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Monday, May 01, 2006 

What to Expect in an Acupuncture Treatment

When you are ready to have an acupuncture treatment, get a referral from an organization such as the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture to make sure that they are certified. On your initial visit, the acupuncturist will take your medical history to make a clear diagnosis of your condition. There will be questions stemming from both traditional Western and Chinese perspectives. In skilled hands, acupuncture treatment is a relatively painless procedure.

For the treatment of a headache, that we discussed in the previous article, you will sit comfortably, and the points on each hand will be first sterilized with alcohol. The acupuncturist will then insert thin, disposable needles to a depth of approximately 3-5 mm.

Your hands may react to this with numbness or a "twinge" feeling-in some cases this is accompanied by a slight twitching of the muscle between the thumb and hand. Most individuals who have received this treatment reported feeling their body relax and a pleasant "tingling" sensation while the needles are in place. In Chinese medicine, this response is called "de qi" or "obtaining energy" and is seen as an important part of the treatment procedure.

There are other methods of stimulating the acupuncture point, depending on the ailment that is being treated. Some of these include; the burning of the herb Artemesia Vulgaris just above the surface of the skin or on the end of a needle, or placing a cup over the acupuncture point. Your acupuncturist will monitor your progress-usually the needles are kept in place for 15-30 minutes and then they are removed.

In the case of ailments that require multiple treatments, your condition may appear to worsen in the beginning as your body adapts to the therapy, this is usually indicative of an effective final result. Each treatment is geared to the individuals particular needs, working in stages.

Do not be alarmed if you do not see results in your first few treatments, in most cases it takes a period of six to eight sessions to experience effective symptom relief. Once the desired level of relief has been reached, the therapeutic benefits lasts for three to nine months with one or two additional treatments to complete it.

Next in the series: Choosing the Right Acupuncturist for You

 

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