If you’re anything like how I used to be, the idea of needles moves you to full-blown sobs, paralyzing anxiety, and sometimes even full-body convulsions. Okay, it wasn’t THAT bad, but you get the point. Visiting the doctor’s for vaccinations as a little girl was the equivalent of a mix between World War III and seeing the end of Nicholas Sparks’ The Notebook for the very first time. Don’t worry there was a happy ending: my Mom would hold my hand the entire time, and bribe me with sushi for dinner that night. Looking back and picturing myself receiving an acupuncture treatment then? Let’s just say, no amount of sushi in the world would convince me of that.
For those of us self-declared as “needle-challenged,” acupuncture sounds like the last thing we would want to do. Ever. But if I can overcome my fear (not to mention my sobs and convulsions), so can you.
Here at the Dova Center, we’ve compiled a list of Frequently Asked Questions to help you prepare for your first treatment:
1. What will my acupuncture treatment be like?
The practitioner uses sterile, one-time use, disposable needles. The needles are about as thin as a human hair and are generally inserted no deeper than ¼ – ½” into the skin. The practitioner will use between four and 16 needles depending on the patient’s condition, age, and constitution. Initially, at the insertion of the needle, the patient may feel a dull, achy feeling or heat, depending on your level of sensitivity. The needles are then left in for about 10 to 45 minutes.
2. How long does acupuncture and herbal medicine take to work?
This depends on the individual person and what the treatment is addressing. Often relief can be felt immediately in an acute condition when treating with acupuncture and/or herbs. With chronic conditions, some results may be seen as early as two weeks, but usually requires taking herbs and having acupuncture treatments for several months.
3. How many acupuncture treatments or herbal prescriptions do I need?
That depends upon the duration, severity, and nature of your complaint. Acute conditions generally take less time to heal, sometimes only one treatment is necessary. A series of five to fifteen treatments may resolve some chronic illnesses, as well as the patient’s commitment to keeping appointments and maintaining their daily doses of prescribed herbs and lifestyle recommendations. Degenerative and/ or debilitating illnesses may take several months of treatment.
RELAX. Breathe. Rest. There is no reason to be frightened. Relax your body and mind and let the needles do their work.
Do not move suddenly or change your position. Call for your practitioner if you feel uncomfortable during your treatment.
Few people experience lightheadedness, faintness, nausea, cold sweats, or shortness of breath during their treatment. This may occur if you are nervous. If this occurs, call for Gina so she can either readjust or remove the needles.
Also, let her know if you feel an increasing amount of pain or burning sensation during the treatment.
Be good to yourself. Relax and allow the treatment to settle into your system.
Try to schedule your appointment so you do not have to rush around or go back to work right after your treatment.
Do not eat a heavy meal right after your treatment. Wait at least one hour before eating a meal.
Wait at least 2 hours before exercising vigorously. A casual walk is fine, as long as it is relaxing.
So, now that you’re an acupuncture pro, book your appointment today, and overcome your fear. And if you’re still nervous? Don’t worry, we’ll hold your hand the entire time. Maybe even bribe you with sushi.