Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is an effective form of health care that has evolved into a complete and holistic medical system. Although acupuncture for pain management is the most common indication, acupuncture is highly effective for relaxation, stress relief, infertility, digestive disorders, migraines, allergies and many other chronic conditions. Practitioners of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine have used this noninvasive medical system to diagnose and help millions of people get well and stay healthy. An acupuncturist will place extremely fine, sterile needles at specific acupoints on the body. This activates the body’s Qi and promotes natural healing by enhancing the body’s innate recuperative powers, immune system and physical and emotional health. It also can improve overall function and well being. It is a safe, painless and effective way to treat a wide variety of medical problems.
What Is Qi?
At the core of this ancient medicine is the philosophy that Qi (pronounced “chee”) or life force energy, flows throughout the body. Qi helps to animate the body and protect it from illness, pain and disease. A person’s health is influenced by the quality, quantity and balance of Qi.
Qi circulates through specific pathways called meridians. There are 14 meridian pathways throughout the body. Each is connected to specific organs. Meridian pathways are like rivers. When a river flows, it transports life-giving water that nourishes the land, plants and people. In the same way, meridian pathways transport life-giving Qi to nourish and energize every cell, organ, gland, tissue and muscle in the body. When Qi flows freely throughout the body, one enjoys good physical, mental and emotional well-being. An obstruction of Qi anywhere in the body is like a dam, backing up the flow in one area and restricting it in others. This blockage can hinder the distribution of the nourishment that the body requires to function optimally and creates disharmony.
What Can Affect Qi?
Many things influence the quality, quantity and balance of Qi. Physical and emotional trauma, stress, lack of exercise, overexertion, seasonal changes, diet, accidents or excessive activity can lead to blockage or imbalance of Qi. Normally, when an imbalance occurs, the body naturally bounces back, returning to a balanced state of health and well being. When the disruption of Qi is prolonged or excessive, or if the body is in a weakened state, then illness, pain or disease can set in.
What Exactly are Chinese Herbs?
While acupuncture balances the body’s energies through an external force, Chinese herbal medicine treats disease by altering the body’s internal energies. Each specific herb contains it’s own natural energetic substance whose essence gently clears obstructions or corrects underlying deficiencies. While many of these botanical substances have been isolated and analyzed scientifically, it is their synergy into traditional Chinese formulas that produces their potent effects.
By way of a thorough diagnosis, Chinese medicine will analyze your body’s individual disharmonies and develop an intricate prescription to restore your internal equilibrium. If indicated, we will choose a harmonizing formula designed specifically for you.
What Will My Acupuncturist Do?
During the initial exam, a full health history will be taken. Questions will be asked regarding symptoms, health and lifestyle. Your acupuncturist will also check your pulse, look at your tongue and conduct a physical exam and evaluation. This information is then organized to create a complete, accurate and comprehensive diagnosis of where Qi has become blocked or imbalanced. After the interview process, you will receive an acupuncture treatment.
Is Acupuncture Painful?
While many people express fear or anxiety of needles before their first treatment, they are surprised by the sense of relaxation and well being that they experience both during and after their acupuncture treatment. Unlike hypodermic needles used for injections, acupuncture needles are very fine-about half the width of a human hair. There should be very little discomfort, if any, with needle insertion.
What Should I Expect During A Treatment?
There are certain transient sensations associated with the therapeutic effects of acupuncture that are not considered painful. These include euphoria, warmth, tingling, heaviness, distention, or a dull ache. Sometimes people experience a sensation of energy spreading and moving around the needle or from one point to another. After the treatment you may feel energized or may experience a deep sense of relaxation, peace and well being.
How Many Treatments Do I Need?
Since each person is unique, the number of treatments will vary. Among the determining factors are the nature, severity and history of each person’s complaint, as well as the general health of the individual. Usually one or two treatments per week are necessary to begin with. Many conditions can be alleviated very rapidly with acupuncture and Chinese herbs. Chronic illnesses may require treatment for several months or longer. Acute problems generally respond within a few treatments or a few weeks time. As in any form of medical care, the patient’s attitude, diet, determination and lifestyle will affect the outcome and course of treatment.
How Safe Is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is extremely safe. At Golden Valley Acupuncture in Encino we use FDA approved, sterile, disposable needles. They are used once and then discarded. Acupuncture is a natural, drug-free therapy, yielding no side effects except feelings of relaxation and well being.
How Should I Prepare For My Treatment?
Please come with any questions that you may have. We’re here to help you.
- Bring a list of any current medications, herbs and supplements that you take on a regular basis
- Wear loose, comfortable clothing for easy access to acupuncture points
- Never come hungry or too full
- Between visits, it is best to take notes of any changes that may have occurred such as the movement of pain from one area to another, the alleviation of pain or changes in the frequency, duration, intensity or types of symptoms
- Be prepared to come in and relax during your treatment. This is time for YOU.