What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a form of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) that has been practiced for over 2,000 years. TCM focuses on redirecting a natural flow of energy know as Qi (pronounced “chee”). TCM believes all life is sustained by the constant flow of Qi in the body. Acupuncture involves the use of small, thin needles on specific points along defined meridians, or channels. You can think of Qi as a river that flows throughout the body via these specific channels. Occasionally this river becomes blocked like a dam, or the level is decreased like during a drought. Acupuncture can restore health by strengthening and enhancing Qi and restoring proper flow in the body.
What can acupuncture help with?
Acupuncture can help with a multitude of symptoms and illnesses including but not limited to:
- Low back pain
- Neck pain
- Menstrual pain
- Tennis elbow
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Shoulder pain
- Knee pain
- TMJ Dysfunction
- Weight loss
- Smoking cessation
- Menopause symptoms
Ask Dr. Zollner if she thinks acupuncture can help with your symptoms!
Are there any risks associated with acupuncture?
Just as with any medical procedure, there are risks associated with acupuncture, although they are all relatively low risks.
- Soreness: Patients can expect increased soreness for 1-3 days following initial treatment with acupuncture. This should not last more than 1-2 visits and then patients should no longer experience increased soreness.
- Organ injury: This is an extremely rare risk that can be caused by inserting a needle too deep. An experienced acupuncturist is educated on the best needling techniques to avoid such injury.
- Infection: Acupuncturists in the U.S. are required to use sterile, disposable needles (needles do not get reused). They are also trained on “clean needle technique” to minimize the risk of infection.
I have medical condition. Is it safe for me to have acupuncture?
Acupuncture is considered relatively safe for people of all ages. There are a few cases in which extra caution should be taken before deciding to go forward with acupuncture treatment.
- Bleeding disorders: Patients with a bleeding disorder have an increased chance of bleeding/bruising if taking blood thinners (Coumadin, warfarin). Also, patients with hemophilia or similar conditions are at increased risk of bleeding/bruising.
- Pacemaker: Patients with a pacemaker need to avoid a certain type of acupuncture in which a mild electrical pulse is applied to the needles, as this may interfere with the pacemaker. Always make your practitioner aware of the fact that you have a pacemaker so proper adjustments can be made to your treatment plan.
- Pregnancy: Certain acupuncture points can stimulate premature labor when needled. Again, always make the practitioner aware so he/she can create a safe and effective treatment plan for you.
What can I expect during acupuncture? Does it hurt?
A common treatment plan for a single complaint typically involves 6-12 treatments over the course of a few months. During a single session, 5-20 needles may be inserted throughout different regions of your body. These spots may not always be in the exact area you have pain but have been chosen to provide relief for your complaint. Needles are typically painless as they are being inserted but you may feel a slight pinch or some deep achiness when the needle reaches the correct depth. This should subside but if it does not the practitioner can adjust the needle or insert a new one.
The practitioner may also manipulate, or move the needle once it has been inserted. This ensures the stimulation of Qi at that point. They may also apply heat or a mild electrical impulse to the needle.
After 15-20 minutes the needles will be ready for removal. This does not usually cause any discomfort to the patient. Following the treatment, some patients will feel relaxed and may want to take a nap, while other patients may feel energized. It is important to drink plenty of water following a treatment.