All About Acupuncture: How to know if it’s right for you
Many people turn to alternative medicine when they want to explore healing opportunities outside of the Western approach. Acupuncture continues to be at the forefront of alternative healing and is projected to continuing growing in popularity well into 2023. We sat down with Siri Michel, Co-Owner and Acupuncturist at Essential Acupuncture Chicago and she broke down the benefits of acupuncture, what first-timers can expect and how the treatment truly works.
How does acupuncture work?
The main goal of acupuncture is self-healing. It is said to correct imbalances of energy flow by placing needles at acupuncture points on the body. This increases blood flow and stimulates the body’s natural healing energy.
Says Michel, “Sometimes there aren’t a lot of great options in Western medicine and acupuncture can help your body heal itself naturally.”
How do I know if it’s right for me?
Some people are hesitant about trying acupuncture because they aren’t sure if it’s the right fit for their ailment. It’s important to understand acupuncture isn’t just for pain and fertility treatments. People with digestive issues, sinus issues, painful periods, endometriosis, anxiety, insomnia and peripheral neuropathy can all benefit from acupuncture.
“Many of our clients have exhausted other options and decided they don’t want want to take prescription medicine for what is going on in their body,” shared Michel. “You don’t have to believe in acupuncture for it to work. I strongly support Western medicine and they have their set of tools that they are taught to use. I think people want to have a more holistic experience and that is what acupuncture can provide.”
However, Michel is quick to note that everyone can benefit from acupuncture, not just those with specific issues. “Even if you don’t have something ‘going on’ we’re all living in a fairly energy-intensive world with stimulus coming at us from all different directions. We get used to this pace and forget what it feels like to be relaxed and regulated -- acupuncture does that for you.”
How do you find the right acupuncturist?
Michel likes to work with patients by identifying patterns or triggers in their life that they maybe haven’t noticed before. Her goal is to help patients learn more about themselves so they can gain control over their health. Essential Acupuncture Chicago offers a free fifteen-minute consultation to make sure their clinic is the right fit and to take away that entry-level stress.
If you’re looking at other acupuncturists, you want to make sure they are licensed in the state you’re located (all acupuncturist in Illinois are regulated by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation). Shared Michel, “You also want to be comfortable with the person you’re working with. That first meeting should be a conversation. Do you feel they have talked to you about the process? Be sure to ask any questions to make sure you feel safe.”
What should I expect during my first treatment?
After your consultation, the acupuncturist will have decided your needle pattern based on your body’s needs and lifestyle patterns. Everyone will have a different needle pattern, even if they are going in for the same treatment, because everyone’s bodies work differently.
Once the needles are inserted, you may feel an achiness or heavy feeling all over the body. You also might feel different sensations all over the body, or you may not feel anything at all. Sensations may change each appointment and that’s completely normal.
You can expect to rest with the needles for 25-30 minutes. Most appointments will last between 45-60 minutes including the before and after consultation.
How long does it take to feel a difference in my body?
Living in our current culture, a common question to ask would be “how long will this take?” and Michel says that’s completely reasonable. “The longer you’ve had something going on, the longer it would take to treat but that doesn’t mean you won’t see changes in the first two to six visits. Often people will feel better immediately walking out the door — at the very least they’ll feel very relaxed.”
Although you’ll feel almost immediate relaxation, it’s important to frequently return to your acupuncturist, especially at the beginning. Shared Michel, “It’s kind of like taking prescription medicine, you have to come every week for a period of time until your body learns how to function optimally. We want people to get well and leave and come back if they need to.”
Once patients start to feel better, many of them continue to make acupuncture a part of their monthly routine in order to regain that calming energy that they found during their initial sessions. If you’re curious to learn more about how acupuncture can help you, schedule your free consultation with Essential Acupuncture Chicago!