What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is one of the oldest forms of medicine in the world. Originating in China more than 2,500 years ago, acupuncture is currently one of the most thoroughly researched, practiced and respected forms of complementary medicine available anywhere.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, your overall health is determined by the quality of the Qi (sometimes translated as energy) flow through the natural pathways of your body (meridians). Acupuncture uses a variety of techniques, including placing very thin sterile needles into specific points on the body to stimulate and improve your Qi flow.
How does acupuncture work?
From a Chinese perspective, acupuncture works by stimulating specific points. Stimulating these points has many results including increasing the flow of qi and blood; correcting irregular movement of qi; stimulating associated organs and specific functions associated with that individual point; and tonifying deficiencies and releasing excesses. Because of it’s high efficacy, acupuncture is being studied from a Western biomedical model and several theories have been suggested for how it works. There is evidence of local release of endorphins near stimulated acupuncture points and that nearby connective tissue is activated creating changes throughout the body. These theories are interesting and we’ll probably see more information emerging as research continues.
What is acupuncture good for?
Acupuncture is part of the larger system of Traditional Asian Medicine and may be used to treat any condition. Doctor Bijana will speak with you about her direct experience and what she has been taught about your specific condition and your expected outcome. The list below includes conditions which Doctor Bijana has personal experience treating with acupuncture.
Degenerative disk disease
Pain from cancer
Musculoskeletal pain from sprain or strain all over the body
Neurological pain and other symptoms such as numbness, tingling or weakness
Pain and injury following a car accident
Upper Respiratory Complaints
Heartburn, reflux (GERD)
Nausea (pregnany, cancer, chemotherapy, illness)
Urinary, Menstrual and Reproductive Disorders
Heavy, irregular or painful menses
Anxiety and stress
Does acupuncture interfere with medication?
Generally, no, but your treatment is likely to improve your health and may change your need for certain medications. Be sure to follow up with your prescribing physician regularly as your symptoms change.
What are appointments like?
An acupuncture appointment will begin much like any medical office visit. Doctor Bijana will talk to you about your symptoms, gather information about your health and history, and perform a physical exam which may include taking your pulse and looking at your tongue. She will then determine which acupuncture points to utilize in your treatment and get your comfortably situated on the table. After the sterile needles are in place, you will rest with the needles in place in for 15-45 minutes. Depending on your condition, you may the turn over for additional treatment on the other side.
How should I prepare for an acupuncture treatment?
You should come to your appointment fed and hydrated, but not overly full. Use the restroom before your appointment as needed. Wear comfortable clothing. It is helpful if clothing can be raised over the knees and elbows, but if it cannot, gowns are available and sheets may be used for draping.
Does it hurt?
Acupuncture needles are very thin, so they typically do not cause much, if any, discomfort. Doctor Bijana utilizes a very gentle technique to maintain patient comfort. The initial insertion can sometimes be felt as a mild pricking sensation. Occasionally stronger sensations are felt, but these are usually either transient or the needles can be adjusted or removed for your comfort.
How does it feel? What should I expect?
Generally, acupuncture treatments are very relaxing. The needles affect the nervous system and usually cause a switch from the sympathetic “fight or flight” system to the parasympathetic “rest and digest” system. Many patients sleep during their acupuncture treatment. Local sensations vary and include: no sensation, tingling, itching, a dull mild ache, a sensation of swelling, cold, hot and feelings in other areas – such as feeling a point in your foot with a needle insertion in the hand.
Does acupuncture include other types of treatment?
Yes. An acupuncture treatment with Dr. Bijana may include other treatments such as cupping, ear seeds and home care. Moxibustion is not currently provided in office, but may be recommended for home care. She may also recommend qigong or taiji (tai chi), herbal or nutritional supplements or topical treatments to address your symptoms.
How many treatments will I need?
Number of treatments varies by your constitution and complaint. Healthy people with acute complaints such as common cold may respond well to a single treatment. For chronic complaints, a series of multiple treatments will be recommended. Doctor Bijana will discuss suggested treatment frequency with you during your visit.