I get a lot people who want to try acupuncture, but keep putting it off and could never figure out why. When they finally come in, they feel so much better and ask themselves "why didn't I do this sooner?"
We have this idea that we need to be already healthy or healing, before we come get a treatment - which is ridiculous. But this is a pervasive thought, not only for patients but for practitioners. We might even be worse about it.
These are all things I've heard, and a few I've even said. When I look at them now, I realize how silly it is to put it off. Acupuncture helps with energy, it helps with sleep, it helps with immunity. Why in the hell am I waiting?!?
One thing I tell people is that if we aren't doing things that we know we should, that we know make us feel better and heal, then that in and of itself is a pathology. That pathology can be treated with acupuncture. It's most likely a qi stagnation or qi deficiency (or both) that's causing the issue. Don't wait for it to get better and you are eating healthier again before seeking treatment. Get acupuncture so it can help you get to that healthy space and continue to move forward!
One of the central ideas in Chinese Medicine is Qi, pronounced Chi, and in Japanese - Ki. But what the hell is it, and why does it matter? This is probably the second most asked questions I get as an acupuncturist, right after "Does it Hurt?" That being said, so many people have tried to answer it over the years, I hate to rehash it again. So I'm going to quote one of my favorite books here. Between Heaven and Earth: A Guide to Chinese Medicine, authors Harriet Beinfield and Efrem Korngold said of Qi:
“That which animates life is called Qi. The concept of Qi is absolutely at the heart of Chinese Medicine. Life is defined by Qi even though it is impossible to grasp, measure, quantify, see or isolate. Immaterial yet essential, the material world is formed by it. An invisible force known only by its effects, Qi is recognized indirectly by what it fosters, generates and protects.
Matter is Qi taking shape. Mountains forming, forests growing, rivers streaming, and creatures proliferating are all manifestations of Qi. In the human being, all functions of the body and mind are manifestations of Qi: sensing, cogitating, feeling, digesting, stirring, and propagating.… It is the fundamental mystery and miracle.”
So there you have it, lol. My mentor liked to say that "Qi is function" as a concise idea, and I think that gets the point across. Your body's ability to do its job is fueled by qi. Honestly, the concept is so deep I could talk about it for hours, but I won't :) I will say that qi is not finite. Through acupuncture, herbs, lifestyle, exercise, and qigong - you can change the amount of qi in your body and increase your health and longevity! Pretty cool, huh?
and you want to know some things before you start...
That's what I'm here for! This FAQ will answer all the questions you may have about how to start. Let's just jump right in:
Hopefully these answered some of the questions and concerns you may have about acupuncture. Please feel free to leave comments and ask any other questions you may have. Also, look for another FAQ about the basics of Chinese Medicine techniques and theory for all you health geeks out there.