What is Acupuncture?
In practice it is the insertion of tiny, single-use, stainless steel needles into various spots around the body. These spots can be almost anywhere on the body with insertion depth of just below the skin down to the muscle and fascia. The ancient Chinese were very astute in understanding in a time before MRIs and microscopes that pain and disorders appear in areas of the body where there is poor circulation of blood and nutritional factors like oxygen and proteins. They called it Qi & Blood stagnation in the vessel pathways. When these blockages occur from trauma or repetitive strain the best way to open them back up is by using acupuncture. Our colleague Dr. Bartolotti has made a video we love that explains it all you can view above.
How Does It Work?
Acupuncture works by having a very powerful effect on the central nervous system that causes a systemic reaction to an area of pain or dysfunction. When a needle is inserted into the correct area of the body it will have an effect on the nervous system pathway the needle was inserted into. The brain registers the needle and will release its own pain killers to shut off the pain response. That means even if a needle is placed in the leg the entire circuit that feeds up into the back will benefit from the release of the systems natural opioids. If there is back pain the feeling can dissipate shortly after the needle registers.
This further causes all of the blood vessels along the nervous pathway to dilate – open up – and move fresh nutrient rich blood through the area of constriction in the back. Over time, much like a cut on your finger, the damage to the deeper tissue in the body will resolve using the systems own repair mechanisms. Acupuncture can also stimulate what are called trigger points in muscle fibers. When a needle is inserted into a strained muscle trigger point the muscle will overload and jump the muscle releasing the fibers from their rigid positioning. This will allow blood to move into the site of needle insertion healing the injured muscle and releasing the muscle from constricting a nearby nerve causing radiating pain.
Is It Safe?
All the needles used are sterile, single-use needles so there is no need to worry about contamination. Because the needles are so small the insertion sites close almost immediately after a needle is removed, so you will not require a band-aid like after a shot. Acupuncturists are trained under hundreds of hours of guidance to be aware of where major nerves are present and how to needle in order to avoid puncturing internal organs. Please note that receiving a needle therapy from someone who does not have this kind of training can result in pneumothorax (collapsed lung) or other painful conditions. Safety and your health is our first concern at this clinic. Acupuncture is so safe it is consistently being recommended by physicians around the US for pain relief and as an invaluable tool as a non-pharmacologic and non-addictive solution to the opioid crisis.
Does It Hurt?
Most acupuncture points are not felt as the needle is so fine and insertion is so quick. On the bonier regions of the body it can feel like a bug bite in the area of insertion, but will quickly dissipate. No needle will be left in if there is discomfort. The experience is supposed to be comfortable and relaxing. Occasionally if trigger point therapy is used the jump in the muscle fiber can be uncomfortable or cause soreness after the treatment. Because this type of needling is more invasive we reserve it as our last line of treatment as it can be beneficial in some situations.
What Can I Expect?
The wonderful thing about our clinic is we can treat most conditions simply using the regions from the elbow to hand and knee to foot, meaning you just have to wear clothing that can be rolled up to the knees and elbows. This allows a comfortable environment where no one has to get undressed and a patient can rest comfortably face up on a table so they do not feel claustrophobic. Certain conditions we may add points on the head, ear, or abdomen, but again no disrobing will be required. We prefer a patient coming in with an active pain complaint so that we can assess and treat same day. We want every patient to feel an immediate reduction of pain on the table and when they walk out. Every body is different in its response to acupuncture. However, we consider first treatment successful if relief lasts a few hours to a few days. As a patient continues with follow-up visits the relief should last longer and longer until the body has fully corrected itself.
How Much Does It Cost?
Due to our experience and technique we charge $100 per session of acupuncture. At our clinic we have experience treating so many different conditions we will come up with a plan specially customized to your needs so you can benefit from a bulk discount. Acupuncture is unfortunately not a mandated covered procedure in Michigan, please contact your insurer to see if they offer coverage. If yes, we will offer you a detailed billing statement to submit for reimburse-ment. We do accept all HSA & FSAs.
Does Acupuncture Work for Everyone?
In our experience, 90% of patients receive improvement from acupuncture in their first visits. However, we also know there are cases where acupuncture will not be effective. Patients with MS and other central nervous system disorders can benefit from acupuncture in the early stages of the disease, however, since acupuncture relies on the nervous system to have an effect, those with progressed symptoms may unfortunately get no relief. Having worked with several MS patients this is a field of medicine Jason is very passionate about, but knows the limits in treatment. The best way to know for sure if you can benefit from acupuncture is to schedule a consultation so we can make an assessment and set you up with a trial series of visits.
Are There Different Styles of Acupuncture?
Yes! Since acupuncture has such a long history of practice in China, Japan, and Korea many unique techniques have been utilized. To name a few there is distal, scalp, auricular, electro, and trigger point acupuncture. Jason is very familiar with most techniques and will use the one appropriate for your condition.
I've Tried Acupuncture Before and Didn't Get Results, Why Should I Try Again?
Just like in Western Medicine, it’s best to get a second opinion. We often hear from our patients that we do things a little differently and that they’ve never experienced relief so quickly from any type of treatment. Jason has gone around the world to search out the best techniques to use in our clinic so patients never leave wondering “did this really work?” A complete understanding of how acupuncture works is also necessary to be successful. At Garuda Health acupuncture is explained in scientific and western terminology our patients understand. Because of Jason’s background in Chinese & Japanese languages he is able to translate this medicine in a way everyone can access. Furthermore, because of his extensive experience in a clinical setting having over 10,000 patient visits he knows what to expect and will never continue treatment in a person where he is nothaving an effect.
What Is Dry Needling?
A Brief History of Acupuncture
The first written history of acupuncture comes from China over 2000 years ago. These first texts are the first account on diagnosis and when/where to prick various points around the body to treat various ailments. During China’s Imperial history acupuncture became a prominent part of medical practice that was continually written about and debated for its best usage. Even during the rise of Mao and the Communists in China, acupuncture was still seen as valuable and became standardized into the new modern hospitals. The practice of acupuncture has spread across the world throughout the 20th Century, with President Nixon’s visit to China as a major point of interest for Americans. Since that time clinics and schools have opened up across the USA and have become part of everyday medical care in some states. Acupuncture is recognized as a valuable treatment for pain and various conditions by the NIH and WHO while continuing to perform well under many studies and clinical trials.