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What is Acupuncture?

Several thousand years ago, East Asian practitioners discovered that the body forms disharmonies as a result of the various physical and mental stresses of life. Oriental medical theory explains these disharmonies as an imbalance of opposing forces called yin and yang. This imbalance disrupts the movement of the body's vital energy (qi) along the meridian pathways, which are channels through which the body's energy is thought to flow supporting every cell, tissue, muscle, organ, and gland. Acupuncture restores the smooth flow of qi. When qi is flowing smoothly and balanced, the body's self-healing abilities are activated, and stability and harmony can be reached.  There are more than over 1,000 acupuncture points, which have been confirmed by electromagnetic research.  By inserting and manipulating needles at specific points on the body, I am able to return the body to its natural balance and promote the body's ability to heal itself.

What Does Acupuncture Feel Like?  Does it Hurt?

Many first-time patients are concerned that acupuncture needles will feel like hypodermic injections at the doctor’s office. They won't. Acupuncture uses hair-thin, flexible needles that you will hardly feel when I insert them. When I gently stimulate the needles they may produce a unique sensation that Oriental medicine calls de qi. Patients often describe de qi as a heavy, achy pressure, or spreading, traveling feeling. You may also feel an "electrical" sensation moving down the meridian pathways, though this is less common. Most patients find these acupuncture sensations deeply satisfying and leave the treatment feeling relaxed both mentally and physically.

How Does it Work?

There are several theories that have been suggested to explain how acupuncture works.  The Neorotransmitter Theory suggests that acupuncture stimulates the release of specfic neurotransmitters that can affect the body's immune system.  The Gate Control Theory suggests that acupuncture activates specific receptors that inhibit pain stimuli transmission.  The Autonomic Nervous System Theory suggests that acupuncture triggers the release of norepinepherine, acetylcholine, and opioids which affect changes in the ANS and thus reduce pain.  The Vascular-interstitial Theory suggests that acupuncture affects the electrical system of the body transfering electrical energy and material between normal and injured tissue, fascilitating healing.  And lastly, the Blood Chemistry Theory explains that Acupuncture can both raise and reduce peripheral blood components and thus regulate the body toward homeostasis.  Chinese Medicine explains how acupuncture works in a different way or "language" so to speak.  Every symptom that a person experiences is sign of an imbalance within the body in terms of Qi, Blood, Yin, and Yang.  And where there is pain, there is stagnation along the meridians.  A detailed history taking, along with tongue and pulse diagnosis reveals the pieces to the puzzle to determine where these imbalances reside.  Acupuncture points are selected, along with other techniques to bring the body back to a state of balance again.

How Many Treatments Will I Need?

The benefits of acupuncture are cumulative, so more then one treatment is often necessary. The number of sessions needed will vary according to the duration, severity, and nature of your condition.  For acute conditions you can expect to have 5 to 10 treatments, but you will usually begin to feel relief after just the first one or two.  These effects should increase and last longer with each consecutive treatment. Chronic conditions may take longer to respond. Preventative treatments and treatments for general well-being may also be scheduled on an as-needed basis.

Is Acupuncture Safe?

Yes. Acupuncture is used by millions of Americans every year. Acupuncturists are required to undergo extensive education, including detailed study of human anatomy and training in Clean Needle Technique. I have passed comprehensive national board examinations administered by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) and am licensed by the state. As required by law, I use pre-sterilized, disposable, single-use needles to ensure your complete safety.

Your First Visit

When you arrive for your first acupuncture appointment I will ask you to complete a comprehensive intake form. The acupuncture intake form asks questions about your current state of health, past illnesses, and family history. These questions are important because the holistic approach of Oriental medicine takes everything into account. Your current symptoms may not seem related to past health issues, but our bodies are complex landscapes and everything that happens to them leaves its mark.

After reviewing your intake form, we will discuss your condition, and I will examine your pulse and tongue, which are two of the basic diagnostic methods of Oriental Medicine. The acupuncture points I choose will depend on your condition, but you can expect approximately 20 needles. Once the needles are inserted, I will work with Acutonics and perhaps do some moxibustion on the needles or on the body, and the leave you to lie comfortably for 15-20 minutes with the needles in place. Many people find an acupuncture treatment deeply relaxing, and it is not uncommon for patients to fall asleep during this time.

Please remember to eat a little something before your treatment and drink some water.  Dizziness and light-headedness may be experienced after a treatment if you are dehydrated or haven't eaten.

What Can Acupuncture Treat?

Acupuncture works by activating the body's own healing powers, so it can be beneficial for many health conditions. The World Health Organization (WHO) has documented many symptoms, diseases, and conditions that have been shown in controlled clinical trials to be effectively treated with acupuncture. Below are some common conditions I can treat, but please feel free to contact me about your specific health condition.

Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine

Pain

  • Sports injuries
  • Muscle pain
  • Back, neck and shoulder pain
  • Leg, ankle and foot pain
  • Arm, wrist and hand pain
  • Knee pain
  • Hip pain
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Tennis Elbow
  • Repetitive strain injuries
  • Jaw pain (TMJ)
  • Dental pain
  • Sciatica
  • Arthritis
  • Tendonitis
  • Myofascial pain syndrome
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Postoperative pain

Digestive Issues & Nausea

  • Heartburn, Acid Reflux
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Chronic indigestion
  • Chronic loose stools or constipation
  • Acute and chronic gastritis
  • Morning sickness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Cholitis
  • Ulcers

Mental and Emotional Wellbeing

  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Depression

Respiratory Complaints

  • Sinusitis
  • Allergies
  • Asthma
  • Cold/Flu
  • Bronchitis

Reproductive Issues

  • Infertility
  • Increased efficacy of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)

 Circulatory Disorders

  • Hypertension
  • High cholesterol

Gynechological Disorders

  • Irregular menstruation
  • Endometriosis
  • PMS
  • Menopausal symptoms

Ballard Clinic:
1138 NW Market Street
Ballard Health Center building
Seattle, WA 98107
(206) 783-0404
Visit the Ballard Health Center website to view other services offered
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(206)371-0081 Voicemail