Bridging, Connecting, & Inspiring Holistic Self-care for the Indy Community.

Posts tagged ‘acupuncture’

Celebrating Acupuncture!

I had the pleasure of receiving my first ever Acupuncture treatment this week.  Erica Siegel, Owner of Indy Acupuncture and Indy Downtown Community Acupuncture, took great care of me!  I went to the Downtown Clinic which is an amazingly comfortable space.  They also offer a sliding scale to meet you where your budget is at.  I reclined back alongside a few others, Erica gently placed 15 needles in various spots, and enjoyed an hour of peace and calm!  Who doesn’t want that?  Additionally, I had asked her to focus on a pain I’d been experiencing on the top of my foot.  It had been sore for several days and I didn’t know what had caused it.  The pain dissipated over the next 24 hours and within 48 I noticed it gone.  So, for the relaxation and pain-be-gone magic I say, “Thank you, Erica!”

In celebration of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Day – which is today October 24th, I have interviewed Erica and another Acupuncturist, Sarah Fredrickson of Indiana Reproductive Acupuncture.   Learn from them about the treatment and how it can support your well-being through my interview questions below.

How exactly does Acupuncture work?  And, how long does it take for results?

Erica Siegel responded…

There’s an energetic network of channels running throughout the body. These channels communicate with the brain and effect the organ systems. Since the body is mostly water and the hair thin needles are metal, that electrical relationship is able to communicate faster, via the nervous system, than a pain signal; The Pain Gate Theory. Although acupuncture is known best for its pain reducing effects, it is used for a wide variety of imbalances from allergies to psychological stresses. During acupuncture the brain releases endorphins, immune system cells, balances hormones, or whatever is needed to keep the body regulated. Our bodies are a self regulating system. Specific points along these channels have specific influences on all systems of the body. That is why it is such a powerful holistic medicine.

For most problems results are seen within 4-6 treatments. We usually suggest 2 treatments a week for 2-3 weeks. Sometimes people respond immediately, sometimes it takes 24-48 hours after a treatment for a response to be noticeable, sometimes it takes 8-10 treatments. Everyone is different in their response time. Generally, kids change quickly and seniors change slowly. Usually, however many years a symptom has presented itself is how many months of treatment will be needed. The majority of patients recognize the benefits of acupuncture within a handful of treatments.

Who seeks out this kind of care?

Erica Siegel responded…

Everyone from kids with ADD or asthma to seniors with 40 years of back pain. 75-80% of acupuncture patients tend to be women in the US. Majority of patients are middle-aged women. All walks of life all over the world seek acupuncture. Sometimes it is the first resort or preventative and sometimes it is the last resort for people who have, “tried everything else” for their problems.

What do clients experience during a session?

Erica Siegel responded…

Sessions start with a consultation or update on the current state of symptoms. Once the practitioner has assessed and decided the treatment plan the patient lays down on a massage table or recliner. Often the acupuncturist will feel the pulses on the wrists and look at the tongue to get a sense of what is going on internally. The practitioner then places the needles in the acupuncture. The sensation of the needle is like a tiny tug on the arm hair for about a second. A slight reflex, quick dull ache sensation, slight tingles, heat, or cool sensation is normal. Some people barely feel anything. Once the needles are in the patient relaxes and often takes a nap for about 30-45 minutes. Sometimes people feel like they are in an in between state of mind between awake and sleeping. When the patient awakes the needles are taken out. The endorphin release makes for a very relaxed post treatment experience. The practitioner may then suggest herbal medicine, cupping, dietary advice, etc. to accompany the treatment goals.

Why is acupuncture a nice complement to other forms of health/medical care?

Sarah Fredrickson responded…

Acupuncture itself can be used as a complement to most types of therapy. Because the needles used are solid and stainless steel, the treatment itself does not introduce anything into the body that may interact unfavorably with other treatments or medications. When used correctly by a licensed therapist, acupuncture is safe and can be used alongside most treatments. There are some conditions in which acupuncture is not appropriate, and your acupuncturist will be able to determine the safety of treatment with your specific condition or therapy.

While the reason for choosing to use acupuncture may vary with the patient’s condition or treatment, one way acupuncture can be a nice compliment for almost any therapy is stress reduction. It is well known that acupuncture has long been used to treat stress, and anyone undergoing treatment of an illness will be under some stress. Acupuncture can be used to alleviate stress on the patient due to their diagnosis or stress from the treatment itself. This will make the healing process more comfortable for the patient.

In our practice, we work closely with all types of fertility treatments and plan the timing of our acupuncture therapy accordingly. Acupuncture can be used to improve uterine and ovarian blood flow and is used to improve outcomes of fertility treatments.

Oncology is also a very interesting speciality where acupuncture can be used to greatly impact a patient undergoing treatment. The side effects of radiation and chemo-therapy are very well known. Acupuncture can be used to help reduce many of these including nausea, loss of appetite, pain, mood-changes, etc without any risk of interacting with the treatment itself.

Additionally acupuncture is commonly used alongside treatments for pain, digestive diseases, headaches, allergies, certain neurological conditions, post-operative recovery… and the list goes on.

How does acupuncture help with overall health and well-being?

Sarah Fredrickson responded…

Acupuncture helps with overall health and well being in a few different ways. Primarily, it can be a very useful tool to manage stress, which can lead to many health problems. Additionally, acupuncture works within your body itself to create balance. Over time we can easily become out of balance, and acupuncture, used regularly, can treat these imbalances before they become health problems.

The ancient Chinese spoke of the flow of life energy, or Qi (chee). In order to be at our healthiest, our Qi needs to be freely flowing through the meridians and balanced correctly throughout the body. It is thought that, by inserting needles into the body at specific points, this energy balance can be restored. I like to think of the concept of Qi and its movement throughout the body like a traffic map of a city. The cars (or Qi) move around via roads (or meridians) through intersections and to destinations. Traffic jams or slow moving traffic can bunch up cars in certain areas, leave no traffic in other areas and create problems. Stagnation of energy or an imbalance in any part of the body also produces problems. Acupuncture needles inserted at specific points can alter the flow of Qi much like a yield sign or traffic signal can alter the traffic and make it flow more smoothly.

Do some people have problems with the needles? How is that overcome?

Sarah Fredrickson responded…

Nobody likes needles… I have seen many patients with needle phobias throughout my years in practice. The fear varies from patients who cannot see the needles go in to patients who can barely come through the door out of fear.

There seems to be some rumors going around about acupuncture and I think this can make the fear worse. Acupuncture is not painful. It feels nothing like getting an injection. The needles are flexible and about as thin as a hair. Most patients feel a tiny pinch (which I equate to a mosquito bite) upon insertion and nothing while the needles are left in place. If there is any bleeding, and this itself is very, very rare, it is one or two drops.

My advice to patients is to be honest with your acupuncturist and tell them any fears you have. Make sure to get all of your questions answered. Their goal is to provide you with the best treatment they can, and the more relaxed and comfortable you are, the better the treatment will be.

I hope you enjoyed learning a bit about acupuncture.  Take care of you and if acupuncture is of interest, try it out.  Then you will know first hand what it is like.  I’m definitely going back for more!  Acupuncture is officially part of my holistic self-care routine.

In Synergy~

Jennifer Seffrin