Nicole Heuschkel, L.Ac, our acupuncturist, has answered some questions you may have before getting your first acupuncture treatment done. In a Q&A, she tells us how acupuncture alleviates more than just physical pain, how it can affect your balance and energy levels and what you can expect to feel during and after a consultation. She addresses what our doctors at Monmouth Pain and Rehabilitation do to develop the best treatment plan depending on the levels of pain and discomfort you are experiencing.
We tend to believe that how we’re feeling internally is completely different from how we’re feeling physically. Nicole explains that how we’re feeling internally can definitely have an impact on how we’re feeling externally and in some cases, stress and worries may even be the underlying reason for our physical pain. Acupuncture is known to treat both types of problems, even if you’ve only recognized one type of problem.
Q: Do more patients come in to get acupuncture treatments for internal illnesses such as anxiety or external illnesses such as pain?
A: Most people will come into the facility because they are in pain. Common physical issues include lower and upper back pain, neck pain and knee pain. Once people come in for a consultation and we establish a level of comfort with a few treatments, people usually open up to having a lot of stress and anxiety from pressure due to work, family and other outside factors. Little do people know that what goes on internally, manifests externally. Many times, both types of ailments are inter-connected.
Q: While using acupuncture treatment, how do the mechanisms that treat pain differ from the mechanisms that treat stress/worries?
A: The mechanism used for pain vs. stress is actually very similar. Whether the ailment is physical or mental, there is some type of blockage of the energy. The goal is always to remove this blockage and bring balance back to the body. Acupuncture essentially strives to return the body back to the parasympathetic state, where it is in a state of rest. When this occurs, the body is able to function properly and heal itself. If there is something strictly physical, other modalities like electric acupuncture and/or cupping may be suggested, to help break up stagnation of blood and energy, increase circulation and actively release muscle tension.
Q: How does acupuncture play a role in restoring balance and energy?
A: This correlates to answer above. The body is always going between the states of sympathetic and parasympathetic. When a person in in a sympathetic state (fight vs. flight), their heart is racing, blood pressure usually increases, muscles tighten, breathing gets shallow and quickens, etc. The body is essentially “stressed.” In our society, we spread ourselves too thin. When the body is stressed, energy is not flowing properly. This leads to an imbalance of hormones, muscle tension, improper digestion and so on. We strive to be in a state of rest, the parasympathetic state. This is when the body is relaxed. There is no stress, therefore energy is free flowing and the body can keep itself balanced.
Q: What can I expect to feel as I’m getting acupuncture done compared to how I’ll feel after I get it done? (Example: Feeling tense and sore during but feeling relaxed and loose after)
A: Everyone experiences something different. Most people report that the needles do not hurt and that they barely feel them. While laying with the needles, most people say they feel very relaxed. Many patients fall asleep within minutes. With the shift of energy, feeling a change in temperature and/or a floating or heavy sensation in common. When the treatment is
over, patients usually find that they sleep better that night and continue to have that relaxed feeling. On the other hand, some people report they do not feel any different. With this, it may take a few treatments to really see/feel any changes.
Q: How often do I have to get treatments before I start to experience symptoms less severe/frequent and how much do I have to come to maintain this positive change?
A: Again, everyone is different. I have seen people feel 100% better after only one treatment without the same complaint arising. It really depends on how severe their ailment is, how long they have had it, how they are responding to treatment, as well as how they alter patterns physically/mentally. Based on these factors I create a treatment plan for the patient. They will do X amount of treatments per week until they are feeling improvement. Once the condition is under control, the patient is put on a maintenance plan where the frequency of visits will continually be less and less.
Get Evaluated at Monmouth Pain and Rehabilitation
If you are experiencing physical or emotional symptoms of pain, please don’t hesitate to call our office at 732-345-1377 to find out more about acupuncture and how it can potentially be a way to lessen symptoms. We understand that everyone is different, which is why our doctors in Monmouth County will evaluate you so they can set up the best maintenance plan for you upon your first visit!