Needles are used in acupuncture because they have a longer lasting effect on the body. If an area is massaged or a heat patch applied there is blood vessel dilation in that area for roughly 20 minutes. Whereas a needle will bring blood and tissue change to the area for up to 3 days.
Why do I have the needles in for so long?
The longer needle retention allows for both you and your body to adjust. Once the needles are inserted, hormones are released from the spinal cord and travel down the nerve that was stimulated. Other hormones are also released from the different endocrine organs to circulate through the body. The longer retention time allows for all of these processes to occur.
How does needling on the other side of the body work?
One of the mechanisms acupuncture utilises is your own body’s reflexes. For example, if you step on a nail before that signal reaches the brain, the spinal cord will react and cause your leg to lift away from the source of pain. It also sends a signal to the other leg to push down. Which keeps your balance so you don’t fall over. We skillfully select which muscle and nerve path we simulate so we can tell muscle on the other side of the body to either tighten and strength or relax using this pathway.
The needles can induce dull, heavy, itchy, funny or strange sensations. Is that normal and what is it?
Yes it is normal and in most cases the desired feeling. Those sensations occur when the correct type of tissue is stimulated by the needle, which means the nervous and endocrine systems have been reached. The Chinese have a special name for this sensation called “de chi” – creating and manipulating this sensation is the basis of acupuncture.
What if I’m sore the next day?
Sometimes we can cause bruising with the needles, which can result in minor tenderness. However, in most cases the tenderness and soreness is a positive thing in the long run. Soreness at the site of the needling means your body has reacted and continued to react, which often means a good outcome from the treatment.
What can I expect after treatment?
Everyone is different, however we normally hope for three days of change from the first treatment. This can vary due the how long the issue has been present and the intensity of the problem. Each time you receive acupuncture we build on that initial change giving your body longer and longer to heal. That is why we normally ask that your next treatment be about 3 days after your first.
Preferably you would take it easy for the rest of the day, in the case where needles have been inserted directly into tight muscles and tissue. They work by damaging the tissue just like a work out. Therefore, treat those parts of the body just like you would if you had worked them out. Try not to overuse them otherwise they could end up feeling sore.