleep right on the table. They leave the treatment feeling relaxed both mentally and physically.
How Many Treatments Will I Need?
No one can tell you exactly how many treatments you will need, however the benefits of acupuncture are cumulative, so often, more than one treatment is necessary. For acute conditions you might come twice a week at first, and often 10 to 15 treatments are necessary to shift entrenched conditions. Chronic conditions may take longer to respond, depending on the type, severity, and duration of the condition, and may respond best (such as in cases involving symptoms of diabetes, high/low blood pressure, or autoimmune diseases like RA or Crohn’s) with regularly scheduled maintenance treatments. We will work together to discover how often is actually necessary in such cases to keep you feeling good. Preventative treatments and treatments for general well-being may also be scheduled on an as-needed basis. After resolving these symptoms with initial treatment, some patients call me to schedule appointments only when they feel the need for a ‘tune-up’.
Is Acupuncture Safe?
Yes, acupuncture treatment at Healthy Weighs Wellness Center is safely performed by our professionally trained acupuncturist, Toni King MS LAc. Acupuncture is used by millions of Americans every year. Acupuncturists are required to undergo extensive education, including detailed study of human anatomy and training in Clean Needle Technique. Toni has passed comprehensive national board examinations administered by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) and is licensed in the states of New York and Connecticut. As required by law, Toni uses pre-sterilized, disposable, single-use needles to ensure your complete safety. The National Institute of Health (NIH) states that Acupuncture is the only known modality that has only positive side effects.
What Can I Expect During an Acupuncture Treatment Session?
Your First Visit
Prior to your first acupuncture appointment you will be asked to complete a comprehensive intake form. This form asks about your current state of health, past illnesses, and family history. These questions are important because the holistic approach of Oriental medicine takes everything into account. Your current symptoms may not seem related to past health issues, but our bodies are complex landscapes and everything that happens to them leaves its mark.
After reviewing your intake form, we will discuss your condition, and Toni may examine your pulse and tongue, which are two of the basic diagnostic methods of Oriental medicine. More often, Toni will examine your Hara (Japanese KM Style abdominal palpation). This gives an accurate picture of how your body is running right now. Then, any areas of concern will be addressed (i.e. for shoulder pain, we’ll carefully check the shoulder and shoulder girdle, etc.). Any pressure pain in the symptomatic area are cleared as completely as possible during the treatment. The acupuncture points chosen will depend on what we are treating.
Once the needles are inserted, you will lie comfortably for approximately 10-20 minutes with the needles in place. Many people find this part of Acupuncture deeply relaxing because the treatment balances the body- and the body loves to be balanced! It is not uncommon for patients to fall asleep during this time, and in fact it is helpful to let yourself fall asleep- even if only for a few moments. This is like hitting the ‘reset’ button for your body.
Follow-up appointments will take around 1 hour to complete. Most patients will have 4 to 8 treatments within a 3 to 4-week period and experience improvement. Improvement can be felt anywhere from the first appointment to the final appointment – results vary from person to person. Patients often wish to continue after their initial complaints are addressed to manage their chronic problems or they may return for maintenance as needed. Think of Acupuncture like a checkup at the dentist, if problems are addressed early, it takes much less treatment to resolve them.
What Can Acupuncture Treat?
Acupuncture works by activating the body’s own healing powers, so it can be beneficial for the symptoms of many health conditions. The World Health Organization (WHO) has documented many symptoms, diseases, and conditions that have been shown in controlled clinical trials to be effectively treated with acupuncture. Below are some common conditions treated by Acupuncture, but please feel free to contact Healthy Weighs Wellness Center about your specific health condition.
The most common uses are:
Musculoskeletal: Arthritis, Bursitis, Back Pain, Tendonitis, Muscle Weakness, Strains/Sprains, Myofascial Pain, and Post-operative Pain.
Gastrointestinal: Colitis, Constipation, Diarrhea, Digestive Problems, Hemorrhoids, and Liver Conditions.
Gynecological and Genitourinary: Painful Menstruation, Kidney Problems, PMS, Cramps, Sterility and Impotence, Cystitis, Menopausal Syndrome, and Infertility.
Neurological: Bell’s Palsy, Headaches, Neuralgia, Numbness, Paralysis, Parkinson’s Disease, Post-stroke Syndrome, Sciatica, Shingles, and Tremors.
Psychiatric: Anxiety, Depression, Insomnia, and Nervous Tension.
Respiratory: Allergies and Asthma.
Ear, Nose, Throat: Sinusitis, Nerve Deafness, Meniere’s Disease, and Tinnitus.
Other: Addictions, Obesity, High Blood Pressure, and Fatigue.