F A Q
IS ACUPUNCTURE PAINFUL?
This is the biggest fear people have when they think of acupuncture. The short answer is no! It’s natural to be cautious of a therapy that involves sharp objects. The needles I use for your treatment are as thin as a hair. However, you will feel something; that sensation is called "deqi". What will you feel? The sensation could be experienced as a satisfying dull ache, tingling, expansiveness, lightness, numbness, or heaviness. Other common responses include a relaxation of muscles, dropping into relaxation, sleepiness, sighs, small twitches, gurgling of the belly, and spontaneous good feelings.
WHAT CONDITIONS DO YOU TREAT? CAN YOU HELP ME WITH MY PARTICULAR ISSUE?
I see a variety of people with a variety of issues. Generally, Chinese Medicine is concerned with treating the person, not the disease process or a set of symptoms. Most people come seeking help with something in mind, but through treatment, they will improve in overall vitality. Chinese medicine is a therapeutic approach you seek when you wish to strengthen your entire body, mind and heart; when you want to delve into and understand the cause of the imbalance, as well as address any current discomfort. You can check here the full list of over 100 medical conditions that The World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes as being effectively treated by acupuncture treatment.
DO I NEED TO HAVE A PROBLEM TO RECEIVE ACUPUNCTURE?
Not at all! In China, acupuncture is not only used to get rid of problems, but also to help prevent them. It is especially beneficial after having had a cold or flu, or a stressful situation, as it helps to regulate and harmonize the body.
You can also look at acupuncture as one of the great ways to relax and enjoy yourself. Much like you might like to enjoy going out to a movie or a restaurant, or curling up with a nice book on a rainy afternoon. Thus, the only justification for getting acupuncture might simply be that you enjoy the way it makes you feel. With acupuncture, you are taking care of yourself - it helps you to maintain good health!
WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT FROM THE FIRST CONSULTATION AND TREATMENT?
Before the first treatment, we go through the intake form you filled out and emailed to me. We will discuss why you have come and what you need. We will talk about your diet, digestion, sleep, energy, exercise, moods, cycles, pain, stress etc. I will then take your pulse and look at your tongue.
This typically takes about 20 minutes. From there, I have the necessary background and the info to move into treatment. I design a treatment plan that is specific to your needs each time.
I use acupuncture, electrostimulation, moxibustion, cupping, TDP lamp, gua sha, and advice as therapeutic tools in my practice.
Often I suggest a take-home therapeutic practice, which could involve lifestyle changes, dietary recommendations, simple qigong or yoga exercises, take-home moxa, breathing practice, or meditation techniques, as well as TCM books.
HOW MANY TREATMENTS DO I NEED?
The length of your treatment will vary depending on your individual condition and how you respond to the treatment. During your initial consultation, we will develop a treatment plan, prioritising immediate concerns and longer-term solutions. The aim of the treatment plan is to help you feel better as soon as possible. I will give you an idea of how long treatment will take and will identify milestones along the way. Remember: the issues that are concerning now have usually taken time to develop, so they can take time to heal.
IS ACUPUNCTURE SAFE?
Acupuncture is generally considered to be safe. The needles used are very fine and single-use from quality assured manufacturers. Acupuncture is tightly regulated in The Netherlands. Practitioners need to have completed an approved degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine, Foundations of Western medicine and Psychology, an apprenticeship with Chinese Medicine practitioners, and belong to a professional association (in my case, Zhong).
DOES ACUPUNCTURE WORK?
Acupuncture can usually help in some way. Sometimes, it may not be the perfect treatment for the specific problem that you initially wanted to address, but being an energy medicine, it might "open the door" to some dormant conditions that you were not aware of and need healing. Acupuncture will, in any case, have an impact on your overall health, as it increases blood flow, reduces pain, reduces stress, and calms the mind. Acupuncture can treat many health complaints in its unique and oftentimes irrational way.
Would a technique that has been practiced for more than 2,500 years and that has undergone thousands of evaluations in countries around the world still be around if it wasn’t effective? Try it for yourself and find out!
IS IT OKAY TO HAVE ACUPUNCTURE DURING MENSTRUATION?
Yes, it is pefectly fine to get acupuncture treatment while you are menstruating. There are no absolute contraindications for acupuncture treatment of women during menstruation, according to long-term clinical practice and current development of acupuncture therapy.
IS ACUPUNCTURE SAFE DURING PREGNANCY?
More and more research is being done on acupuncture and its use during pregnancy. Current information suggests that acupuncture is relatively safe for most pregnancies, and that severe reactions or complications are rare. You may experience mild complications, such as pain or swelling at the needle insertion point, that are not long-lasting.
It can help in the in the first, second, and third trimester of your pregnancy, alleviating the typical symptoms and preparing your body for the labour. In the first trimester it helps to maintain a pregnancy, nourish the body, and alleviates early symptoms such as fatigue, nausea and heartburn. Later, the aches, pains, constipation, and swelling that accompany pregnancy, and in the third trimester, it helps prepare the body for labour.
Acupuncture can also be very beneficial post-partum.
In addition, your Chinese medicine practitioner can give you advice on self-care during and after pregnancy, based on the wisdom of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
WHAT ARE POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS OF ACUPUNCTURE?
Acupuncture is generally considered safe when performed by a trained and licensed practitioner. However, like any medical treatment, acupuncture may have potential side effects and risks. Here are some possible side effects associated with acupuncture:
Soreness or bruising: It is common to experience mild soreness or bruising at the needle insertion site. These usually resolve quickly.
Bleeding or hematoma: In rare cases, acupuncture needles may cause bleeding or the formation of a hematoma (a localized collection of blood). This is more likely to occur if you have a bleeding disorder or are taking blood-thinning medications.
Infection: If the acupuncture needles are not properly sterilized or the treatment area is not cleaned appropriately, there is a slight risk of infection. Licensed acupuncturists follow strict protocols to minimize this risk.
Dizziness or fainting: Some individuals may experience dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting during or after acupuncture. It is important to let your practitioner know if you have a history of these symptoms.
Fatigue or drowsiness: Acupuncture can induce relaxation and a sense of calm, which may cause some people to feel tired or drowsy after a session.
Nerve damage or organ puncture: While extremely rare, there is a small risk of injury to nerves or organs if the needles are inserted too deeply or in the wrong location. Choosing a qualified and experienced acupuncturist can help minimize this risk.
Emotional or psychological effects: Acupuncture can have a powerful effect on the body and mind. Some individuals may experience emotional releases, mood changes, or temporary exacerbation of symptoms before improvement occurs.
It's important to discuss any concerns or potential risks with your acupuncturist before undergoing treatment. They can provide you with more personalized information based on your specific health condition and medical history.
IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE I NEED TO KNOW BEFORE MY ACUPUNCTURE TREATMENT?
It is recommended not to have a treatment on an empty stomach. It is also good to be hydrated and to stay hydrated after treatment. Certain acupuncture points are contraindicated during pregnancy, so if you are pregnant or planning pregnancy, it is important to inform me of that.
Acupuncture generally puts you into a deep state of relaxation. How you feel afterward will depend on your body; sometimes you may feel disoriented, tired, or sleepy. Most of the time you’ll be energized and feeling ‘in the zone’. It’s often good to not to book social events after treatment, as you may feel more introspective and reflective. It’s also advisable not to drink caffeine or alcohol after treatment.
What is important is to respect how you feel and give yourself what you need.
I hope these answers have addressed some of your questions regarding acupuncture treatment. Do you still have any questions?
CONTACT ME to learn more about acupuncture and Chinese medicine at Aleksandra Acupuncture & Holistic Care practice in Amsterdam Oost.