COLORADO SERENITY - January 2005 (What to Expect with
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.
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
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.’
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
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.