Acupuncture can help you avoid surgery, reduce or eliminate the need for medications, treat your symptoms, and prevent them from reoccurring. It can stop pain, boost your energy, improve your digestion, enhance sleep, balance emotions, strengthen the functioning of your internal organs, and much more. There are many reasons why this is so. First, every symptom, no matter how mild or vague, has an indication, so all conditions are diagnosable. This offers options for those who have been unable to find answers through other channels, even when test results have been inconclusive. There is also an understanding that symptoms typically come in groups and occur together in common patterns. By addressing your main pattern of imbalance many different, seemingly unrelated symptoms can simultaneously clear up. Acupuncture can also treat the root cause of your condition, not just the outward symptoms, which can help prevent your symptoms from reoccurring. Furthermore, in this system the diagnosis indicates the nature of your condition as well as its cause. Because of this, a proper diagnosis will dictate why the type of treatment that is needed, meaning that there is always a treatment option and possible cure.
What is so different about the theory of Acupuncture?
First, it looks at the body as a whole, as a group of interconnecting, coordinated systems. There is an understanding that when one system is out of balance, it can drain the energy of other systems or cause them to have to overwork to compensate for the under-functioning system. By balancing and harmonizing the body overall, instead of focusing on one particular isolated symptom, a higher state of wellness can be achieved. Second, it is understood that there is a clear connection between our physical state and our emotional state. In other words, physical symptoms can cause emotional symptoms and vice-versa, so both are treated simultaneously. Third, as far as treatments go, Acupuncture is always individualized and considers your specific constitutional strengths and weaknesses. This means that the treatments are highly effective, specifically targeted, and fine-tuned to to address your unique presentation. Fourth, it is very effective as preventive treatments because part of the theory of Chinese medicine is that it is possible to optimize and improve the functioning of the body. Coming in periodically for evaluations and treatments can improve your overall level of wellness and save you from pain and discomfort down the road. Finally, as far as medical procedures and therapies go Acupuncture is very low risk and non-invasive. For example, Acupuncture can effectively treat pain without causing any of the permanent tissue damage associated with surgery, like scaring and restricted circulation.
How are acupuncture needles different from hypodermic needles?
Acupuncture needles are not at all like the hypodermics used to give vaccinations or draw blood. They are solid and whisker-thin, not thick and hollow like hypodermics. In fact, they are so thin that dozens of Acupuncture needles could fit inside the tip of a hypodermic! Hypodermics are also razor sharp at the tip and cut into your skin. Acupuncture needles come to a point but it is a rounded point. They literally push between the cells, causing no permanent damage and, therefore, little to no sensation. The tiny hole seals up as the needle is withdrawn so usually there is no bleeding or visible mark. Most people do not feel them when they are inserted, though some may feel a small tap or a tiny prick, like a mosquito bite. The Acupuncture needles we use are surgical grade stainless steel and are used only once.
What is an Acupuncture session like?
Sessions begin with a thorough health history, followed by traditional methods of diagnosis like tongue and pulse analysis. Sometimes the practitioner will also do palpation, especially if there is pain. The Acupuncture treatments are done with the patient lying on a massage table and an average of ten to fifteen points are selected, fewer for the children and elderly. Once the needles are in you may get various mild sensations around the points such as tingling, warmth, itching, numbness, or soreness, though many people don't feel anything. The needles are usually retained for about 30 minutes. While the needles are in the practitioner will leave the room, allowing you to relax and rest while the needles work. Some patients even fall asleep! Afterwards you may feel a little groggy, like you just woke from a nap, but this will soon pass. The full results of the treatment will unfold over the next 24 to 48 hours, with the effects getting stronger and lasting longer over the course of treatment.
What other sorts of therapies does the practitioner use?
estim: mild electrodes attached to acupuncture needles
guasha: rubbing the skin with a special tool made of jade or bone
moxibustion: smoldering herbs used to warm acupuncture points
tui na: traditional Chinese medical massage techniques like acupressure
plum blossom: a small tool with a cluster of tiny points used to stimulate the skin
How does Acupuncture work?
Acupuncture works with your chi. Like gravity and magnetism chi is a force, sometimes translated as "life force" or "motive force." It is the force that animates us and makes everything go, from electrons circling a nucleus to planets orbiting the sun. Like blood and nerve impulses, chi circulates through our limbs and internal organs in a regular pattern along specific pathways called meridians or channels. The Acupuncture points are places on these channels where the chi comes closest to the surface and can be more easily accessed. Acupuncture points have different indications depending on things like where they are located on the body and what internal organ their channel passes through. Very simply put, to treat pain we select local points along that channel and when we have internal organ issues we select points on the channel associated with that organ. Acupuncture points can stop pain, treat disease, boost your energy, counter stress, eliminate pathogens, reduce fevers and inflammation, calm emotions, harmonize and improve the overall functioning of your internal organs, and much, much more. For example, some Acupuncture points can promote bowel movements, stop sweating, or even induce labor.
How is a diagnosis made?
Diagnosis begins with your chief complaint. We gain an understanding of the nature of this condition and of your specific constitutional predispositions by asking questions about the history of your chief complaint as well as questions about your general health. Tongue and pulse analysis are other methods that we use, and they help us understand how your internal organs are functioning and what role they play in your condition. We may also do palpation, especially if there is pain, feeling for such things as tissue temperature, swelling, and muscle knots. A diagnosis is made by gathering all of this information together and looking at the big picture. This allows us to put your chief complaint into the context of your overall health, and to understand the unique nature of your condition. By looking at the whole person we can identify the main patterns of imbalance in your system and treat a large class of symptoms all at once.
What kind of education does your Acupuncturist have?
Nancy completed pre-medical undergraduate training then went on to attended a four year, 4,000 hour graduate program in Chinese Medicine, graduating with honors. Her education included classes on Chinese Medicine Theory, Differentiation of Syndromes, Chinese Medicine Diagnosis, Treatment of Disease, Tuina (Chinese Medical Massage), Acupuncture, Herbal Medicine, Herbal Formulation, Botany, Pathology, Pharmacology, Psychology, Nutrition, Pediatrics, Gynecology, Orthopedics, and more. After completing her Master's degree, she passed all four required federal Medical Boards on the first attempt with above average marks, earning her a license to practice Chinese medicine. In order to maintain licensure, she completes 40 credits of continuing education every two years. Nancy also has a Master's in Philosophy, is certified in western herbal medicine, and has over 15 years experience working in the health food business. She did internships at both the National Center for the Preservation of Medicinal Herbs and United Plant Savers and has taught at the Appalachia School of Holistic Herbalism and the Mountain Area Health Education Network (MAHEC).
How many Acupuncture treatments will I need?
Like other treatments that seek to address the underlying cause of a condition, Acupuncture is typically done in a series. This is especially true in the case of chronic imbalances that have developed over months or years. Each Acupuncture treatment builds on the next, allowing time to get to the root of the issue, resulting in lasting benefits and more permanent change. For chronic conditions treatments are usually given every week or every other week, with frequency declining as symptoms improve. With these sorts of conditions most patients see noticeable positive change in three to five treatments, with significant change or complete resolution in six to ten. Conditions that have only been present for a few days, on the other hand, are treated more often, say every day or every other day, and typically clear up in just one or two sessions.
How can I prepare for my Acupuncture treatment?
It is helpful to wear loose clothing to your appointment. This way the Acupuncture points can be easily accessed and you can usually remain at least partially clothed. Treatments are more effective if you are neither too hungry nor too full so it is advisable to eat something light an hour or two before, especially if it is in the morning. It is also beneficial to avoid doing anything strenuous or very physical any time on the day of your appointment. Going to bed at a reasonable hour and generally taking it easy on the day of your treatment can help as well.
"The greatest healing therapy is friendship and love." ~Hubert Humphrey
We are open by appointment Monday through Friday 10am to 6pm and Saturdays 10am to 5pm.
779 Haywood Road, Downtown West Asheville, NC 28806 (828) 505-3174