The Acupuncture Needle Technique, Part Three
What happens during an acupuncture appointment?
- The doctor will first do an intake. He/she will ask you lots of questions and will assess the injury (if that's why you are seeking out acupuncture). The questioning/assessment is important to determine which acupuncture points to needle for your particular needs.
- You may need to change into a johnny shirt or remove parts of your clothes (roll up your pant legs, take off socks, etc) so that the doctor can access all the points.
- You will lie down on the acupuncture table (often a massage table or a chiropractic adjustment table). Acupuncture sessions are supposed to be very relaxing, so take the opportunity to lie down and unwind.
- The doctor will then find all the points to be needled on your body and will prepare the clean and dirty fields (as discussed in parts one and two).
- The doctor will insert the needles and will then let you relax (while the needles are inserted) for 15-30 minutes (depending on the condition). Some doctors will step out of the room, will stay and chat, or will play music. Talk your doctor about what's best for you and your comfort level.
- After the time is up, the needles are removed and disposed of safely.
- For best results, repeat treatments are required (e.g. one session a week for 6-8 weeks total).
What is happening on an energetic/biochemical/physiologic level during an appointment?
There are two theories: the Traditional Chinese Medicine explanation and the more modern, scientific explanation.
TCM - Qi (which is energy) runs through the bodies along meridians. When we are sick (mentally, physically, emotionally, etc) the meridians are blocked. Acupuncture taps into these meridians and removes the blockage, allowing the smooth flow of Qi and thus restoring health.
Modern - While the acupuncture needles do not penetrate nerves, they are positioned in close proximity to the nervous system. Their location influences the nervous system, causing chemicals (interleukins, chemokines, hormones, etc) to be released, triggering other chemical cascades along the body's internal regulation system and ultimately stimulate the healing cascade. The needles draw the body's attention to the problem.