What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a catalyst for healing the body. Embracing Daoist principles, this very ancient system of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has been in practice for more than 2000 years.
Acupuncture practitioners insert extremely fine, disposable needles with rounded tips just below the surface of the skin. This stimulates qi, the body's cyclic energy flow (pronounced “chee” or “chi”). By balancing and redirecting qi, an acupuncture practitioner encourages the body's natural capacity for self-healing. In turn, this improves the way the body functions.
How does acupuncture work?
Qi flows through the body along channels known as meridians. The body contains nearly 500 different acupuncture points located along these meridians. Modern science has actually shown that the body gives off slight electrical charges at these points. An imbalance or blockage in the flow of qi at these points can cause many ailments. Imbalances in qi flow can be caused by stress, anxiety, anger, fear, poor nutrition, and even changes in the weather. Acupuncturists concentrate on stimulating the body's energy flow by unblocking these meridians. By restoring qi balance and flow, acupuncture allows the body to heal itself naturally, rather than through the more invasive use of synthetic drugs and injections via the bloodstream.
What conditions does acupuncture treat?
Acupuncture can treat a variety of conditions. Acupuncture can also affect blood pressure, circulation, the heart's rhythm and stroke volume. It can also regulate the secretion of gastric acid and hormones and stimulate the production of red and white blood cells.
Acupuncture has even been known to lower cholesterol. Through stimulation of qi, acupuncture practitioners can restore balance to the body's internal energy system, promoting energy, good health and healing.
Is acupuncture hygienic?
Yes, acupuncture is completely hygienic. Only sterilized, disposable needles are used.
Does acupuncture hurt?
Most patients find acupuncture painless and soothing. Some even fall asleep during treatment! It's natural for people who have grown up getting vaccinated to associate the extremely thin acupuncture needles with vaccination needles, which are much larger.
Acupuncture needles are inserted just underneath the skin. Dr. Wu uses the kind of needles that have plastic tubes that press against the skin before the needle is inserted. “The pressure of the tube against the skin distracts the patient from the minor prick of the needles,” Dr. Wu says. Thanks to the use of the plastic tube, most patients do not feel pain at all.
Patients should rest assured that Dr. Wu strives to minimize any discomfort through her gentle and painless technique.
How deep do the needles go?
Needles may be inserted from one quarter of an inch to one inch below the skin's surface, depending on the location of the acupuncture point on the body and the condition being treated. Dr. Wu also considers the patient's size, age and constitution when determining how deeply the needles will penetrate the skin.
How long will the needles be in place?
This varies with each patient. Typically needles are inserted for 20-30 minutes at a time.
What happens during an appointment?
The first part of any appointment is based on conversation, as Dr. Wu listens while the patient describes the symptoms they have been experiencing. She then asks about the patient's medical history in order to get a feel for his or her overall health. Dr. Wu will also takes the patient's pulse in three different places on each wrist in order to determine how well certain organs are functioning. She also examines the patient's tongue. The tongue's color and coating can reveal a lot about a person's overall health. Sometimes patients are very surprised when Dr. Wu is able to anticipate their symptoms.
After the consultation, Dr. Wu sterilizes the skin and inserts tiny disposable needles into certain acupuncture points on the body, depending on the patient's condition. Dr. Wu generally utilizes 6-15 needles per treatment, each placed in a specific location in order to optimize qi flow. After 20-30 minutes, Dr. Wu removes the needles. Most patients find the process very relaxing, and many fall asleep during treatment.
How many treatments does it take?
Depending on the condition being treated, acupuncture treatments can last from one week to several months, or longer. Typically, acupuncture patients begin by receiving treatments twice a week at the clinic with Dr. Wu. As a patient's condition improves, treatments become less frequent until the patient is cured of their illness. While some illnesses remain incurable, acupuncture can go a long way toward alleviating discomfort. Some patients come to Dr. Wu for a “tune up” a few times every year in order to maintain an optimum level of health and keep illnesses at bay.
When will I feel better?
Depending on a patient's condition and how their body responds to acupuncture, it can take up to six treatments before the patient notices a marked change in the way they feel.
“Some patients feel better after one treatment,” says Dr. Wu. “Other patients need five or six treatments before they feel better.”
I'm afraid of needles. Is it possible to undergo treatment without needles?
There are techniques used by Dr. Wu that do not involve needles. They are Electrical Micro-Current, Cupping, Moxibusion, T.D.P. Lamp, Acupressure, Magnetic Devices, and Dermal Friction Technique (Gwa Sha).
However, Dr. Wu cautions that the best results are obtained by using needles. “In the experience of most acupuncture practitioners, regular acupuncture needles work best,” she says.
Dr. Wu also specializes in herbal treatments that can be used without acupuncture.
Is there anything I should or should not do before my appointment?
There are a few Dos and Don’ts to follow before your acupuncture treatment:
Don’t eat a heavy meal right before your appointment.
However, Do make sure you have eaten a meal earlier in the day.
Don’t engage in sexual activity immediately before your appointment.
Don't brush or scrape your tongue coating when you brush your teeth before your appointment, as Dr. Wu may want to examine your tongue.
Don’t drink anything that may color your tongue coating before your appointment, such as coffee, soda, or juice. Spicy foods will also change the tongue's color. However, Do stay hydrated by drinking water or tea, as neither of these affect the color of the tongue.
Do try to come to the appointment in a relaxed state of mind so as to help your body accept the treatment to its fullest.
Can acupuncture be used as preventative medicine?
Yes. Research has now verified that acupuncture stimulates immune functioning, which can increase your resistance to bacterial and viral infection. Acupuncture increases overall energy and vitality, and it helps the body respond to injury and stress. Regular, monthly treatments can help you maintain good health and a sense of well-being.
Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine Clinic
One Lake Bellevue Drive Suite 105
Bellevue, WA 98005