Many people may find acupuncture needles to be somewhat intimidating or maybe even terrifying. After all, for those who are not familiar with traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), these kinds of treatments may seem outlandish. However, there is actually nothing to fear from these needles, and you’ll find out why.
What acupuncture needles are for
To understand the function of the needles used in acupuncture, you first need to familiarize yourself with the principles of TCM. According to the principles of TCM, good health results from the balance in the life force that flows through each individual, called qi (pronounced “chee”). Qi flows along markers called meridians. When the flow of qi is disrupted, or is blocked in certain meridians, ill health can occur.
There are a number of ways that a TCM practitioner can help a patient restore the normal flow and balance of their qi. One of these ways is acupuncture, a practice that’s thousands of years old. Acupuncture entails the use of needles, which a practitioner inserts into the acupuncture points related to the patient’s symptoms. The needles are meant to correct the flow of qi by stimulating the right combination of acupuncture points.
Are the needles safe?
Generally, yes. In fact, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) holds acupuncture needles to the same standards that it holds medical equipment like syringes and surgical tools like scalpels.
Acupuncture practitioners should sterilize their needles and use them only once on a single patient. There is very low risk of infection, but you have to make sure that you go to a licensed acupuncturist with a good reputation. There are probably unlicensed acupuncturists that sterilize their needles and use them only once, but you can never really be sure. Licensed acupuncturists, at least, are bound by safety standards. They ensure that their needles are clean and disposed right after use.
It’s important to be discerning about the acupuncturist you choose. Research has found that acupuncture and the needles themselves are generally safe. However, the side effects related to the treatment seem to have something to do with the lack of hygiene and care by the acupuncturist. Even so, side effects are rare, and often occur accidentally or due to careless or unskilled practitioners.
Tram Pham, a Licensed Acupuncturist, owns and operates the Santa Barbara Herb Clinic. You can expect safe and effective treatment in her hands. She has a Master’s Degree in Chinese Medicine from Yo San University in Los Angeles, and she also has years of experience that have helped her hone her skills and techniques.
If you’re unsure about acupuncture and would like to learn more about TCM, you can schedule a consultation with Tram and get a feel of acupuncture as a practice. However, before you make an appointment for acupuncture, make sure to consult with your doctor first. You should also bring your medical records to the clinic so Tram can figure out the best way to help you.
What to expect
Your first acupuncture session may yield some surprises, but there are some things that you can expect to happen. The acupuncturist will likely ask you to lie on your back, stomach, or side, depending on which acupuncture points need stimulation. The needles generally don’t hurt or prick like other needles, but you may feel a stinging or tingling sensation when your acupuncturist inserts the needles into your skin. You can have anywhere between 5 to 20 needles in one session.
It’s also possible that you’ll feel some numbness in the insertion sites. You may also feel a sensation of heaviness after the session, but these are normal. Even so, try to communicate the things you feel or experience to your Licensed Acupuncturist. This way, in the off chance that something has gone wrong, your acupuncturist can fix it right then and there.
Once the acupuncturist has inserted the needles into your skin, you can expect them to stay there for 5 to 30 minutes. However, just one session is also usually not enough to address symptoms. You may need to come back for several more sessions until the treatment is over.
Acupuncture at the Santa Barbara Herb Clinic
Acupuncture needles are nothing to fear as long as they’re in the right hands. At the Santa Barbara Herb Clinic, they are. The clinic has been around since 1986. It was founded by Dr. Jean Yu, and grew for many years under the lat Dr. Han’s care. In 2016, ownership passed to Tram, and she has been continuing the clinic’s good work ever since.
You can get in touch with us and book an appointment by calling us at 805-563-0222. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our clinic is open from Monday to Friday, 9am to 5:30pm. For your convenience, you can also have a consultation with Tram over the phone or via video call. Contact us today to learn more about acupuncture by experiencing it yourself!