How does acupuncture affect my body? What does it do?
The act of having a needle pierced into your body does several things. In order to truly understand the concept of how a single piercing of a needling can influence positive changes of your body, we must first understand the human body in musculo-skeletal terms. Musculo- skeletal as the name state, has parts that from the muscles and the skeletal systems. These act as the structures of one’s body and influence many mechanisms such as how you stand, how you move in certain directions, and even how long you can do certain actions (endurance). They also influence how and how much the internal organ should function.
Muscles cause the movement of the skeletal systems and how the skeleton stands in position. Muscles have only one direction of movement which is called contraction or pulling. Muscles never push, they always pull. Each muscle has nerves or nerve endings that go into the muscle belly causing it to contract called motor points.
A fully healthy muscle should be loose and in a complete, non- contracted form and able to fully contract when needed without any issues such as pain or inflexibility. Also, the nerve endings communicate with each other in a clear substance like water along with other elements such a potassium and sodium without any interferences, resulting in the muscle to have proper blood and oxygen flowing causing it to be in a relaxed healthy state.
When a muscle is injured, fatigued, or underused, the communication of the muscle nerve endings get affected. Instead of having that clear fluid to communicate as mentioned above, fluid becomes a sticky, glue like fluid. Rather than communicating freely without any interferences, this glue- like fluid is now pulling the nerve endings together which leads to muscles fibers being pulled together as well. Ever hear the term ‘getting knotted in the muscles’ ‘muscle tension’, or ‘muscles being tight’? This is what it is.
Another interesting thing that happens at the same time is that, once these muscle fibers are being pulled together, they are now in semi- contraction. This can also be called a ‘motor point inhibition’ because the function of muscle contraction is not happening at 100% and thus can be considered inhibited form doing its true action. When they are in this state, the muscles are less flexible, weak, impinged or stuck. Having the muscles in this state also leads to pain. Three things to keep in mind is that 1) muscles in this state are at a guarded mechanism as in they are guarding themselves from further pain, 2) if pain and the motor point inhibition lasts 3 to 4 weeks longer, it becomes embedded as a memory within the brain, and 3) since muscles only pull, a long term stature of these muscles being contracted can and will affect the shapes and stature of the skeletal muscles which also affects the function of the internal organs. An example of the third point would be when a person’s neck is forward too much due to tight neck muscles resulting physically for person to grow a ‘hump’ behind the necks and due to the constant forward positioning of the head causing the person to suffer from chronic headaches and possible cardiovascular diseases such as high blood pressure.
While receiving manual therapies such as massage, physical therapy, and chiropractic care may alleviate these motor point inhibitions, they cannot truly release it. This is because every human body has a skin layer. Manual therapies, no matter how much pressure and/ or force is applied, still cannot penetrate the skin layer to reach the muscle layer to release any inhibitions. The patient may feel some release of the muscle tension, often times, they are left with limited relief and sore for several days. Similarly, stretching can help but only in a limited basis. Remember that stretching help with the flexibility of the muscle to a certain degree but it still does not truly release the same muscle inhibitions for the same reason as stated above.
Acupuncture is one or, if not, the true way to remove these inhibitions. The needle itself can penetrate into the skin layer to reach the muscular level to release those motor points. By reaching to the desired destination, acupuncture can restore the proper, original function of the muscle by creating new communications with the clear fluids to increase blood and oxygen flow to the areas which in turn leads to increased flexibility and ranges of motion. With increased movements of a body area, pain will also decrease. With Fast Relief Acupuncture techniques, this can be accomplished within a shorter amount of time compared to other treatment modalities.
How are your acupuncture treatments different from other traditional ones?
Fast Relief Acupuncture and its techniques stem from treating athletes in sporting competitions. The key is to deliver precise and accurate treatments in a short amount of time for the athlete to get back into their respective sports competition and compete. Majority of the treatments are done with the patient either sitting up or laying down. Only difference with Fast Relief Acupuncture and your traditional acupuncture is that the needles are not left inside the body for an extended period of time typically (unless it is electro- acupuncture). The point of Fast Relief Acupuncture is to get the patient moving or getting their ranges of motion increased. With increases in movements will lead to pain relief.
Does acupuncture hurt?
Simple answer to that it does not. Some ‘pricking’ sensations can be felt but for the most part, patients report of feeling ‘no pain’. To give you a comparison, the gauge or the thickness of your typical flu shot needle is at a 22 to 25 gauge (higher the number, thinner the needle) and most people know what that feels like. The thickest acupuncture needle I use is a 30 gauge and the thinnest being at a 36 gauge. Acupuncture needles are typically so thin that the width of them would be similar to a strand of your hair.
I do not like needles at all. Do you have anything else that can help me?
While I do personally believe that getting acupuncture treatments are the best thing, I also understand that getting needles pierced into your body might not be your exact cup of tea. For those who do not want needles, I do have other treatment techniques that I can use to help you out such as cupping, balance taping, energy muscle techniques, German auricular stimulation, etc… However, I do have to mention that getting acupuncture with needles is the best option.
What should I expect from my first treatment, before and after?
When you first come, some things to keep in mind:
- Please come in with ahead of your scheduled time, so you have enough to time to complete the necessary paperwork.
- Please eat something before you come in about 2 hours before your treatment. Also drink plenty of fluids. Sometimes people complain feeling ‘light headed’ after treatment and eating something prior to treatment helps alleviates this.
- Come dressed comfortably and accordingly to the condition you want me to treat or bring some change of clothes. For example, if you have knee pain, please wear shorts and not tight pants or jeans. If you have an upper back problem, I would prefer you wear a tank top rather than turtle neck. By doing this action not only will you be making my work easier but you will feel comfortable as well.
- If you have any discomfort or just feel uncomfortable at anytime during your visit, please let me know immediately and I will try and accommodate you in the best way I can. If nothing is said, I am going to assume that everything is ok.
- A typical treatment time length should be approximately 30 to 45 minutes. Please schedule accordingly so you not have to feel ‘rushed’ or ‘be in a hurry’ to go somewhere.
- Please talk to me about your treatment plan and schedule accordingly before you leave.
Are there any side effects to acupuncture? What should I feel after each treatment?
Some side effects of acupuncture include muscle soreness which lasts approximately 1 to 2 days. The reason for this is that acupuncture consists of needles being inserted into the body for health benefits. This is a type of physical medicine. While many patients may not feel ‘sore’ after the treatments, you should not be alarmed if you do. However, if the soreness persists for more than 3 days, please contact me immediately.
Another common side effect is skin dis-colorization. It looks similar to a bruise but without the pain. The reason for this reaction is that there are many small, tiny blood vessels that go underneath your skin. It is possible that I may have punctured one. However, do not be alarmed as the blood vessel is a small and not a major one. The bruising should subside within a 1 to 2 weeks.
What patients typically feel after each treatment varies to each individual. Typically patients will feel one or more of the following:
- Increased range of motion of the affected body area
- Decrease in pain (slight to significant)
- The affected body area feeling less ‘tense’ or feeling ‘lighter and looser’
- May feel some soreness for approximately 1 to 2 days after treatment
With Fast Relief Acupuncture, the primary goal is to have the patient have immediate increase in their range of motion. Once the person is able to move with more ease and comfortably, their pain will soon decrease.
How often should I come to get treated?
The answer depends on the severity of the condition and how long the patient has had it. A typical treatment plan consists of 2- 3 times a week for 2- 3 weeks in order to find the proper dosage of treatment for the patient and their condition. After the treatment dosages have been completed, the patient will be re-assessed and usually the treatment frequencies become less such as 1 time a week or 1 time in 2 weeks. The ultimate goal is to have the patient ideally come in 1 time a month for their monthly maintenance care.
Can I get acupuncture treatment and other types of health treatments or modalities?
The answer to that is ‘yes’ as long as your body can support it. Most of my patients receive other care such as chiropractic, physical therapy, massage therapy, pain management, etc.. without any issues or detriment.
Can I go workout before or after each acupuncture treatment?
I have heard that acupuncture can help correct your posture. Is this true?
The answer is yes. In order for it to happen, the patent must be evaluated in person to determine which are of the body needs to be corrected. Proper acupuncture treatment in conjunction with corrective exercises can and will help a person improve their posture.
Can acupuncture improve sports performance?
Fast Relief Acupuncture is based on sports medicine the focuses not only the ability to improve their performance at their respective sports but, more importantly, to improve on the athlete’s recovery time from injuries in the quickest, most efficient manner. There are several ways and methods of achieving this goal:
- Increasing the flexibility and maintaining the proper structure of the athlete’s shunt muscles for endurance and body stability
- Increasing the flexibility and full contracture of the surface ‘active’ muscles to increase their explosiveness, power, and speed
- Providing overall improved flow of oxygen and blood to the body improve both the athlete’s performance but also prevention of common injuries and increase their recovery time
- Providing the ability to perform within a proper form of their respective sports especially in the neck and head region where their concentration and focus is also increased
- Able to have an almost immediate increased overall range of motion on the injured body part after initial treatment
- Through the use of modern acupuncture techniques such as electro- acupuncture and/or German auricular acupuncture, able to elicit neuro- chemicals that act as natural pain relievers and performance enhancers that are safe, legal, and all natural because its coming from your own body.
Are athletes or people who work – out only able to benefit from Fast Relief Acupuncture?
The simple answer to that is no. Anyone can benefit from acupuncture ranging from a child to the elderly.
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