Acupuncture is a discipline which is entirely separate from chiropractic care. However, they are similar in that they both focus diagnosis and treatment in a deductive manner. In addition, chiropractic and acupuncture both seek to correct interference to the body’s information system as opposed to treating just the body’s physical matter (like surgery does). Acupuncture has been practiced in China and other Asian countries for thousands of years. It involves stimulating specific points on the body with very fine needles to cause a change in the physical functions of the body. Our patients have found acupuncture to be effective for a wide range of complaints, including migraine headaches, muscle spasms, sinusitis, PMS, rosacea, anxiety, and digestive distress.
On your first visit for acupuncture, I’ll be asking you a lot of questions that may seem unrelated to your condition. For example, I may ask you if your feet are cold at night, or if you have a hard time getting to sleep. These questions are an important part of your care. Your answers will help me to develop an individualized approach to your treatment. The initial treatment may use 3 – 10 or more acupuncture points. For example, an initial treatment for headache may use these three points: LI 4, GB 20 and TH 5.
The needles we use are both sterile and extremely thin. Most people are surprised to see how thin the needles actually are. The most commonly used needle is a 0.25 mm width needle. Generally, they are inserted about 1-3 mm into the body. The sensation you will feel when being needled is generally fairly minimal. After the needles are inserted I will leave you to rest for a period of time (from 15-60 minutes depending upon your condition). Most people feel fairly relaxed during this period and many simply fall asleep.
Sometimes a patient requires additional time with the needles, or additional techniques to enhance their effect. At Maimonides, we provide these additional techniques:
- Electro-acupuncture – the acupuncture needles are stimulated with an electric charge delivered from a machine. This is used often and effectively in patients dealing with pain.
- Moxibustion – this involves the burning of an herb – Artemesia Vulgaris – either on the top of a needle or on the skin directly. This is used often in patients who are dealing with cold or stagnant conditions such as certain types of abdominal cramps.
- Cupping – this involves the use of glass or plastic cups which are placed on the body with suction to help remove toxins and muscle tension. They are used often in patients with immune issues such as a cold as well as for pain.
While many people will feel some change in their condition immediately or within the first 2-3 treatments, others with more serious conditions will need a longer period of time before a significant change occurs. If you are not noticing any changes immediately it does not mean that acupuncture is not helping you. Many times the changes are slow and somewhat subtle as the entire body begins to rebalance from the condition.