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What are Qi and Meridians?

In Traditional Chinese Medicine Qi (or Chi) is an active part of any living matter. It is frequently translated as life energy, life force or energy flow. Qi is a part of all tissues in the body, including muscle, blood and nerves. Meridians are invisible pathways or channels on the body. Qi is thought to flow along these meridians, and anything that disrupts the smooth flow of Qi is said to cause illness.

What will my acupuncturist do?

During the initial exam a full health history will be taken. Questions will be asked regarding symptoms, health and lifestyle. Your acupuncturist also may check pulses and your tongue and may conduct a physical exam. This information is then organized to create a complete, accurate and comprehensive diagnosis of where Qi has become blocked or imbalanced. After the interview process, you will receive the appropriate treatment. Visits with your acupuncturist may last from 30 to 90 minutes.

Why does the acupuncturist want to feel my pulses?

There are 12 pulse positions on each wrist that your acupuncturist will palpate. Each position corresponds to a specific meridian an organ. Your acupuncturist will be looking for 27 individual qualities that reflect overall health If there are any problems, they may appear in the pulse.

Why does the acupuncturist want to look at my tongue?

The tongue is a map of the body. It reflects the general health of the organs and meridians. Your acupuncturist will look at the colour, shape, cracks and coating on your tongue.

How many treatments will I need?

The number of treatments will vary from person to person. Some people experience immediate relief; others may take 4-6 weeks to achieve palpable results. Chronic conditions usually take longer to resolve than acute ones. Plan on a minimum of a month to see significant changes.

Treatment frequency depends on a variety of factors: the condition of your health in general, why you came in that day, any other underlying conditions, what else you are doing in your life and how you respond to treatment.

An acupuncturist may suggest one or two treatments per week, monthly visits for health maintenance or seasonal “tune ups”.

What should I expect during treatment?

Where the acupuncture needle has been inserted, you may experience a vague numbness, heaviness, tingling or a dull ache. Sometimes people experience a sensation of energy spreading and moving around the needle, sometimes people don't feel much at all. All these reactions are good and a sign that the treatment is working.

Many people become incredibly relaxed during a treamtent and it is not uncommon to fall asleep.

In some situations people experience an emotional release and may cry, laugh or become agitated for a time, followed by a sense of relaxation.

After treatment, you may feel energized or may experience a deep sense of relaxation and well-being.

How should I prepare?

Come with any questions you have – we’re here to help you.

Wear loose, comfortable clothing for easy access to acupuncture points.

Don’t eat large meals just before or after you visit but do eat something before your visit.

Refrain from overexertion, working out, drugs or alcohol for up to 6 hours after the visit.

Avoid stressful situations. Make time to relax, and be sure to get plenty of rest.

Between visits, take notes of any changes that may have occurred, such as the alleviation of pain, pain moving to other areas, or changes in the frequency and type of problems.

Do the needles hurt?

The sensation caused by an acupuncture needle varies. Some people feel a little pain as the needles are inserted, but most people feel no pain at all.

The needles are tiny, just a little larger than a cat’s whisker or a human hair. Acupuncture needles are very different than a hypodermic needle such as the ones used to draw blood. They are much finer and sharper, meaning a much easier insertion. The tip on an acupuncture needle is not hollow and does not penetrate blood vessels in the manner a hypodermic needle does.

How deep do they go?

The depth of the insertion varies depending on where the needle is being inserted, the size of the person and the type of treatment. For example, your acupuncturist will use a needling technique that is different in fleshier areas, such as your buttocks. Typically, needles are inserted at depths ranging from 1/8” to 1 ½”.

How safe is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is extremely safe. Needles are single use, sterile and disposed of after each treatment. As long as your see a Registered Practitioner and inform them of any health conditions you have there should be no risk to you.

Is acupuncture safe for children?

Yes! In some instances children actually respond more quickly than adults. If your child has an aversion to needles, your acupuncturist may massage the acupuncture points. This is called acupressure or tui na.

As long as the child is old enough to express any fears they might have and let the acupuncturist know of any discomfort there are generally no issues. Letting the child express if they want the treatment to stop or if they are not comfortable with the needles is an important aspect of treatment.

What type of schooling do acupuncturists get?

Today, acupuncturists receive 3 to 5 years of extensive and comprehensive training at a recognized post secondary school. Acupuncturist in BC pass the provincial registration exams after graduation and becomes registered with the College of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture before they are allowed to practice.

Call the LalliCare Clinic for a consultation or to learn more about how our services can benefit you, 250 386-5100.

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