Frequently Asked Questions
WHAT TO KNOW BEFORE YOUR FIRST VISIT:
Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing, have something light to eat 1-2 hours before your appointment, and avoid caffeine or alcohol before coming in. Acupuncture usually leaves patients feeling relaxed and rejuvenated, these effects can continue for several days or longer. To get the most from your treatment, it’s best to avoid exercise and overworking following your appointment.
WHAT TO EXPECT:
Your first visit usually lasts somewhere between 1 and 1 1/2 hours. We will have a thorough discussion about your current condition, past medical history, and lifestyle. Creating a diagnosis in Traditional Chinese Medicine entails looking closely at all of the systems in your body and finding overlapping themes among symptoms which may be seemingly unrelated but have great meaning in Chinese Medicine.
WHAT TO EXPECT:
Carefully evaluating overlapping themes among symptoms leads to your Chinese Medical diagnosis. Based on what we have discussed and this diagnosis, I will look at all that makes you, quite simply, YOU and create a treatment plan based on your individual patterns. Acupuncture points are selected based on your diagnosis and current condition, and herbs are prescribed if appropriate.
Once the needles have been inserted and we’ve ensured that everything feels comfortable, you’ll rest on the table for close to 30 minutes. Most patients find acupuncture to be very relaxing and often fall asleep while they are resting.
WHAT IS ACUPUNCTURE?
Acupuncture is one part of a larger system of medicine called Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Chinese medicine is a comprehensive system of medicine that has been used for over 3,000 years to diagnose, treat, and prevent illness. During an acupuncture treatment, sterile, single-use acupuncture needles are inserted into carefully chosen points on the body. The selection of acupuncture points is based on your individual Chinese Medical diagnosis. Traditional Chinese Medicine is rooted in the concepts of Yin, Yang, and Qi (pronounced CHEE). Qi is a vital energy present in all forms of life. It also flows throughout the organs and acupuncture channels within the body. Acupuncture is used to influence and balance the flow of qi. In areas where the qi is stuck, we move it; where it is deficient, we nourish it; where it is excess, we disperse it. The body has an innate ability to heal itself. Acupuncture helps to balance and restore your body’s own natural healing ability.
HOW DOES ACUPUNCTURE WORK?
Scientific research into the physiological changes in the body which take place with the insertion of acupuncture needles is ongoing, but results so far suggest that acupuncture increases blood flow and circulation thus drawing cells to areas in need of healing. Acupuncture has also been shown to release endorphins influencing the body’s pain response.
IS ACUPUNCTURE SAFE?
Yes, acupuncture is safe if performed by a qualified, educated, and licensed practitioner. Sara has completed a 4 year Master’s Degree program at an accredited acupuncture school, Oregon College of Oriental Medicine in Portland, OR. She has also passed rigorous national board exams in order to become a licensed acupuncturist in the state of Colorado.
DOES ACUPUNCTURE HURT?
Most patients report that they hardly feel anything when the needles are inserted. Occasionally, patients experience a dull ache, heaviness, slight numbness or tingling at the insertion site. This is a desirable effect referred to as “de qi” which means the “arrival of qi” at a point. These sensations are often fleeting, but be assured that I will make sure all of the needles feel comfortable before I leave the room. I practice a very gentle style of acupuncture and firmly believe that acupuncture does not need to hurt to help you feel better. Many people find acupuncture to be so relaxing that they fall asleep while the needles are in.
But I HATE needles…
Acupuncture needles are TINY. 25 to 50 times thinner than your typical hypodermic needle, in fact. They are so thin that they can be bent and are often compared to the size of a strand of hair!
HOW DEEP DO THE NEEDLES GO?
This depends on many things- the patients age, constitution and diagnosis, the area of the body we’re working on, and the acupuncture style being used. Acupuncture points are on or very near the surface of the skin, so most needles are only inserted a few millimeters.
HOW MANY TREATMENTS WILL I NEED?
Regular and consistent acupuncture treatments yield the best results. For many conditions, I recommend weekly treatment for 3 to 5 weeks. For some conditions it may take as many as 8-10 treatments. Keep in mind that our health conditions did not develop overnight and take some time to correct. Acupuncture is cumulative in effect meaning that the results of each treatment are typically greater than and last longer than the previous treatment. When your treatment results are giving you lasting relief, we start spacing out your treatments. Each person is unique and these recommendations vary from person to person. Please contact me with any questions about your particular condition and how it usually responds to acupuncture.
Sara Bates Acupuncture
"Natural forces within us are the true healers of disease" - Hippocrates
Sara is a Colorado state licensed acupuncturist in Fort Collins, Colorado. She provides treatments to patients looking for healing, pain relief, hormone balance, and the tools to feel empowered in their health care decisions.
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Licensed Acupuncturist (LAc) by the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies; NCCAOM Diplomate of Acupuncture; Masters of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine from Oregon College of Oriental Medicine; Specialty in Womens Health; DONA trained Birth Doula; Yoga Teacher with additional training in pre and post natal yoga.