What can I expect during an acupuncture treatment?
A dull, heavy, or aching feeling often occurs when the needle is correctly placed. This is referred to as ‘de Qi’ and is considered by some traditional acupuncturists to be necessary for acupuncture to be effective, however the relief of pain can often be obtained without provoking the de Qi response. Recent fMRI studies indicate that there is a difference in the response of the brain to needling with and without the de Qi sensation.
The needles may be left in place for a moment or ranging from 15-30 minutes, and the practitioner may manipulate the needles to strengthen or reduce the flow of Qi. Lifting, twisting, and rotating are some of the needling techniques a practitioner may use.
Other Acupuncture related techniques
With electro-acupuncture needles are electrically stimulated by various frequencies and voltages by attachment to a battery-powered machine using wires with small clips on the ends. Low frequency stimulation (2-4 Hz) results in a slow onset of pain relief that outlasts the treatment for hours to days and is often cumulative by repeating treatments. High frequency stimulation (80-200 Hz) results in a pain-blocking effect that is fast in onset but does not usually outlast the stimulation.
Sometimes the needles are heated by attaching and burning a piece of rolled up Artemisia Vulgaris (mugwort) on the needle handle or by holding a cigar-shaped piece of tightly-packed ‘smokeless’ moxa near the handles of the needles. This technique is known as moxibustion or ‘moxa’. In traditional acupuncture there are indications for the use of moxa when there is a ‘cold syndrome’ or for moving energy.
The ear is a ‘micro system’, meaning that there is a point on the ear that represents every part of the body. The development of a topographical approach to the use of ear points for treating systemically began with Dr. Paul Nogier in Lyon, France in the 1950s. His interest began with the observation of several individuals from Africa who had scars on their external ears in the same location, an area that was used to treat sciatic pain
A technique involving pressure on acupuncture points using the thumbs or fingers, capable of giving relief of symptoms in responsive individuals.
Shiatsu is a Japanese massage technique that employs points that fairly closely correspond to the Chinese acupoints.