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Frequently Questions Asked - F.Q.A

What is acupuncture?


Acupuncture involves stimulating certain points on the body, mostly described in ancient Chinese texts. This can be done with thin needles of stainless steel, silver, gold plated, etc., or by heat from the combustion of mugwort an herb called (whose vibrational frequency is very similar to the human body), which is known as moxibustion, moxa or just moxabustión. We also include acupressure (known as acupuncture without needles), treatment which is pressed his fingers on those points.  


Is the treatment painful?


This is the main apprehension of those considering "prove" an acupuncture treatment. Before the first session, few can believe that through the skin with needles may not be painful. Although today people tend to visit an acupuncturist make the recommendation, until self does not experience it, it is not created. And it is that acupuncture needles have nothing to do with sewing needles or with those used for blood samples for analytical or with injections that for many years have discouraged since childhood; not having to remove or introduce any liquid, acupuncture needles are much finer, a tenth to a thinner hundredth as those used in hospitals, about the thickness of a hair: are solid, steel, slightly flexible and designed to slide in the body without harming the tissues.


The sensation caused by the insertion of needles depends on the skill of the professional and patient relaxation, which, in turn, depends on the confidence it has in the office or in his art. In good hands, insertion of acupuncture needles is not usually more painful than a slight pinch or a tingling sensation, which disappears quickly. However, there are also schools that handle a lot of needles, because they believe that the intensity of the feeling is therapeutic for herself. For this reason, also they use thicker needles.


Acupuncture is a diverse art that, throughout the twentieth century in the People's Republic of China, during the Cultural Revolution, wanted to standardize and image of ours, make it an official medicine unpropitious to the subtleties wherein the needle becomes a therapeutic tool. In this official version of Chinese medicine, needle, like Western medicine, is what heals. So they got used to manipulate strongly thicker needles, being of poor quality and blunted by repeated use, they were causing pain difficult to bear. Thus, it is understood that in the PRC acupuncture had no acceptance that you currently have in the West, and one of the first objections that were made to the possibility of applying here acupuncture was the assumption that the Chinese had a lintel higher than the Western pain, and that the sensitivity of the citizens of the welfare society could hardly tolerate that kind of torture.


But for some Chinese and other Far East countries schools, acupuncture is used to streamline the process of internal restoration, which causes pain is not only unnecessary but also counterproductive as it hinders relaxation, which is the best condition for the effectiveness of treatment. In Japan, for example, it is more common insertion of much thinner and shallow needles. Here the results depend primarily on the precision and accuracy in the combination of the chosen points, and the degree of relaxation. Pain is therefore an undesirable element.


As regards the possibility of injuring the body, it is practically ruled out. Not wanting. In learning acupuncture is studied carefully the exact location of the points, angle and depth of insertion of needles so that, without being an expert in anatomy, no viscera or blood vessel is injured.


It feels?  


Varies from one patient to another and from one point to another strain, heat, pressure, tingling or slight discomfort, which can be extended in the form of electric current; sometimes the puncture is almost imperceptible. It is an unfamiliar sensation caused by the movement of qi, which, whatever it is, has little to do with pain.


Once inserted the needles, the patient is left alone and in silence for about twenty minutes, lying on the couch in a comfortable room. He does not feel any pain, but rather the contrary, needles induce a state of deep relaxation; some people sleep to wake up a few minutes later with the feeling of having rested a lot, but more often fall into a doze, a dream during which you get to lose track of time. This condition usually occurs spontaneously, but can be facilitated by focusing the mind on a known natural setting, so that, by staying absorbed in it, the mind goes blank.


Perhaps this is the magic of acupuncture: a so thin needles placed in such a way that instead of hurt, heal.


What if I'm afraid of needles?  


Usually a prejudice that is cured by acupuncture. It's what used to happen to the children who are left do realize that the feeling that causes them needling is very different from that fear made them imagine.


Anyway, no one who has been left to operate several times, has no fear to undergo surgery, and instead shows mortally fear of needles. Fear of the unknown or blind trust in the established order?

Sometimes apprehension is justified, and may be a dislike of the body what does not suit you. And it is that acupuncture treatments are not always adequate; It is very easy for the person is right, and need heat treatments, not needles. In children and sensitive people, treatment can be done with your fingers.


No fear of needles, rather the contrary, the needles are usually very effective in treating panic attacks.  


Is there a danger of getting an infection?


Needles approved by the EEC are sterilized, such as surgical instruments, and the best guarantee is to be a single use, eliminating any possibility of transmitting infectious diseases.


However, the needles in principle not contact blood, or that this eventuality would be minimal. In China and Hong Kong, the same needles for all patients were used, often unsterilized only disinfected within a glass jar that used to not be very clean with cotton and alcohol.


In the West, among the first acupuncturists, who had to step out of the risk of infection giving patients their own hands, who took them home to disinfect with boiling water. In other cases, the doctor sterilized at 180 degrees. Clearly it is best to throw them out, and also, over the years, can become a decorative object. Currently in the West almost all acupuncturists use single-use water, eliminating the very idea of contagion.


Since there is no contact with the blood, there is not a single case described in medical literature in which the acupuncturist has transmitted a disease to his patient, or viceversa.


Is it dangerous during pregnancy?


Because it does not have any toxicity, acupuncture is an excellent therapeutic resource in this state. Being a period that are contraindicated most of the drugs, acupuncture is useful to replace the pharmacological treatment of chronic disorders that may suffer the woman, and especially for those own pregnancy, such as nausea and vomiting the first few months, or others, such as heartburn, urinary disorders, lumbago, dorsal and cervical pain, depression or heavy legs, preventing fully enjoy the state of good hope.


However, intense stimulation of certain points may result in the termination of pregnancy during the first weeks. Not exactly an abortion, but causes an energy gap that prevents the implantation of the embryo. Therefore, during the first three months, or whenever the pregnancy is wanted, you have to be careful with the type of acupuncture, which should be minimal stimuli. Any well-trained acupuncturist knows what points should avoid.


Also in this case, in good hands, acupuncture can only be beneficial, and is effective in cases of repeated abortions. Altering the course of pregnancy usually manifests on the pulse, and it is possible to correct certain conditions before they harm the baby.


Acupuncture has helped solve the problem of many couples who could not conceive. It is effective for both male sterility, increasing production and vitality of sperm, and female, cleaning up the land on which the embryo has to be implanted. And that happens in a natural way, without forcing the body.


I have heart problems and take Sintrom. Can I take acupuncture sessions?


Blood thinners are not an impediment. Punctures rarely bleed, as they tend to divert the vessels in its path, and when they do, they are only a few drops. We must not forget that periodic checks are made coagulation needle ten times thicker.


How are the needles?


They are metal, usually stainless steel. They are also made of precious metals: gold, silver, platinum ... who had much acceptance few years ago, as if the value of the metal is influenced in the effectiveness of treatment. This was because of the literal translation of classical texts, where gold needles are a metaphorical image that your application is as valuable as the most precious of metals.


The length is 0.5 cm to 10-15 cm. There are up to half a meter, which are applied in veterinary to treat horses. The thickness increases in proportion to the length.


How many needles have to be put?


Generally, from one to ten. As expected, the number of needles is not proportional to the intensity of symptoms or therapeutic action. Quite the contrary, too many needles reduce the therapeutic effect as overstimulation baffles the body. In acute cases, for example, a single needle inserted away from the damaged place, can solve the problem.


And sometimes no, since it is preferable application of dry heat radiating moxa (mugwort pure).




Most of the acupuncture points -more than 700- are described for two thousand years, although some also have been added later. You have to be very precise in their location, especially the more peripheral, since the extremities are more defined points. You can search by measuring proportionally from the main anatomical elements, or feeling with the fingertips small depressions in the skin. There are also detectors apparatus, to displace the skin, emit a sound signal when they pass a location of lower electric resistance.


The choice of points does not conform to fixed rules, but depends on the whole. Generally, in chronic diseases needles are placed near the site of the disorder, while acute tend to respond better to stimuli coming from afar.


How deep?


The depth depends on where is located the point, and the patient's constitution. Generally it ranges from one to two centimeters, but can be more.


What is moxibustion?


Needles are not the only means to influence the energy currents of the body. The points at which these currents are more accessible can be stimulated by applying heat radiating combustion of dry plant, sagebrush sinenesis, heat has the ability to deeply penetrate the skin.

Literally, the chiu character, used to describe moxibustion, means burning with a glowing object. Often acupuncture it combined with moxibustion; It is particularly useful to heat the digestive system and to counter the cold and moisture in the body.



How is the first visit?

Apparently very similar to that of a conventional doctor: a person who is not well consult a professional to help you recover from a disorder. It is an interview during which the doctor reaches a diagnosis and proposed treatment. In Chinese medicine there are many styles, but now tends to a certain mimicry with official medicine.


The visit of a traditional Chinese doctor used to do without separating table in the corner of a herbalist or wealthy families, in a formal conversation, sipping tea in a salon. There were no white coats or any apparatus; Chinese medical technology does not require any help or to diagnose or to treat.


The initiative has the patient conversation; the doctor will take note of what you say, but also how you say it, and will be interested in the background, both diseases has suffered as treatments has been submitted. Some questions may be surprising because, apparently, have nothing to do with what motivated the query. Keep in mind that the doctor does not establish the diagnosis only with major symptoms, but is especially attentive to the conditions in which they are presented. That is, in this type of query, the conversation usually revolves more around the state of health in general, not on the particular disease.


Anyway, the doctor hears more questions and, above all, observes the movement, facial expression, the state of the nails, tongue, and so on. But are neither sight nor heard the most essential sense but touch, especially for reading pulse waves, the main means of diagnosis.  


What not to wait  


Do not expect the usual advice: do not smoke, watch your calories, get more exercise ... ie not expect to hear what they already know. It may be that Chinese doctors ask about habits that predispose to certain diseases, such as excess chocolate, candy, salt, dairy products, drugs ... but rarely will ban anything, because health is not achieved by eliminating factors risk, but creating the conditions for the patient to adopt, by itself, the lifestyle that suits you best.


Nor should we expect the doctor is surprised at the peculiar manifestations of the disease, because from their point of view everything that happens is normal; otherwise it would not happen. This is because the process is reversed, and the referent of medicine are not books, but the patient himself.


So, do not deprive yourself of explaining what really feels or thinks about the disease, as the Chinese doctor will never say that a particular symptom has nothing to do with another; all fall into the same world of relationships. Chinese medicine does not separate what he considers significant than not, or what falls within the classifications of science, but makes the diagnosis from what really needs.


And finally, do not expect great explanations. In China, the population had no interest in hearing speculation about its evils, but required the doctor to demonstrate his art in practice. For those who want explanations, Chinese medicine is in clear inferiority to official medicine, because trust not want with words, but with the effectiveness of treatment, which is the most reassuring explanations.


The big difference.


But it is especially at the end of the visit when the difference appears between the two consultations: in the official daily medicine more often leave restless visit, either by the prospects of prescription drugs, or stuck behind some tests laboratory or a consultation with a specialist. This provided the diagnosis has been reached is not alarming in itself; by its gravity or because they highlight aspects of evil that are hopeless. The fact is that healthy people who considered leaving the query as chronically ill.


Instead, both the first acupuncture session as in the following, most often, the patient leaves best as entered: you feel a relief of symptoms and a mood more conducive to recover, whatever the nature of the disease.


When will I start to feel improvement?


It varies in each case; as usual in long-term disorders is that, more or less, an improvement noticeable from the first session, but no one who feels the effect the next day. Often, the symptoms reappear after a few days with less intensity, and gradually disappearing at each session. Exceptionally, the symptoms are accentuated to improve soon after.


As regards the acute conditions, the response is usually very fast, sometimes immediately, and in other cases, such as paralysis, recovery is slow.


In any case, before each session the doctor will ask what has improved, what has not changed or if something has worsened. Here there are no protocols, but treatments are tailored to the evolution of each case.


We should not create expectations and simply note the changes.


What can you expect from a first treatment?


Only good things: that is, a partial or complete relief of pain or other symptoms.


Besides the effect on what motivated the visit, the patient usually leave an acupuncture session in a state of calm and wellbeing, as if andara spare cottons, or as if he had received an injection of vitality. This is especially noticeable after the first visit, in which, suddenly, you can have the impression of rediscovering a feeling almost forgotten. Others come with a certain weariness and recovering quickly.


As far as possible, must be maintained in this relaxed state, and will contribute to the stabilization of the changes. If reintegrated into daily activity, it will be more relaxed and improve performance. Anyway, after a session is advisable to avoid stressful situations, both physical and mental, bingeing, the whitefish and strong emotions.


This reaction of the first treatment depends on the previous state: people who are already well and who are very sick less often notice that they are simply mismatched. Here also, as always, there are many variants.


Is it possible that I feel bad after the first session?


It is rare. Unless considered as such this feeling of tiredness, which can last a few hours, or sometimes the day.


Not to worry if an exacerbation of discomfort occurs. It is not usual, but it can happen after the first or second session. Not bad sign; It can be an awakening, a kind of necessary to overcome the disease activation.


It is possible to feel a slight dizziness or lightheadedness, similar to that you can have after a blood draw, which happens a little while. In fact, it is so rare that tens of thousands of treatments, I've only seen twice, and in both cases people were fasting.


Are there any side effects?  


One of the great advantages of acupuncture is the absence of side effects. In the US, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has been monitoring the millions of cases treated each year in the hands of qualified professionals who use sterile material (which is the only authorized), and most have not been described complications, all minor. It may be that a small purple appears at the point where the needle has been stuck resulting from the extravasation of blood in body parts with poor circulation, or in the elderly; It gives no discomfort and reabsorbed, like all the purples, after a few days.


Side effects are all healthy. a person with migraine headaches may be surprised relief of persistent constipation that had not even said the doctor, or other anxiously can see how they stop bothering menses, or vice versa: often an improvement in disorders apparently unrelated appears. The most notable side effect is an improvement in the quality of sleep and mental clarity.


Do I have to leave the drugs?


Not at the beginning. At least, without consulting a doctor. Leave a drug treatment yourself can be as counterproductive as self-medication.


If treatment is for pain, and can do without the pain reliever is best not to take it just before the session.


There are drugs that can stop not be taken, while others, such as painkillers, can reduce the frequency of shots as the pain of war. There are some, such as cortisone, hormones, certain tranquilizers, antidepressants, etc., with which the dose should be reduced with special care to avoid the unpleasant rebound.


Some are easier to let others, but it is important that this process is also done on prescription.


How many sessions do I need?


It is said that one month of treatment is needed for each year has been ill. However, the number of sessions depends not only on the disorder, and whether it is acute or chronic, but also varies by person, age and, above all, the vitality of that one enjoys. Some need one visit, and others more. Most chronic diseases often require five to fifteen sessions. The limit is set cure or improved stability.


The effects of acupuncture are cumulative; each treatment is built on the previous one. It is a process. Acupuncture does nothing but stimulate recovery capabilities of the body and, therefore, some people respond faster than others.


A fairly common pattern in cases of chronic diseases that require multiple sessions is an improvement over the first two or three days, after which they return to manifest symptoms, but increasingly more smoothly.


Anyway, we must be clear that, except in cases such as the recovery of paralysis, hemiplegia, paraplegia, degenerative diseases and other disorders that evolve very slowly, if at four or five sessions were no improvement, consider other ways to address the problem.


The duration of treatment depends less on the vividness of symptoms and the way they are presented: the disorder that comes suddenly, however intense, can suddenly disappear; the gradual beginnings, however, typically take longer to improve. Here too, the late wavelike nature. A backache that barely allowed to come to the doctor may disappear in the course of a session, while a little discomfort in the shoulder, which only appears with certain movements, it may be more difficult to eradicate.


The logic that the longer causes the disease longer it takes to heal also has many exceptions suffer; disorders that have resisted thousand therapies, respond to the first session, and other very recent and seemingly simple, that are difficult to cure are.


Therefore, do not ask the Chinese doctor who venture a forecast; yourselves may entreverlo as their response to treatment. We are far from the protocols to which we are accustomed official medicine. The characteristics of Chinese medicine treatment are set on the fly.


How long are the sessions?


Normally, the session itself takes twenty minutes to three quarters of an hour. It is advisable to go without haste, because they interfere with treatment.


How often?


In chronic disorders usually requires one visit per week, while in acute, especially if they are very painful, more often. The criterion is not allowed, as far as possible, the symptoms reappear with intensity.


As we get better, sessions are less necessary, frequency and spacing will, once restored of the disease, many people appreciate a monthly session to maintain health.


What if treatment is stopped?


It may be that the improvement initiated continue at a slower pace, to stabilize or to back slowly. So, while there is improvement, it is advisable not to leave.


Is it definitive?


We must make it clear that all he does acupuncture is to facilitate the process of internal restoration, by removing blockages and toning the body.


The long-term outcome depends, once again, the type of disorder: migraines, for example, are spaced and are becoming less intense, until they disappear forever. Instead, a pain caused by a deformed joint by arthritis may require treatment again after a couple of years.  


Does it create dependency?


All good things in life make you want to repeat. Fear of needles is easily transformed into pleasure, to the point that after recovered from the disorder that led to the consultation, often it uses acupuncture to relax and escape the stresses of everyday life. Therefore, persons under environmental stress appreciate -usually follow certain periodicity once a month-, a treatment that prevents stress affecting its performance, thus aborting the vicious circle origin of much of the pathology of our time.    


In short, not only it does not create dependency but to sanitize moods conducive to the appearance of the premises, and is also very useful to treat addiction and withdrawal syndromes. In the West, acupuncture, precisely, it has been challenged by those who want to quit the habit of snuff, and to overcome food cravings.  


How should I go?  


It is preferable to wear comfortable, loose clothing that facilitates access to selected acupuncture points. Since in many of the treatments the needles are planted below the elbows and knees, if the sleeves are wide and Pernales, you may not be necessary to remove any garment. It is sufficient to discard shoes and watches, bracelets and other metal objects that surround a body part. Therefore, it is best to take a few accessories: makeup, jewelry, necklaces and so on.


It is better not to go on an empty stomach, nor too full, and you should avoid stimulants and painkillers drugs that can be dispensed.


Should we take the medical history?  


It is advisable, though not always have to consult. In case of pain, the images show what can not be changed. That only interested when the opportunity for a surgical solution, which used to not be the case, since it is precisely what is intended with acupuncture is avoided arises.


The analytical data are interesting to the extent that allow assess the extent of the condition and, more importantly, to follow the evolution of the problem. Keep in mind that although the data and images are the same, for the doctor is different.


Must be informed of all medications being taken; bring better prospects so you can attach them to your medical history and easy reference.