Traditional Acupuncture FAQ
- Does Acupuncture hurt?
Acupuncture rarely hurts and most people find each treatment extremely relaxing with many clients even dozing off. The needles used in acupuncture are sterile, disposable and are extremely fine, hair thin needles. When most people think of needles they immediately imagine to hypodermic syringes used to take blood or give types of medicine in liquid form. Acupuncture needles are solid, extremely thin and they are inserted gently into strategic points on the surface of the body’s skin.
- What does Acupuncture feel like?
Once the needle is inserted, there are various sensations the needle may elicit, including a feeling of warmth, heaviness, numbness or energy moving throughout the body.
- What if I am scared of needles?
The term ‘needle’ often instantly exhibits a response of a syringe taking blood or giving a vaccination or medication of some sort. Acupuncture needles are hair thin, flexible and super smooth. The sensation of the needle being inserted initially into the skin can be likened to a light pinprick, however most patients do not feel anything at all. When the needle is inserted sensations like numbness, distension, tingling, heaviness or warmth may be felt around the site of the needling. Acupuncture is extremely relaxing for many patients and it is not uncommon for patients to doze off on the treatment table.
Patients should be relaxed and confortable throughout the entire treatment, if a needle happens to become uncomfortable, please let the practitioner know and they will remove or loosen the point so that the highest level of comfort is maintained throughout the entire session.
- How deep are the needles inserted?
The depth of insertion can vary depending on the acupuncture point being needled and the location of that point. Generally speaking if there is little muscle underneath the point the needle can be inserted up to about 1cm, whilst fleshy areas (such as calves or buttocks) can increase to 2-3cms, depending on the location of the point.
- Is Acupuncture safe?
Acupuncture is a safe, effective, drug-free therapy and can help with a wide variety of symptoms or ailments. All nationally registered acupuncturists have thousands of hours training to ensure that each needle is inserted accurately, at the correct location and with a thorough understanding of anatomy and physiology to ensure the safety of each treatment.
- Does Acupuncture have any side effects?
It does not have any serious side effects and this is one of the reasons that it has such a wide acceptance within the medical community. Only sterile and disposable stainless steel needles are used. After an Acupuncture treatment it is possible, but uncommon, that you may experience tenderness, minor bleeding and/or bruising at the needle sites.
There are occasions where the original symptoms may worsen for a short period of time before relief settles in and improvements in sleep, bowels, appetite and your emotional state is a common occurrence. These are often simple indications that the treatment is beginning to work and your body is beginning to re-establish homeostasis and balance as it adjusts to each treatment.
- Who can receive Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is suitable for almost everyone, including children and the elderly. Simon has experience in treating young children both in China and in Australia.
- How long does a typical treatment take?
A standard Traditional Acupuncture session follows the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine and will take about an hour. Please allow an extra fifteen minutes to fill out any necessary paperwork before the treatment commences.
An Esoteric Acupuncture treatment takes approximately an hour and a half. This time is needed to complete both the back and front needling pattern required for the session with enough time to retain those needles long enough for the Esoteric Acupuncture effect to be fully utilised.
- When should you avoid receiving an Acupuncture treatment?
It is generally not recommended to receive acupuncture on an empty stomach, after a big meal, when intoxicated or if the individual is unusually weak and debilitated. Any medications currently being taken must be discussed with the practitioner before treatment to determine if treatment is appropriate and patients taking medication are advised to check with their GP or resident medical doctor.
- What do I wear and how should I prepare for my Acupuncture session?
Wearing loose, comfortable clothing is best as Acupuncture often involves the palpation and treatment of various parts of the body. Towels for draping is always provided to cover the client. Ideally it is advised to remove any jewellery or metal objects (belt buckles etc.) before receiving an Acupuncture treatment. It is also not ideal to have acupuncture on an empty stomach or straight after a large meal.
- How many treatments will I need?
The number of treatments required depends largely upon the severity and duration of your condition and your own goals for maintaining optimum health. The acute symptoms that are relatively recent with their onset you may require one or two treatments to be substantial, whilst with chronic or long standing conditions you may find that 4-8 treatments may be required to start having some significant changes within your body.
There may be recommendations such as dietary changes, relaxation techniques or supplements to help increase the efficiency of the Acupuncture treatments to maintain optimum health between treatments.
- Do you do electro-acupuncture, cupping, spooning, massage, etc?
Yes, if it is needed. Traditional Chinese Medicine works on a holistic framework and tailors each treatment to suit your own specific needs. With some muscle or sports injuries electro-stimulation may be needed to apply constant stimulation to a specific region or acupuncture point. Likewise, if cupping, Tui Na massage or other therapies are required they are applied as needed throughout the session.
- Can I have Acupuncture whilst pregnant?
Yes, you can have Acupuncture whilst you are pregnant. Acupuncture has been known to be effective for numerous conditions whilst pregnant. Being a fully trained and registered Acupuncturist makes you aware of the traditional points that are forbidden during pregnancy enabling all experienced and registered Acupuncturists to treat all sorts of issues relating to infertility, pregnancy and postnatal care.
- How frequently should I receive Acupuncture?
The frequency of Acupuncture depends largely on the condition being treated. Acute conditions can be treated two or three times a week, or weekly during the initial stages of the injury or condition and this is reduced as a patient improves. Chronic conditions are often treated weekly until the condition is under control. A very loose rule of thumb is about a months worth of treatments (once a week) for every year the condition has been present.
Esoteric Acupuncture treatments are finer and can take a little longer to manifest and settle within the body. It is generally recommended that there is a 3 or 4-week break between every Esoteric Acupuncture treatment.
- Will I have to have Acupuncture forever to keep my condition under control?
The aim of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture is not to have dependent clients that have an appointment each week. A client should reach a level where Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine is used as maintenance to keep the body healthy periodically when the patient has improved and is in a stable condition. It is generally recommended at this point to maintain a follow up / tune up treatment in three months or if the patient feels that a follow up treatment is necessary.
- Can Acupuncture be combined with other treatments?
Acupuncture compliments other treatments modalities as it looks at the body from the perspective of Traditional Chinese Medicine rather then the standard western biomedical model.
It is extremely important to inform any other practitioners, including your GP, if you are having Acupuncture or taking any Chinese Herbal Medicines. Likewise, it is also important to inform your Acupuncturist of any other treatments you are having so that the Acupuncture session can be fully tailored to your situation.
- Where are common Acupuncture points located?
The most common Acupuncture points are located on the forearms from the elbow to the fingers and the legs from the knee to the toes. There are also some common points on and around the abdomen and all along the muscles of your back along side your spine. Some other relatively common points are located on your head and can be used for problems impacting the head and neck.
Ear acupuncture is also extremely common and is often used (in combination with traditional points) when treating addictions of any type including drug and alcohol addiction.
- Can I claim my Acupuncture session with my Private Health insurance?
As a nationally registered Acupuncturist with the Chinese Medicine Registration Board through AHPRA and also a member of the Australian Traditional Medicine Society, depending on your health fund and level of cover you can claim back some of your fees using your private health insurance. Most health funds are refundable and can be done on the spot using the Hi-Caps terminal at Back In Line chiropractic, or ultimately all receipts include all provider numbers necessary to claim back each treatment from your health fund.