So, what is it like?
answers to a few questions
What does an acupuncture appointment entail?
The appointment begins with an in depth intake, including a full history of symptoms and life experiences, sometimes going as far back as childhood. Be mindful that at times, details that one might find irrelevant are of great use for the practitioner in understanding the symptoms a patient is experiencing. The practitioner of Traditional Chinese medicine is also interested in the appearance of the tongue and the feeling of radial pulses. It is important that you avoid eating foods that stain the tongue, such as berries, beets, mangoes or other colored foods for the day of your appointment, as these items can color the tongue and misguide the practitioner in his/her interpretation. After the exam is completed, you will be asked to lay on a massage table or sit in a comfortable chair, depending on your condition and intended treatment. Following this, the actual acupuncture treatment can last anywhere between 20-40 min, for a total of a 50-60 min visit. A shorter treatment does not equate to a less effective treatment. Sometimes the most powerful treatments are just a few minutes long but require a period of stillness following the treatment for energetic shifts to take place accordingly.
What do acupuncture needles feel like?
Acupuncture needles are very thin bimetal solid (not hollow) needles. Most often, their actual insertion into the superficial layer of the skin is hardly felt at all. Once the needle has reached the superficial layer of the skin, the practitioner then will slowly insert it deeper. Its ultimate depth depends on the location of the needle on the body and when the "deQi" sensation is felt Once a needle has reached its intended depth, a mild “dull ache” or “tingly” sensation is often reported. This sensation is termed “deQi” sensation. It means that the needle has connected with the circulating Qi inside the body.
What if I don’t believe in acupuncture?
Doctor Nadeau's teacher would jokingly would say, “The great thing about acupuncture is that you don’t have to believe in it for it to work”. Horses and dogs don’t decide whether they believe in it before they receive treatments, yet it works. In the same way, the doubtful patient will still experience results. However, doubt can obscure our view of phenomenons happening all around us that don’t fit our respective worldviews. Therefore, a doubtful person could be limited in their appreciation of what acupuncture is doing for them. Regardless, I invite your doubtful boyfriend or mother-in-law to experience what acupuncture has to offer to them.
What if I am over sensitive to needles?
There are various approaches that can be used to stimulate acupuncture points that do not require needling of the points. For instance, moxibustion stimulates points with heat. As well, acupressure, which simply means that a point is stimulated via the application of direct and prolonged pressure, also stimulates acupuncture points. Using a tuning fork can similarly stimulate points via sound vibrations, which provides a great way to treat children, for instance. There are also press needles that can be used directly on acupuncture points.
Are there specific things I should refrain or be concerned about following a treatment?
After a treatment, most people feel deeply relaxed or as if they are floating. Though most feel present and aware enough to drive themselves home, on rare occasions waiting or getting a ride home is wisest. The rest of the day should be spent doing light activities and avoiding rigorous activities like going for a moderately strenuous hike, shoveling snow, or resuming outdoor labor. Avoiding dense, heavy meals and alcohol is also best. In the same line of thought, avoiding sexual activity the night following a treatment also avoids putting stress on the physical and energetic systems of the body.