How is it done?
Generally, after an acupuncturist assesses a patient’s needs, medical condition, etc, treatments start. From what I’ve been told, it works in doses, so several sessions are needed to clear up problems. Having said that, I’ve spoken to some people who felt pain relieve almost instantly after treatment. According to my physio, some experience rapid results whereas others don’t respond as quickly.
Some acupuncturists will stick up to about 12 needles into their patients, depending on their condition. I received only 3 in my first round – one in the upper front part of my shin, another on the top of my foot, and another directly in the area that has been super painful lately – the outer right edge of my right heel. I sat up with my legs extended on the treatment bed the whole time, and the three needles were inserted into the areas mentioned above. They stayed there for about 15 minutes. Did it hurt? I’ll get to that in a minute.
How exactly does acupuncture work?
In Chinese medicine, it is believed that healthy people have an optimal balance of yin and yang of chi. You’re probably wondering, “Yin? Yang? Chi? What??” Here’s a quick explanation of each:
Yin and yang -These are opposites. Yin is associated with words like dark, hidden, feminine, water, soft, cold, wet, passive, and night. By contrast, yang is associated with light, heat, fire, masculine, aggressive, dry, hard, and day. Yin and yang balance each other, and fit together as a whole. Yes, just like those little doodles you probably used to scribble all over your notebooks when you were in school. I know I sure did. They were even on my pogs . But had you asked if I knew what they meant, I wouldn’t have had a clue.
Chi – Also known as ‘qi‘ in Chinese or ‘prana‘ in India, chi is the life force, or the energy that exists in everything around us and inside us. Within our bodies, chi flows along lots of little pathways, or meridians.
There are about 350 acupuncture points in the body which can be used to access the energy that flows along them. In Chinese medicine, people that are ill are believed to have an imbalance somewhere along these pathways. The theory is that if the acupuncture needles are positioned in just the right places, energy flows can be brought back into balance, and hence, return the person to health. In Western medicine, acupuncturists use the points as places through which to stimulate nerves, tissues and muscles. The stimulation helps increase bloodflow to the affected areas, which over time, encourages healing.
So how big are those needles?