Written by Ellisia Grove, LAc
WHAT IS ACUPUNCTURE?
Acupuncture is an ancient form of East Asian medicine that has survived thousands of years and countless social changes. It employs a holistic diagnostic system that is celebrated for preventing and addressing the root causes of pain and disease. As Eastern and Western medical disciplines integrate, acupuncture is increasingly recognized as a primary intervention for the treatment of pain.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
There are over 300 acupuncture points on your entire body, organized by intricate and specialized “highways” called meridians. East Asian theory considers Qi the vital force behind every physiological and metabolic function, and considers Blood the substance that supports the activity of Qi and nourishes the tissues. When we have an imbalance of our vital substances we suffer pain or disease. Your acupuncturist is trained to identify and diagnose where imbalances are occurring – and through a simple (but sophisticated!) theoretical model – points are selected that gently restore your blueprint for health.
From a Western medical lens, we know that stimulation of acupuncture points involves fascia (connective tissue), the nervous system, blood, and the immune system. Treatments encourage our body’s natural ability to heal and create homeostasis in the nervous system. For this reason, acupuncture is effective for many physiological and psycho-emotional concerns. Through medical research we are discovering how acupuncture can create permanent change in the nervous system – so in some cases we are actually rewiring your brain! With very few contraindications, acupuncture is a minimally invasive and natural way to heal and optimize wellness.
IS ACUPUNCTURE PAINFUL?
Because acupuncture needles are so thin (the thickness of a hair!) – the placement of needles is often painless. Occasionally you may feel a slight pinch – but before you can say “ow!” the pain is gone. Once needles are placed, some people experience a dull, aching sensation. Others have reported heaviness or buzzing, or an overall sensation of energy moving in their bodies. Many others forget they have needles entirely, and find themselves resting deeply.
WHAT IS CUPPING? WHAT IS GUA SHA?
These are supplemental manual therapies that restore circulation, mobilize congested fascia, and release stagnation. We use these methods to reduce muscle pain and open the meridians before acupuncture. Cupping, in particular, may leave marks on the skin – as modeled here by the iconic Gwyneth.
DO YOU RE-USE ACUPUNCTURE NEEDLES?
No, absolutely not, never. Needles are sterile and individually packaged, for single-use, only. When we are done with your needles, we dispose of them in an industry-standard sharps container, which is then shipped to a proper handling facility.
WHAT CAN ACUPUNCTURE TREAT?
Acupuncture – at one point in human history – was a primary source of healing. Therefore, a wide variety of internal and external disharmonies can be addressed using acupuncture. Your specific condition may require Western medical attention – but in this event, acupuncture is capable of harmlessly and harmoniously supplementing your care. I have seen acupuncture relieve all sorts of pain – chronic, acute, or intermittent. It can help with muscle pain and stiffness, joint pain, headaches, neck/shoulder/back/hip pain, referral pain in any of the limbs, and fibromyalgia. Many internal imbalances can also be addressed, from digestive complaints, hormonal imbalances, to sleep disturbances! And finally – because acupuncture promotes homeostasis in our nervous system – many psycho-emotional and stress-related concerns can be gently healed and tended through treatment. We are attuned to working with the whole body-mind-spirit as an intricate, unified whole.
HOW MANY TREATMENTS DO I NEED?
In some cases we are able to achieve remarkable results in one or two visits, while others may take more time and regular care. Everyone has an individualized treatment plan, and your initial visit will be a good time to determine what’s best for you. Depending on the timing and complexity of your health concerns, we may choose frequent visits, or we may space them out to support you throughout your healing.
ARE THERE ANY SIDE EFFECTS?
Unfavorable side effects of acupuncture are seldom, if not rare. Some of the side effects of acupuncture may include: dizziness or lightheadedness upon standing, mild bruising or residual aching where a needle was placed, the desire to rest, or an abundance of energy that hasn’t been felt in a while. Many people are not bothered by these minor complaints, however I would be remiss if I didn’t state: with any sharp object penetrating the skin, there is risk of puncturing an important structure. Your acupuncturist has completed a rigorous medical program, and has passed equally challenging national exams to ensure your safety.
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A virtual consult includes a comprehensive medical intake with our acupuncturists, mindfulness techniques, a custom herbal formula or flower essence, and constitutional lifestyle suggestions. Price of session does not incorporate the cost of herbs or essences.
What People Are Saying
“Our daughter, a freshman in high school at the time, was suffering with non stop headaches. Doctors couldn’t find a cause for the headaches and while that was good news, it didn’t give her any relief. A friend recommended acupuncture and told us Katherine helped tremendously with their daughter’s headaches. We thought it was worth a try as we’d exhausted all other options. Sure enough, after the second treatment, the headaches were gone. Our daughter loved her appointments with Katherine. She is genuine in nature and we are externally grateful to have been recommended to her.”
I absolutely LOVE going to see Katherine Armer for acupuncture! Her graceful, wise, and calm presence and sense of humor is always so comforting. I got a 75 minute deep healing treatment with needles and cupping today to help me recover from intense back spasms and headaches that have had me down for the past few days. Her skilled hands apply the needles with so much gentle care that I barely feel a thing. My body went into a state of deeply relaxed meditation as the energy meridians started to calm and balance. I feel so refreshed now, I can’t wait to get a good night’s sleep!
“Katherine has helped my husband, daughter and me navigate many different ailments. Over the years she has helped us with with everything from muscular and joint pain and headaches to managing side effects of menopause, Lyme disease, and stress. During the annual cold season she knows many effective methods of alleviating sinus and chest ailments and helping one’s body reclaim its energy and boost immunity. She is easy to talk to, generous with her time and a true delight to be around. We highly recommend her healing gifts!”
“I have very limited experience with acupuncture, so I was nervous about the treatment, but being very kidney deficient (only having one) I was told acupuncture would strengthen my whole system. Katherine Armer made me feel completely at ease with the process. The office was lovely and comfortable, I admit I have fallen asleep more than once. Best of all, I feel GREAT!! Apparently my spleen wasn’t doing so well, but thanks to Katherine we are working on that little organ too.”
We acknowledge and express gratitude for inhabiting and working on the indigenous homelands of the native tribal peoples of the Pacific Northwest.