What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is the insertion of flexible, hair-thin needles at specific points on the body. Even thousands of years ago, it was discovered that mental and physical stress causes disharmonies in the body that can show up as illness. Traditional Chinese medicine theory explains these disharmonies as an imbalance of yin and yang. This disharmony disrupts the movement of the body’s vital energy or qi along the energetic, meridian pathways which are channels through which the body’s energy (qi) flows. Acupuncture restores the proper flow of qi. By inserting and manipulating needles in a very specific and painless manner, I am able to return the body to its natural balance and promote the body’s natural ability to heal itself.
What Does Acupuncture Feel Like?
Sometimes, first-time patients may be concerned that acupuncture needles may feel like blood draws or injections. This is the furthest from the truth. Acupuncture needles are very thin and flexible and you barely notice when the needles are inserted. Jasmine Patel, MSAOM, LAc specializes in a very gentle and painless insertion technique. I even treat children who find treatments painless and pleasant. I use the highest quality, sterile, disposable, surgical stainless steel needles. Once the needles are inserted, I gently stimulate them and at that time, you may feel a heavy, achy, spreading or traveling sensation. Sometimes, patients may also feel a light “electrical” sensation moving up or down the meridian. Most patients find the treatment sensations calming and patients leave the treatment feeling, relaxed mentally and physically. Many patients fall asleep during their acupuncture treatments and wake feeling refreshed and relaxed.
How Many Treatments Will I Need?
The benefits of acupuncture are cumulative, so generally, more than one treatment is necessary. For acute conditions, you can expect to have 6 – 8 treatments, but you will usually begin to feel relief after just the first few. It is important to complete the treatment cycle so the condition does not recur. Chronic conditions, may take longer to respond because they have been present longer. Preventive treatments and treatments for general wellness may also be scheduled as needed. Each person is an individual and your treatment plan will be customized for you and explained to you at your visit.
Is Acupuncture Safe?
Yes, it is safe. Acupuncture is used by millions of Americans every year and it is used by patients worldwide. Acupuncturists undergo extensive education and training. Jasmine Patel, MSAOM, LAc graduated from Bastyr University and has passed the national board examinations administered by the National Certification Commission of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) and I am licensed by the state of Oregon and Washington. I am also one of the few acupuncturists who completed a medical residency in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. I use pre-sterilized, disposable, single-use needles to ensure your health and safety.
Your First Visit
When you arrive for your first acupuncture appointment, I will ask you to complete a comprehensive intake form. If you have called far enough in advance, I will mail or fax you the intake form so you can fill it out before your first visit. The intake form asks questions about your current health, past illnesses and family history. These questions are important because the holistic approach of Oriental medicine takes everything into account. Your current symptoms may not seem related to past health issues, but everything that has happened in the past has left its mark on the complex landscape that is your body.
After reviewing your intake form, we will discuss your condition and I will feel your pulse and look at your tongue. Pulse and tongue observation are basic diagnostic methods used in Oriental medicine. The acupuncture points I choose will depend on your condition and your constitution. The points chosen for you can be very different than the points chosen for someone else with the same condition. The treatment is individualized for each patient according to the patient’s constitution and the way the imbalance manifests in your body. Once the needles are in place, I will leave you to rest for 15 – 20 minutes with the needles in place. Most people find acupuncture treatment very relaxing and lose all track of time and space, many patients fall asleep during treatment. I will leave you with a pager button so should you need me before I return, you can press the button and my pager will tell me to return to your room. Each treatment room has its own heater/fan so the room can be a comfortable temperature for you.
What Can Acupuncture Treat?
Acupuncture works by activating the body’s own healing ability, so it can be beneficial for many health conditions. The World Health Organization (WHO) has documented many symptoms, diseases, and conditions that have been shown in controlled clinical trials to be effectively treated with acupuncture. I have listed some common conditions I can treat, but please feel free to contact me about any questions you may have about your specific health condition. I have treated these conditions and many more.
- Muscle Pain
- Back, neck, and shoulder pain
- Arm, wrist, and hand pain
- Leg, ankle, and foot pain
- Sports injuries
- Knee pain
- Hip pain
- Tennis/Golfers Elbow
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Repetitive strain/repetitive motion injuries
- TMJ (jaw pain)
- Tooth/dental pain
- Fibromyalgia/myofascial pain
- Headaches and migraines
- Post-operative pain
Digestive Issues & Nausea
- IBS (irritable bowel syndrome)
- Chronic indigestion
- Peptic ulcer/Duodenal ulcer
- Chronic loose stools or constipation
- Acute and chronic gastritis
- Morning sickness
- Nause and vomiting
- Post-operative nausea and vomiting
Mental and Emotional Wellbeing
- Stress reactions
- Common cold/Influenza
- Allergic rhinitis
Reproductive Issues/Women’s Health
- Infertility/Transition in Menopause/Menopausal Issues
- Increased efficacy of IVF (in vitro fertilization) and IUI (intrauterine insemination).
Jasmine Patel, MSAOM, LAc is also trained in NAET ( an allergy elimination technique). She can help desensitize you to environmental and food allergies/intolerances. Many patients have benefitted from these allergy treatments.
Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine
Recently, you may have found yourself wondering about “alternative” medicine and if there is anything it can offer you. You may have heard how Sandra Bullock has her own personal acupuncturist who travels with her everywhere, including from movie set to movie set. You may have also heard how the Olympic teams have acupuncturists on staff for the athletes. You may find yourself wondering if this is just a Hollywood craze or if there is any benefit to what millions of people across the US and billions over the world are using on a daily basis to help with all kinds of ailments.
Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine is also known as Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). This system of medicine has been used for over 3,000 years in China and is still used today as one of the main modalities of medicine. If you think of its history, there is hardly anything “alternative” about it. A visit to a doctor who practices TCM differs from a visit to your primary care doctor in several ways. Your first visit can be up to 1 ½ hours long and a detailed medical history is taken. Unlike your primary care doctor who seems rushed all the time and doesn’t have time to listen to you fully, TCM doctors want to hear everything you have to say because that is one of the main ways to gather information about your condition. Other diagnostic techniques used include feeling your pulse on both wrists in three different positions and looking at your tongue. The blood pressure may be taken and your heart and lungs may be checked using a stethoscope.
Another main difference is that you and a friend may have the same medical problem and your primary care doctor may have both of you on the same medication but your acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine visit would not be the same. It is very likely that different points and different herbal medicine will be prescribed for the same condition. The reason for this is that each person is different and the way a disease or illness manifests in each person can be very different. The treatment is always customized and tailored for each patient. In this way, we avoid needless side effects and treatments are very successful.
You may be wondering what types of problems can be treated using acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine and how many treatments are necessary. Well, we can pretty much treat any medical condition. Commonly, people come in for back pain, arthritis, PMS, menstrual cramps, stress, asthma, migraines/headaches, sports injuries, fibromyalgia, anxiety, insomnia, digestive disorders, food allergies, seasonal allergies, joint pain and stiffness, post-surgical pain, and to minimize scars from injuries and surgery. Generally, six to eight treatments are necessary and then occasional treatments to keep the system in balance. Treatments are generally given once a week and Chinese herbal medicine is prescribed to be taken on a daily basis to help enhance the acupuncture treatments.
You may also be wondering if acupuncture hurts. Well, when the hair-thin needle is initially inserted, you may feel a slight sensation like a mosquito bite. After that, the sensation you feel on the point can vary from heaviness, distension, a slight ache, electrical feeling, etc. Each point can feel different. Generally, once all the needles are in (it can vary between 4-20 needles per treatment depending on the condition), patients generally feel extremely relaxed.