What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is the use of hair-thin, sterile needles at specific points on the body, head and ears. Acupuncture is said to regulate qi (pronounced “chee”). Chinese medical theory recognizes qi as the vital source that flows through the body along distinct pathways (meridians), supporting the functions of all organs and tissues. By stimulating acupuncture points (more 360 points along 14 meridians), acupuncture can help bring qi back into correct flow, supporting healthy organ function, promoting healing and immunity, and relieving pain. This practice has been in continuous use for more than 3,000 years. Modern research has demonstrated that acupuncture can increase blood circulation, balance biochemicals (hormones, neurotransmitters and endorphins), boost immunity, stimulate brain activity, and more.
What can acupuncture treat?
Acupuncture has been recognized by the World Health Organization as effective for treating 43 different disorders. These include:
- Back Pain
- Chronic and Acute Pain
- Diabetes and Asthma
- Depression and Anxiety
- Digestive disorders
- Headaches and Migraines
- Menopausal Symptoms
- PMS and Menstrual Pain
- Respiratory Disorders
- Sports injuries
- Support for Cancer Patients
- Weight Loss
Is acupuncture safe?
Acupuncture is safe when performed by a licensed acupuncturist. In the state of New Mexico, acupuncturists are licensed as Doctors of Oriental Medicine meeting the requirements of thousands of hours of training in Chinese medicine and passing four national certification boards and the New Mexico State Board.
Additionally, acupuncture needles are regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA requires that the needles are manufactured and labeled according to specific standards of sterility, non-toxicity and labeled for single use by qualified practitioners only.
The World Health Organization (WHO) comments that unlike many drugs, acupuncture is non-toxic and adverse reactions or side effects are minimal. These side effects are often minimal bleeding or bruising. Very rarely, one may feel just a bit worse after acupuncture before feeling better. When comparing acupuncture with other methods for managing pain, acupuncture is a safer alternative to pain medications. For instance, acupuncture and morphine have similar rates of efficacy when used for chronic pain. However, unlike with the use of morphine, a patient does not have the risk of the negative side effect of dependency with acupuncture.
Does acupuncture hurt?
The insertion of fine, sterile, one-time use disposable needles can often create a pinching or pulling sensation which usually disappears momentarily. Most patients report little or no pain with needle insertion. After the needles are inserted, most people are able to achieve a deep state of relaxation and often fall asleep. If you are fearful of needles, please notify the doctor so she can be sensitive to your concerns. The doctor may choose another way to treat you.
How long does a session last?
Standard visits last up to about an hour. For new patients, it can be expected to last up to an hour and a half. In order to come up with the best treatment plan to best meet your needs, Dr. Lujan will review your medical history and interview you for more details concerning your reason for seeking acupuncture. On consecutive visits thereafter, you will only provide health updates and changes from your last appointment so she can customize a treatment to fit your needs on that particular day. Please allow up to an hour for a visit to accommodate check in time, changing clothes if necessary and a 35 to 45 minute acupuncture session. Schedule too busy and you have limited time? Try a “Stress Buster” treatment and experience stress and pain relief in a brief 20 to 30 minute session.
How many sessions will it take to feel better or to know acupuncture is working?
Depending on the severity of their condition and how long they have suffered with a particular condition, most people feel some immediate relief with their pain after the first treatment. Acupuncture works better with frequency. It may take 6 to 10 treatments to experience the greatest changes in your health or pain relief. Sometimes, people feel great relief or that their health concern is resolved after as few as 3 treatments. In order to maintain good health and vitality or too best cope with chronic disease or stress, many continue with weekly or monthly treatments.
How should I dress?
It is ideal to wear loose, comfortable clothing. Patient gowns are also available.
How should I prepare for my acupuncture appointment?
Please bring your completed “New Patient Packet” with a complete list of the medications and supplements that you are taking to your first appointment. If you have insurance, please bring your photo ID and insurance cards. We ask that you arrive 15 minutes early so that information may be recorded before your appointment. For all acupuncture appointments, make sure you have eaten and are well hydrated before your visit. To optimize your results, it is best not plan any strenuous physical activity after your acupuncture appointment. For most people, they are able to return to work or school after an appointment often, feeling refreshed and more focused.
For more information visit these resource websites:
National Institute of Health-national Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Office of Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine
National Certification Commission for Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine