Yael is a doctor of Chinese medicine, licensed acupuncturist, nationally certified herbalist, and diplomate of Oriental Medicine. For more information, click here.
What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture, which is the insertion of very fine needles into specific points on the body to influence the flow of qi through the body, is one of the oldest forms of healing in the world. It originated in China about 5000 years ago, and the first medical text about acupuncture was written over 2200 years ago. The fact that acupuncture continues to be practiced today is strong proof of the power of this medicine.
Acupuncture is the best known of the modalities that make up what is known as traditional Chinese medicine, but actually, Chinese medicine has 4 pillars. Acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine and Moxibustion, Tui Na/body work/cupping/Gua Sha and Nutrition. It is one of the tools that we use in order to bring balance to the body in order for the body to function optimally and be able to heal itself.
The theory on which acupuncture is based is called meridian (or channel) theory. Meridian theory describes the flow of qi (vital energy, life energy or prana) through the body. Qi connects all the tissues and organs of the body, circulating from one area of the body to another along certain pathways (called meridians or channels). For the body to function properly, qi must flow freely and in the correct strength and quality through each of the meridians. When the flow of qi is interrupted or unbalanced, illness of the body, mind and/or spirit will occur resulting in symptoms such as pain, anxiety, insomnia, digestive issues, etc. which are signs that the body's qi is imbalanced.
What are some benefits of acupuncture?
The benefits of acupuncture are quite simple yet extremely profound. It unblocks any blockages you might have in your body, increases blood flow, releases serotonin, dopamine, and endorphins which are 10-200 times more potent than morphine working on both intensity and perception of chronic pain. This is why acupuncture is so amazing for all gynecological issues from PMS to fertility, chronic illness, and most pain issues.
When should I start acupuncture? How often should I go?
This is a great question. The best results happen when you address your issues from the very start rather than waiting for your condition to worsen. The longer you have an issue, the harder it is to heal. As far as fertility is concerned, the most optimal results are obtained if you start acupuncture as soon as you decide to start a family. I usually like to see my patients once every week, unless the issue is extreme. If it is something very difficult to treat, I usually prescribe twice a week for a few weeks and then we can start doing treatments once a week. Each case is unique, which is why I require an initial consultation to figure out each patient's needs and plans.
Does it hurt?
This is a very individualized response. Most of my patients don't feel any pain, but they do feel sensations. Sometimes these sensations are big and sometimes small depending on what we are treating, but all sensations only last a few seconds and then you enter a blissful relaxation that is deep and extremely restorative. I would say that the majority of my patients fall asleep during a session and feel very rested at the end. During an acupuncture session, because your entire nervous system is stimulated and brought from a flight and fight into a rest and digest, your body begins deep healing.
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