Acupuncture FAQ

Why choose acupuncture?
Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese healing system. It is one of the most effective and safest systems in the world. Acupuncture is a natural system and follows natural laws, bringing harmony and balance by working with the predictable patterns of nature and the life cycle. Its roots lie in the nature observation of Taoism and the system has developed over the course of 3500 years. Acupuncture works by balancing the flow of energy within, working on the levels of the body, mind and spirit. Acupuncture removes any blocks to the flow of Qi or life force, enhances the flow of that vital energy, and equalizes the Qi throughout the body, thus supporting all the organ systems and the functioning of the whole system. An imbalance, lack, or excess of Qi manifests itself as symptoms of disease and discomfort. Restoring balance to the system enhances the patient’s own healing ability, symptoms disappear, discomfort is relieved, and a natural wellbeing is achieved. Rather than treating just the symptoms, acupuncture works on the cause, and treatment is designed for the whole person.

Chinese medicine focuses on the individual, taking into account mental, emotional, and physical factors in diagnosis and treatment. Many benefits can be realized. Almost all patients report an overall feeling of well-being and a reduction in stress.

What is Five Element Acupuncture?
5E acupuncture treats the root cause of disease. It focuses on diagnosing a person’s causative factor or the element which is most aligned with a person’s emotional and physical orientation. This element may be a person’s weak link; it is often also their strength. That element is supported through acupuncture and the functioning of the body/mind/spirit is enhanced. As all the elements are connected by the flow of energy or Qi, this enhancement helps the whole system. Qi runs in pathways through the body called meridians. Each meridian is associated with an organ or organ function and meridians are grouped into elements. The five elements are Wood, Water, Fire, Earth and Metal. Each represents an aspect of self and each has a role to play in health, growth, and a fully lived life. They interact seamlessly in a healthy person, supporting and controlling each other. Stress or injury can disrupt the balance between the elements and symptoms result. 5 Element Acupuncture can restore balance and harmony, it can remove any blocks to the flow of Qi and so can enhance wellbeing on all levels. 5E is constitutional medicine, supporting a person at a deep, constitutional level. Spirit points are used to tap into a deep source of healing.

Classical Five Element Acupuncture supports a person physically, emotionally, and spiritually, and can be used to address many psychological concerns. Consistent 5E treatment can effect a transformation in one’s life.

What is the procedure for diagnosis and treatment?
The first visit involves an in depth interview and history. All aspects of a person’s life are considered in the diagnosis and treatment planning as well as symptoms and complaints. The pulses are taken which reveal the relative flow of energy through the meridians and various physical exams are utilized as well. Treatment planning is ongoing as the practitioner looks for results in the pulses and in other signs, and adjusts the treatment to get the best possible results. The treatment generally consists of needles inserted at acupuncture points, sometimes left in for a period of time, sometimes inserted and removed immediately. Moxa or mugwort may be burned to enhance the effect of the needle. Physical manipulation, including acupressure, may be used as well.

Please allow up to two hours for the first visit. For subsequent visits, please allow one hour.

How often should I come?
The timing and frequency of visits will depend on the condition, progress, and, concerns of the patient. Your practitioner will work with you to design the treatment plan that best meets your needs. Expect to come once or twice a week initially with the frequency tapering off as equilibrium is maintained. It is often necessary to receive 4-8 weeks if treatment in order to accomplish significant sustainable progress in your healing. Consistent treatment has a cumulative effect. Chronic illness may require treatment for many weeks. Acute problems generally respond much faster. A patient’s attitude and lifestyle will also greatly affect the outcome of the treatment.

In addition to its capacity to heal, 5E acupuncture is a preventative medicine and can help patients develop a stronger immune system to ward off illness and the effects of daily stress. Seasonal tune-ups are strongly recommended for all.

What can acupuncture help?
Treatment is tailored to the needs of every person and patients of any age or condition are welcomed, ranging from children to the elderly, the well to seriously ill. Acupuncture is used to maintain health by getting seasonal “energy tune-ups” as well as to restore health. The World Health Organization and National Institute of Health endorse acupuncture as beneficial for many conditions. While most well known for easing pain, acupuncture is effective for many illnesses both chronic and acute. Acupuncture often helps to resolve diseases and concerns that cannot be easily diagnosed or have resisted other forms of treatment. Because Five Element Acupuncture addresses the underlying cause of an illness rather than just the symptoms, it is often helpful in treating issues that are generally unresponsive to Western drug-oriented treatment.

Some of the ailments helped by acupuncture include:

  • Musculoskeletal disorders: whiplash, low back pain, neck and shoulder pain, sciatica, TMJ, injuries, and arthritis.
  • Emotional disorders: depression, anxieties, ADD, ADHD, and stress
  • Addictions: cigarettes, alcohol, drug addiction, eating disorders
  • Immune disorders: chronic fatigue, frequent colds or infections
  • Gastrointestinal disorders: indigestion, nausea, abdominal pain, constipation.
  • Neurological complaints: acute and chronic pain, fibromyalgia, headache, insomnia, numbness, dizziness.
  • Gynecological disorders; Irregular, painful, or heavy menstruation, PMS, menopause, infertility
  • Urogenital disorders: urinary tract infections, incontinence, sexual dysfunction.
  • Respiratory disorders: allergies, asthma, cough, colds.

This list is by no means complete; many other conditions can be treated using acupuncture.

What about the needles?
The needles used in acupuncture are very fine and flexible. They are solid and as slender as a human hair. The insertion of the needles through the skin is generally painless but the patient will experience a tingling, ache or grabbing sensation as the needle connects with the Qi. This subsides within a few seconds.

Maria Cook uses only disposable needles. These come prepackaged and sterilized and are only used once.

The number of needles used and where they are placed depends on your individual needs. Five Element Acupuncture calls for the use of as few needles as possible and placement of the needles may be quite distant from the site of the pain.

What can I expect from treatment and how can I support progress?
Response to treatment varies person to person. Some people feel instant results; with others, the benefits are more subtle and accumulate over time. You may first notice an improvement in your overall health before your main complaint improves. Or you may notice a marked improvement in your main complaint right away. You may feel revitalized mentally and emotionally, as well as physically, or you may experience only subtle changes that become obvious later when you turn your attention back to how you used to feel.

In between visits, it is helpful to notice any changes in sleep, digestion, energy, dreams, emotions, and your ability to cope. Also notice anything that remains the same. This feedback is very important to the practitioner and helps determine the next step in treatment.

You will not be asked to change your life drastically. In fact, you are encouraged to continue taking any prescription medications or vitamins and to continue your daily routines. Often the restored natural balance will lead you to make healthier choices.

On the day of your treatment please do not use any heavy scents or perfumes, do not take a thorough soap bath or shower and do not use too much make-up as the practitioner needs her senses to diagnose an imbalance and will be observing color, odor, sound, and emotion. Also, avoid a heavy meal right before treatment and wait a few hours afterwards before strenuous exercising or consuming alcohol. If possible, relax and allow the treatment to integrate.