Tracy Saraduke, RN, LicAc, MAc
Acupuncture in Evergreen
Evergreen, Colorado    

(303) 670-9181


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COLORADO SERENITY - January 2005 (What to Expect with Acupuncture)

Maybe your doctor has prescribed acupuncture. Maybe your friends have said “give it a try” or perhaps you’ve seen the national media attention and have been reading this column. Now you are considering making an appointment but don’t know what to expect.

Recently one of my patients told me how nervous she had been during her first session because she didn’t know what it would be like. She wanted to share her experience with others who may be thinking of trying acupuncture.

“Before acupuncture, I was afraid of needles and I distrusted doctors. None of the medications or surgeries had helped me. I knew that others (my mother included) had great results from acupuncture, but I was reluctant to try. Finally, I was so frustrated with health problems that I gave in.

I was amazed at the depth of this experience. It was not like having a two-minute exam, and receiving a prescription for expensive drugs. I was carefully examined and treated on the spot. There was nothing kooky about the visits, although they were completely foreign to my understanding. I discovered that there is a science and an art to this medicine that has a history of thousands of years.

At my first visit, the acupuncturist took my medical history. Then, as with subsequent visits, I was examined—but it was different from the usual doctor’s office exam. She also asked about lifestyle, including appetite, sleep, elimination, exercise, female issues, emotional issues, stressors and how much I sweat. She observed my posture, voice, mood, and checked my abdomen. She asked the history of my current complaints, and my family’s health history. She took in all of this information because, she said, ‘A good acupuncturist is a detective, not just someone who puts needles into predefined acupoints.’

The treatment melted in with our conversation. Before I knew it, the needling was done. She said my pulses were good, and I could get dressed. She had felt the change in my pulses and knew the effect of the treatment before I noticed the change in how I felt. Within a week, my chronic complaints were gone.

She said that many people experience dramatic results, but not to expect complete relief of all symptoms after one treatment. Most practitioners see patients for four to six weeks, expecting to see significant results in their patients within eight treatments. Having followed this regime and having chronic swelling and infection vanish, I decided I’d keep going until I felt completely healthy. I also became curious about the theory behind this medicine. From reading and asking questions, I developed a better understanding of acupuncture.”

I have found that many of my patients, after experiencing the benefits of acupuncture, want to learn more about the theory behind acupuncture.

Acupuncture is one of the oldest medical practices. It balances the vital life energy called Qi (pronounced "chee"). Qi moves along meridians in the body. In a healthy person, the Qi circulates freely, in a natural state of balance. However, when Qi is blocked (which happens for a variety of reasons), health problems or serious diseases can occur.

Meridian therapy is a modern form of acupuncture that moves Qi past the blockages to restore health. The acupuncture techniques and needles used in meridian therapy are different than in traditional acupuncture. In meridian therapy, the practitioner uses only a few hair-thin needles and, in many cases, will not even insert the needles into the body. The result is a stress-free, pain-free session.

The most important diagnostic tool the meridian therapist has is the pulse. There are 12 pulses felt at multiple locations on both wrists, each align with a meridian in your body. I check the pulses repeatedly throughout your treatment to measure the effect of each step in the therapy.

During the acupuncture session I will also ask questions and take notes. Sometimes a casual word or phrase can give me the information I needs to understand how the Qi is moving in your body.

Meridian therapy sessions usually last from 30 to 45 minutes.Treatments are once or twice a week until the Qi has been restored to its proper balance (and related symptoms have been reduced or eliminated). After that, treatments are spaced to help maintain good health.

Tracy Saraduke
Practicing 20 years in Evergreen.

About Tracy