What is acupuncture?

Acupuncturist, Sita Symonette is a recent addition to our Wellness Network and works out of her office in the Pearl District in NW Portland. Since you may not be familiar with the benefits of acupuncture, Sita answers a few questions about the treatments below, as well as her special 21 Day Cleanse.

1. What is acupuncture and how does it work?

Acupuncture is an essential part of traditional Chinese medicine, a comprehensive system of health care with a continuous clinical history of over 3000 years. Acupuncture points are specific locations along the meridians. Each point has a predictable effect upon body. Modern science has been able to measure the electrical charge at these points, thus corroborating the locations to the meridians mapped out. An Acupuncturist chooses specific acupuncture points to treat different conditions. Each acupuncture treatment is individualized for the person receiving the treatment. The acupuncture points that are chosen work together to bring balance the body in order to rid the body of pain and disease.

2. Does acupuncture hurt?

In a word, No. However, you will feel the needles and the effects of the treatment. When the needles are inserted, you might feel a small pinch that will go away almost immediately after the insertion. You may feel a dull, heavy or warm sensation around the needle. These sensations are OK, and in fact, it means the needles are doing their job. If anything is uncomfortable during a treatment, tell your acupuncturist and the needle can be adjusted.

3. Is acupuncture safe?

Yes, acupuncture is safe if performed by a qualified, conscientious practitioner. Licensed Acupuncturists know the human anatomy well, and insert needles in a safe fashion. The instruments used to penetrate the skin are all new and disposable after a single use. In addition each acupuncture point is cleaned before any acupuncture is performed.

4. Are you touching nerves with the needles?

No. Acupuncture needles are not inserted with the intention of contacting nerves or blood vessels. The needles are accessing the different meridians of the body, and these internal pathways of energy are not the same physical structures as nerves or blood vessels. Acupuncture needles are solid ground--not hollow ground like hypodermic needles. The needles are also very thin and flexible, so that if a nerve or blood vessel is accidentally contacted, there is minimal risk of any damage to that tissue.

5. What are some of the conditions and diseases do you treat most often?

The World Health Organization recognizes Acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine’s ability to treat over 43 common disorders. Many conditions may be alleviated very rapidly by Acupuncture & Chinese medicine. Some conditions you may consider using acupuncture for include:
Bone, Muscle & Joint Pain; Fertility; Weight Loss; Headaches & Migraines; Sports Injuries; Cancer Treatment Support; Stress; Depression & Anxiety.

6. How many treatments does it take to see results?

In general, I recommend a course of five treatments before I expect dramatic results. However, it is not unheard of for results to be immediately noticeable after a treatment. For acute conditions, change usually happens more quickly than for a long standing, chronic condition. Since acupuncture is a unique healing modality for most of us in the West, it tends to take the body a little while to adjust to all the subtle effects of the treatment. It is best, therefore, to build a relationship with acupuncture with a series of treatments so that in the long run your body will respond more quickly to any treatments.

7. Are there any side effects from treatment?

While most side effects of an acupuncture and Oriental medical treatment are rare and minimal, a few can exist. Some common side effects are: sensitivity at an acupuncture point, a small aggravation of symptoms as the body adjusts itself to a new healing potential, and a groggy feeling after treatment, as if one just woke from a deep sleep. In addition there are often Side Benefits from acupuncture such as stress reduction and the decrease of other symptoms you may be experiencing that we are not directly treating.

7. What should I expect from my first visit to your office?

Your first acupuncture treatment will last about 75 minutes (follow up treatments are 60 minutes). During the first treatment, I will spend the first 30 minutes explaining Acupuncture and answering any questions you may have. I will also ask you questions to get a comprehensive idea of what you are coming in to have treatment for. Once I have this understanding I will talk with you about a treatment plan and you will have your first Acupuncture treatment. This will be done in a relaxing and private treatment room, once all the needles are in place you will have a chance to rest and relax for 30 minutes with nice soft music playing. During your relaxation time I will come in and check on you to make sure you are comfortable. At the end of the 30 minutes I will remove all needles and you will leave the office feeling refreshed and renewed.

8. Is there anything special that I need to do afterwards?

There is nothing in particular that you have to do after an acupuncture treatment. There are some modalities used in conjunction with acupuncture that may call for some after treatment care, if these modalities are used I will explain the after treatment care before hand. It is important that you have eaten before a treatment especially if your treatment is in the morning.

9. Is acupuncture covered by insurance?

Many insurance companies in Portland, Oregon do cover acupuncture, the list below are insurance companies that I often work with:
Regence Blue Cross Blue Shield
American Specialty Health
Pacific Source
United Healthcare
(I will soon be working with Kaiser)

You can try out the benefits of acupuncture yourself with a special 21-Day Cleanse Treatment. This cleanse is designed to help you jump start your weight loss and tune up your body from the inside out. Over a 21 day period we take particular foods out of your diet to create a more alkaline environment and detoxify your body.

Here is an overview of what the cleanse entails:

(Examples of the Foods Avoided Based on the Week - This list is not exhaustive just an example)

Week One: Caffeine, Fast food, & Dairy
Week Two: Sugar & Wheat
Week Three: Seafood

Throughout the 3 weeks I will be giving you recipes to help you through the cleanse, I will give you nutritional advice and we will talk about nutritional supplements that you can take throughout the cleanse to help you detoxify and lose weight.

The cleanse consists of:
• 3 weeks of recipes to support you through the cleanse.
• 4 Acupuncture treatments to decrease food cravings and reduce stress.
• Herbal detoxifying tea.
• Nutritional Supplements

Cost: $200

About Our Guest Blogger:
Sita Symonette, LAc is a recent addition to our Wellness Network. She is a graduate from Oregon College of Oriental Medicine with a Masters of Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine and a Bachelors of Science in Biological Psychology from Western Washington University. She specializes in weight loss, treating acute or chronic pain, sports injuries, headaches and fertility. Her goal is to enhance people’s quality of life by using the natural healing modality of acupuncture. Contact her at Lacroute Natural Medicine 505 NW 9th Ave Portland, OR 97209. Phone: 503.308.9363 Email: seasymonette@gmail.com

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