What is Acupuncture and How Can It Benefit Me?

June 23rd, 2021

Acupuncture Frequently Asked Questions

● What is Qi?

○ Qi is described as the “vital life force” that propagates the functions of the body. The functions of Qi are identified as generating, promoting, defending, warming the body. Chinese medicine identifies many different forms of Qi that have unique functions. The various Qi interacts with Blood and Body fluids in the body to maintain proper visceral function.

● What is Acupuncture?

○ Acupuncture involves the insertion of sterile, single-use needles at strategic points in the body to balance the flow of Qi in the 14 primary meridians. The application of this medicine is based on the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) that date back to 3,000 years and have been refined over the years and throughout the world. A TCM treatment plan is proposed and executed after a thorough patient medical intake and Tongue and Pulse diagnosis.

● How does Acupuncture work?

○ Acupuncture is a form of energy medicine and is thus difficult to quantify in currently defined biomedical terms. One Western-based understanding is that Acupuncture may induce the release of natural endorphins to alleviate pain. Another theory is that the needles may stimulate nerves and muscles and initiate a slight inflammatory response to start a healing process. A gate theory has been also proposed in which the needling may block nerve signaling to the brain that is interpreted by the body as pain.

● What can Chinese Medicine treat?

○ The list of health conditions that can be addressed with Acupuncture according to the World Health Organization is lengthy. Although the TCM practitioner does not directly treat Western diagnoses, many symptoms of defined Western diseases can be alleviated. Such conditions include: musculoskeletal pain, headache, gastrointestinal disturbance, emotional liability, insomnia, menstrual problems, asthma or respiratory distress and fatigue, to list a few. Often, this beneficial effect is enhanced with prescribed Chinese herbal formulations taken over the treatment period.

● Will the needles hurt?

○ The needles used in Acupuncture are stainless steel or gold-plated. The needle gauges used are thin (just thicker than a single hair) and are not beveled, as with hypodermic needles. Upon insertion, a brief stinging sensation may be felt but should not persist beyond a couple of seconds. The practitioner may need to adjust the angle or depth of needling for the best comfort.

● What can I expect to feel during/after treatment?

○ In most cases, the needles will be retained in place for 15-40 minutes with the patient resting on the table in a comfortable environment. In general, a sense of peace is felt as tensions in the body are relieved with the gradual movement of blocked energy. Often, pain relief is felt immediately during or after treatment that can last for several days and can be reinforced with follow-up treatments.

● What should I wear to a treatment?

○ It is best to wear loose, comfortable clothing that can be pulled up beyond the knees and elbows. A loose shirt may be lifted to access Acupoints on the abdomen or lower back. It is possible that a medical gown (provided) may need to be downed in cases where the clothing cannot be moved sufficiently for the treatment.

● What are the possible risks of treatment?

○ As with any therapy, risks exist. The practitioner needs to know if the patient has a pacemaker or other implanted electronic device in case electric stimulation is used in treatment. A patient with a bleeding disorder or taking anticoagulant medications may be at greater risk for bleeding after needling or taking certain Chinese herbs. Also, a woman who is pregnant or trying to conceive requires a particular treatment plan to avoid complications. Informed consent and patient information form is required prior to any treatment in the clinic

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Meet Vivan: Acupuncturist

Vivian is an experienced Acupuncturist that is moving down to Virginia Beach from Northern Virginia. She brings great healing wisdom and expertise to our Thrive Team! Vivian earned a Master’s of Acupuncture and a Master ‘s of Chinese Herbalism degree from Southwest Acupuncture College, Boulder campus. Vivian listens with a patient ear and treats with a compassionate heart. Her philosophy is that we all possess an innate healing wisdom and the patient and therapist can work as a team to bring the body-mind into balance.