Acupuncture is a complete system of Medicine from China that is more than 2,500 years old, predating written history. It has been used traditionally to prevent, diagnose and treat disease, as well as to improve general health.
Chinese Medicine considers illness and pain to be imbalances in the body and it’s focus is correcting those imbalances so that the body can heal itself. It treats the whole body, not just the symptoms, getting to the underlying root cause of illness. It can treat a variety of conditions from acute illness like the common cold and ankle sprains to chronic conditions like chronic pain, digestive issues, gynecological problems, autoimmune conditions, allergies and more.
Acupuncture is practiced in all over Asia and India and has now spread all over the world. It has been the primary source of health care for over half of the worlds population for thousands of years.
What to Expect
Acupuncture treatments consist of diagnosis and treatment of your symptoms and root cause. Based on the underlying cause and current illness, I will develop a treatment plan that includes acupuncture and moxibustion, a heat therapy that uses the herb mugwort or artemesia. I may also include cupping or guasha, and/or topical or internal herbal medicine if indicated.
Made from extremely fine gauge, flexible stainless steel wire of surgical quality, acupuncture needles are nothing like a hypodermic injection needle or the needles which are used to draw blood which cut their way through the skin. Acupuncture needles pass through the skin without cutting. The tiny thin needles, about three times the width of a single hair, are specifically designed to be virtually painless. There is nothing put on, or in the needles. Needles generally do not cause bleeding on entry or removal, and are one time disposable needles. Not a fan of needles? No problem. I am also trained in the use of teishin, a Japanese style of acupuncture that uses a needle that does not penetrate the skin. The needle is simply held above the skin. I frequently use this method with children.
Most patients find the treatment very relaxing, which brings on a feeling of well-being and balance. Some people even go to sleep during treatment. You will rest for approximately 20 minutes. This is a good time to listen to your body, feel the energy moving, or just rest. If anything is too uncomfortable I can adjust the needles such that you will have a pleasant experience. It is often a time of intense relaxation.
At your first visit, we will discuss a treatment plan for you. The number of visits required is dependent on your condition and your wellness goals. Chronic conditions that have been around for years may require more treatments than an acute injury or condition. Everybody is unique and I try to tailor each treatment to you and your condition. I truly believe in the body’s intrinsic ability to heal from within and in the power of acupuncture to alleviate symptoms and create the energetic balance necessary for optimum health.
If you have other questions, visit our Get Started page or contact us.
How it Works
Many studies have been conducted to be able to explain how acupuncture works in terms we are used to. Several mechanisms of action have been identified:
Acupuncture stimulates the nerves going to the brain, causing the release of natural opioids (enkephalins, endorphins, dynorphins) in the body, shutting off pain signals AND decreasing inflammation. That dual role is important as it causes healing of the source of pain, rather than simply masking the pain itself and leaving the injury alone.
This stimulation of the brain also releases increased levels of serotonin which not only helps with pain, but also with depression, anxiety, addiction, OCD, sugar cravings among other things. The benefits from these alone have wide reaching effects.
Acupuncture also increases blood flow not only to the areas where needles are placed, but throughout the body as a result of the mechanisms described above.
White blood cells aggregate at the needle sites and are distributed via circulation throughout the body
Many acupuncture points and channels correspond with nerve pathways, and stimulation of those points and pathways are able to direct the therapeutic affects to the appropriate place. It is also why a needle placed in one part of the body affects a different part of the body.
Does it have “side effects”? Well yes, but they are rarely a cause for concern. Deep relaxation is one of the major side effects – also know as the “acu-buzz”. Occasionally you may see symptoms that had gone away come back. This is usually temporary and is indicative of the healing process. Some people experience an emotional release of emotions that have been stifled while powering through life. This is usually a positive experience but can be surprising.
Know Your Acupuncturist
The training required for licensed acupuncturists is extensive. It requires a Masters Degree with most programs being 3-4 years and more than 2000 hours of training, including a year long clinical internship. This is the level of training that I have achieved by attending the Jung Tao School of Classical Chinese Medicine.
The State of Georgia requires acupuncturists to pass the National Acupuncture Board Exams administered by the NCCAOM, as well as completion of continuing education courses on a regular basis.
You may have seen the term Medical Acupuncture which is a term used by medical doctors who have taken a short course in acupuncture of about 300 hours. Medical Acupuncturists have typically not taken the National Acupuncture Board Exams and do not have in depth training in all aspects of Chinese Medicine. They are also not required to complete continuing education courses in Acupuncture.
Physical Therapists are beginning to practice “dry needling” using an acupuncture needle to stimulate trigger points. PT’s have only to take a 50 hour course in order to be able to perform this kind of treatment. This practice is banned in many states due to the minimal training and increased incidence of accidental puncture of the lung and other organs by inexperienced therapists. They are not required to take any continuing education in dry needling. Further, you will not get the same benefits from dry needling that you will get from Acupuncture because acupuncture addresses the whole body whereas dry needling only addresses a symptom. If you want to experience “dry needling”, seek an acupuncturist like me who is experienced in treating trigger and motor points.
It is of utmost importance that you ask about the credentials of your acupuncturist or anyone who claims to be able to use an acupuncture needle to promote healing.
If you have questions about how Chinese Medicine can help you regain your health, please schedule a consultation with Rawls.