What does it feel like to have Acupuncture?
The patient will be treated in a position that is determined by the needling being used, as well as other health considerations. Typically, patients will be treated on a treatment couch and will lie normally on their side, back or front. In some cases, patients may be treated while sitting. When the needle is inserted, the acupuncturist is looking to find the Qi in the meridian. When Qi (deqi) is located, both the patient and the acupuncturist usually feel a sensation which can range from and dull aching pain to a tingling shock. In the region where the needle is inserted, the patient may begin to feel a heavy sensation, which can also be felt along the meridian and effects of the treatment can be felt in areas other than the needled area. Needles will be placed and on average left for twenty minutes. Each patients experience with acupuncture is different. Some patients have a greater response than others and experience a different level of sensation and pain or discomfort. The level of sensation and discomfort is not an indicator of whether the acupuncture is working. Although sensation and discomfort may differ from patient to patient, they are still receiving the same benefits from the treatment.
In some cases, the acupuncturist may decide to stimulate the flow of Qi. This is done by connecting an electro acupuncture stimulator to pairs of needles in the patient. The electro acupuncture stimulator sends a small DC charge to the needles, which can often cause the patient to re-experience the needling sensation. Multiple pairs of needles can be stimulated at the same time. The affect the acupuncturist is trying to achieve, can be manipulated by changing the frequency and strength of the stimulation.
Cupping is a form of treatment that can be used in a treatment plan along with acupuncture. In traditional cupping, a burning taper is placed inside a cup, which is then placed on a certain area on the patient. The purpose of the taper flame is to exhaust the oxygen from the cup, creating a vacuum suction to the skin, which draws the skin into the cup. The desired effect of this treatment is to increase blood flow and the flow of Qi around the region the cup is placed. For some patients the cups remain in the same position for a while, and in other cases they are removed and re-placed on another area of the body. Another form of cupping is moving cupping which is done with oil or lotion on the skin prior to the cup being placed. The cup is then applied and moved around the area with the vacuum suction intact. This will increase movement of Qi and blood flow to the region where the cup is being used. With cupping patients may be left with small weal or bruising.
In the Chinese system gentle movement and flow of the body can produce the movement of Qi which can contribute to maintenance of health, harmony and overall well-being. If you are participating in any type of activity, awareness of creating movements that are gentle and rhythmic can have substantial benefits. From the perspective of Chinese medicine, a healthy and balanced approach to exercise includes cautiousness to not push the body to its limits, select activities that will not produce overwhelming stress on the body and being aware of your climate when choosing activities that are outdoor.