What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is the art of inserting flexible, hair–thin needles into specific points on the body to help a person heal. An acupuncture point is a point at which qi (pronounced “chee,” meaning the body’s life force or vital energy) gathers and may be accessed. Acupuncture is the most well–known branch of Chinese Medicine.
What is Chinese Medicine?
Chinese Medicine is one of the oldest systems of health care in the world, dating back around 4,000 years. It encompasses acupuncture, moxibustion (the burning of mugwort near acupuncture points), herbal medicine, diet therapy, massage techniques, and qigong (energy cultivation/ exercise). In Oregon, people who are licensed to practice Chinese Medicine are called “Licensed Acupuncturists,” a title which tends to obscure the other branches of the medicine.
How does Acupuncture work?
Acupuncture works by guiding the body back to its natural state of balance so that the body can heal itself. This is accomplished by regulating the qi, energy, which flows along pathways called “meridians” that connect the different areas of the body and the internal organs. Each meridian is its own functional system with its own particular responsibilities. Just as the Western Medical model has the digestive system, the endocrine system, and the nervous system, the Chinese model references the Spleen meridian, the Liver meridian, the Kidney meridian, etc. When the qi gets stuck or depleted in any of the meridians, many seemingly unrelated problems arise. For example, tiredness, abdominal bloating, and difficulty falling asleep might seem like very different symptoms, but in Chinese Medicine, they could be seen as part of the same underlying pattern of Spleen qi deficiency. We then treat the pattern and all the symptoms tend to improve. Studies have shown acupuncture affects the nervous system by stimulating the hypothalamus, pituitary, and adrenal glands, which respond by releasing neurotransmitters such as endorphins and serotonin, the body’s natural painkillers and “feel–good” chemicals. Other measurable physiological responses include enhanced blood circulation, decreased inflammation, and increased production of T-cells.
What can Chinese Medicine treat?
Chinese Medicine is a comprehensive holistic health care system that can treat a wide variety of conditions on the physical, emotional, and spiritual levels, including: stress, anxiety, depression, fatigue, chronic and acute pain, arthritis, headaches, colds and flu, asthma, allergies, insomnia, PMS, infertility, menopausal symptoms, irritable bowel syndrome, and dozens more. It is also an excellent way of keeping the body’s energy in balance so that imbalances, and subsequent problems, do not arise.
What have other patients experienced?
“Brodie has been a major force in my move from debilitating pain to being able to function normally.”
– Bobbie Weber
I’m much less susceptible to immunity breakdown, colds and effects of stress due to her good care.”
– Cynthia Spencer
“My chronic lower back and neck pain are gone, blood pressure and cholesterol are under control.
I am happier, calmer, less anxious, more balanced, more aware and conscious, more in touch with my life force.”
– Susan Richardson
What might a treatment involve?
At your first visit, we will discuss your health concerns and your health history. Then I will take your pulse and look at your tongue. Since acupuncture is just one branch of Chinese Medicine, your treatment may well include other tools in the Chinese Medical toolbox. Moxibustion might be used to warm and stimulate acupoints. Cupping or gua sha might be used to relax tight muscles or open up congested lungs. Click here to learn more about cupping and gua sha. In addition, we will talk about how lifestyle and dietary changes may help bring you back into balance.
What does it feel like?
Acupuncture needles are approximately as thin as a human hair and insertion is typically painless. You may not feel anything, or you may feel a slight prick as the needles are inserted, followed by a sensations something “plugging in” to your body’s energy. You may experience this as a strong tingle, warmth, or heaviness as the qi is accessed. The needles are generally left in for 20–40 minutes. Most people find acupuncture a very relaxing experience, and it is not uncommon for patients to fall asleep during a treatment. If you are ever uncomfortable for any reason during an acupuncture treatment, please notify your practitioner immediately.
How much do treatments cost?
Your first visit, which lasts 90 minutes and includes an extensive medical history and (usually) acupuncture costs $139. Follow-up visits cost $92 and last about an hour.
How many treatments are needed?
Most people see some significant change in their condition after coming in weekly for only a handful of treatments. To ensure the best possible plan of care, I ask that new patients schedule their first 4-6 appointments when scheduling the first appointment because my schedule usually books out 6-8 weeks in advance and acupuncture works best with momentum. Of course, the longer a condition has been developing, the longer the course of treatment that may be needed to re-balance or rebuild the body’s energy. After that, tune–up treatments once a season are usually sufficient to keep the body in balance so that symptoms do not recur. If you are willing to take Chinese Herbs, you will likely need far fewer office visits. Likewise, your attitude and willingness to make changes in your diet and lifestyle may play a major role in accelerating your healing process.
Are treatments covered by insurance?
Sometimes yes, sometimes no – please check your policy. Regardless of whether or not your insurance will reimburse you for treatments, your payment in the form of cash or check is expected at the time of your appointment. We then provide you with a detailed receipt which you may submit to your insurance company for reimbursement. We do not deal with insurance companies; our relationship is with you. This system allows us to keep costs low for out-of-pocket and insurance patients alike (and allows Brodie to stay focused on Chinese Medicine).
Is acupuncture safe?
Yes. While there are risks involved in any medical procedure, when administered by a trained acupuncturist, acupuncture is considered very safe. At Life in Balance Acupuncture, only sterile, single–use, disposable needles are used. Click here to learn about Chinese Herbs.
Anything I should know before I arrive?
Please dress in loose clothing and do have something to eat a few hours before your visit. Your first visit will include a thorough intake interview (remember to bring your New Patient Intake Form) as well as acupuncture, and will last about 90 minutes.
What can I expect after treatment?
It’s not unusual to feel spacey after a treatment. Let it be okay if you need to rest afterward. Give yourself time for things to settle. Wait until you feel grounded again before driving.
You may feel energized or tired, emotional or elated. You may notice all kinds of sensations in your body. Things may get better; things may flare up. All of these are possible and to be noted and welcomed. Simply observe and report back. We’ve set a process in motion – trust that process. Remember, we just moved a bunch of Qi!
If you’ve had cupping or gua sha, drink some extra water and keep the affected areas of your body covered and warm. If you drink alcohol, a little red wine could be beneficial.
In the treatment of pain, often something will feel sore the day after treatment and much better two of three days later. It isn’t possible to predict whether your best day after acupuncture will be the day of, day after, or day after that. But it’s likely that the changes that you notice will need to be reinforced in order for the body to get the message and for that change to be lasting. Like speaking a language, treatments build on each other.
Ready to make an appointment? Interested in a 20-minute consult first? Give us a call: (541) 757-4868
Is there anything else we can answer for you? Feel free to call with any specific questions you may have.
Get an in-depth look at acupuncture:
East Meets West: Acupuncture and the Future of Health Care in America
Click here to order your DVD copy of this award-winning documentary.
A great introduction to the philosophy and treatment strategies of Chinese Medicine. This film combines treatment room footage with interviews with acupuncturists (including Brodie) and other health care providers, and testimonials from patient with a vision for a integrated medicine of the future that combines the best of Chinese and Western medicine.
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