These are 5 of the most commonly asked acupuncture questions by my patients, so I thought I would type out some answers to satisfy your curiosity (which I love!).
1. Do you give yourself acupuncture?
Of all the acupuncture questions, I get asked this one the most. The answer is a big YES! I receive acupuncture every other week from another practitioner. However, if something is hurting, you bet I’m going to use acupuncture points on myself to help. I tend to self-treat more with food, herbs, and supplements due to convenience, but I love how quickly acupuncture works when my other self-care doesn’t cut it. I’m always surprised at how profoundly better/different I can feel after 30 minutes of acupuncture. Keeps my faith in the magic alive and well :)
2. How do piercings and tattoos affect acupuncture points?
I don’t know! There are some theories: One is that when you pierce with a solid needle, the acupuncture points/channels just move to the side of the piercing and it doesn’t disrupt anything energetically. When you pierce with a hollow needle that takes out some skin, you could displace an acupuncture point. Either way, you are causing a lot of stimulation to that point or channel. This could help or hurt– maybe you pierce right near the low back point in the ear and your low back improves, or maybe you pierce near the jaw point and find that you start grinding your teeth. It’s always hard to tell how piercings are going to affect the energetic balance of things. Tattoos are going to stimulate all the channels where you get them–this could be helpful if those channels have too much qi and need draining, or hurtful if those channels are already weak. Tattoos are a trauma to the body, so you will need to treat yourself like you would if that tattoo was a nasty bruise or cut: extra rest, fluids, healthy food, and don’t push your body for a few days. In general, our bodies are resilient and adaptable, so whatever the result, things should self-regulate with good healthy habits in time.
3. Can acupuncture help with ____?
Probably! One of the things I find most beautiful about Traditional Chinese Medicine and acupuncture is that it can help with nearly every possible symptom or disease pattern. That’s not to say that it is guaranteed to help all people in all cases, but there is no set of symptoms or conditions where acupuncture is known to always be ineffective. It is so individualized and tailored to your specific pattern, that it doesn’t matter what your diagnosis is (anxiety, endometriosis, COPD, insomnia, etc.). Two people with insomnia might be treated with acupuncture in a completely different way depending on what time they wake up during the night or whether they get headaches in the morning or crave salty food. These little details clue me in to what your body needs to rebalance and heal. Acupuncture works faster on healthier people, for the most part. You can still see good results if you’re having a lot of health issues, but in these cases, it is best if you’re willing to make some changes in other areas as well such as lifestyle/habits/diet/herbs/etc.
According to the World Health Organization, these are the Conditions Acupuncture Treats.
For research on acupuncture for various conditions/symptoms: Acupuncture Research
4. Is acupuncture safe during pregnancy?
Absolutely. Acupuncture is a wonderful treatment option for many pregnancy-related concerns such as nausea, vomiting, low back pain, ankle swelling, headaches, insomnia or mood swings. Certain acupuncture points are avoided or used during different stages of pregnancy. Licensed acupuncturists know which points to use throughout your pregnancy to enhance your health and keep both mother and baby safe. Acupuncture can even be used to help turn breech babies, induce labor, and improve fertility.
5. Why do I feel acupuncture points more on one side of my body?
There are several theories about this. The left side of the body is considered more yin and the right more yang. Yin is the feminine, softer, quieter side and yang is the masculine, louder, more active side. Sometimes if there is an imbalance in these energies in your life, you will feel the side that is stronger is more sensitive to needles. This can be reflected in your relationships too if there is an imbalance in power between partners. It could be that you have an injury or area of poor circulation on one side of the body which causes all the points on that side to feel less sensitive due to the difference in qi or energy flow from the opposite side. The stronger the qi flow, the more likely you are to feel the needles. It is actually a good sign!