01 Feb Getting to the Point
It’s the Chinese New Year! The year of the Rooster! What better way to acknowledge the incredible culture of the Middle Kingdom than with one of its gifts to our world, Traditional Chinese Medicine. And in particular, it’s a great time to speak about acupuncture.
You know what you want to do. You want to be healthier. You know you have the willpower. You can do it on your own.
Lots of other Crossover Health members have already experienced the power of acupuncture but let’s get the big issue out of the way first. Those needles.
We all grow up with doctor’s needles to draw blood or get a shot, so the natural reaction to acupuncture is that it must hurt. Well, it doesn’t. The reality is the needles used in acupuncture treatments are far, far smaller than those used at the doctor’s office. Acupuncture needles are not used to put something into or remove something from your body so they don’t need to be hollow and are incredibly thin. This means they can slip smoothly through the skin to reach the point your Licensed Acupuncturist is looking for.
Instead, acupuncture results in sensations like pressure, slight electricity, or a dull ache, it is generally akin to muscle soreness after exercise. In fact, most acupuncture treatments actually result in the patient falling into a state of deep relaxation, sometimes referred to as the “acupuncture power nap.”
What’s it good for?
Acupuncture is an integral part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), a comprehensive body of medicine that has treatments for most major medical complaints. These include:
- digestive disorders (nausea, heartburn, indigestion, constipation, diarrhea, etc)
- women’s health: menstrual pain and irregularities, peri-menopausal issues, fertility
- headaches: including those due to allergies, tension and migraines
- pain in any part of the body
- emotional issues: including depression, anxiety, and irritability
- sleep disorders: such as insomnia, night sweats
Acupuncture is often turned to when conventional treatments have not achieved the results you were hoping for, or for conditions that don’t fit into an easy diagnosis.
Finding the Qi
TCM and acupuncture are all about finding the balance in body and mind. In TCM, when your energy, or Qi, flow smoothly, you’re healthy. And treatments like acupuncture help correct those Qi imbalances that show up as illnesses.
Qi (or Chi) can be loosely translated as vital energy. From the modern perspective, we can think of Qi as an aggregate of metabolic activity, including blood and lymphatic flow, neural signaling, sympathetic/parasympathetic activation, and various endocrine relationships.
From the traditional perspective, relationships between these different systems have been empirically developed over centuries of experimentation and observation, yielding a network of channels of Qi through the body. These channels connect the activity of different regions and organ systems, integrating the body’s functions into a coherent whole.
Works like magic, but it’s not magic
It is important to remember that Qi is not magic, and you do not need to “believe” in it for acupuncture to be effective! In fact, acupuncture has been used as a medical intervention across the world, with acupuncture-related research published in 60 countries and is endorsed by the World Health Organization. Clinics at respected centers such as Johns Hopkins, Cleveland Clinic and Duke University regularly prescribe acupuncture for their patients.
Acupuncture is just one part of TCM
Remember, too, that acupuncture is just one part of Traditional Chinese Medicine’s holistic approach to health. Your licensed acupuncturist is also qualified in related skills such as cupping, herbal medicines and more. When you meet with your acupuncturist at Crossover, your care plan can easily extend into complementary areas of TCM.
What happens during a typical visit?
For first visits, your acupuncturist will review your chief complaint and your health history. She will often also ask you some questions about your lifestyle patterns. This can include questions about your sleep, digestion, and emotions. The systems-based approach of Traditional Chinese Medicine ties together issues that we may not initially see as connected so don’t be surprised if you are asked questions that don’t seem directly related to your complaint! She may feel your pulse and look at your tongue to gather further diagnostic data.
After your intake, you will lie on a comfortable table, and the acupuncturist will apply needles to the acupoints indicated for treatment and may apply a heat lamp, cups, and/or electroacupuncture to certain areas. Gowns, shorts and tanktops are provided if partial disrobing proves necessary.
The acupuncturist will then leave the needles in place for 30 to 50 minutes. She may adjust, remove, or add needles during this time. Many patients doze off during this period for the “acupuncture power nap.”
Follow-up visits are similar, although intake times are generally shorter.
Is Acupuncture for Me?
At Crossover, you already know that we have an awesome range of healthcare services all under one roof that help you get well and be your healthiest. And everyone here is completely focused on providing you with the care that’s right for you. When you meet with your doctor, you may both decide that TCM and acupuncture is right for you, and if it is, we’re right here, ready to answer question and help. Because acupuncture, like everything else at Crossover, is awesome healthcare. Close by