acupuncture in chapel hill nc

What to Expect During Your First Acupuncture Appointment

If you’ve been considering trying acupuncture in Chapel Hill NC, you might be curious to know what exactly happens during your first appointment.

While it’s true that each acupuncturist is different, there are some things most acupuncturists will address the first time you step into their office. Knowing what to expect could make your visit more comfortable and will help you prepare so you can make the most of the consultation.

The First Step

Before any treatment can be decided, the acupuncturist will spend some time trying to understand what ails you. He or she will ask you to share information about your lifestyle, your medical story and any health concerns you may have. If this is the first time you’re trying acupuncture for a medical condition, the acupuncturist will explain what to expect in terms of discomfort, pain or side effects. He or she might also discuss the differences between traditional or Eastern medicine compared with what you’re used to in terms of treatment in Western medicine.

From here, the acupuncturist will decide the best course of action for you. He or she will discuss with you how many sessions are recommended and what to expect in terms of relief. Sometimes you can see results after just one appointment, but often it’s necessary to go through several sessions before you experience relief.

The First Session

In many cases, it’s possible to start treatment during your first visit. If this is your first time trying acupuncture, it might be a good idea to ask questions and discuss concerns. In general, acupuncture is not a painful experience. Needles most closely resemble the width of a single human hair. And, once the needle is in place, you shouldn’t feel any discomfort either. If you do, tell the acupuncturist immediately so he or she can adjust the position of the needle or try a different point.

During a session, needles are left in place for up to half an hour to stimulate the release of healing energy. The more quiet and relaxed you are during a session, the better the experience will be. Many people find acupuncture sessions relaxing and often drift off to sleep.

Follow-Up Treatment

Even if you experience some relief after your first treatment, chances are you will have to return for follow-up visits. This is because acupuncture is a form of therapy known as “cumulative medicine,” which means you get the best results after a few visits, as each treatment builds on the benefits of the previous session. Sometimes acupuncturists are unable to determine how long treatment will take until after they’ve completed 2-3 sessions. By then, any new concerns or changes in your body and condition can be discussed and an appropriate timing for the treatment decided.

Acupuncture can produce long-term results. For example, a study published in the Pain journal showed that acupuncture can provide benefits even six months after the last session. In the study, participants were treated with acupuncture over a period of eight weeks. When they returned for follow-up visits three and six months later, most participants reported ongoing relief compared with the control group that didn’t receive acupuncture treatments.

If you’re ready to give acupuncture in Chapel Hill NC a try, give us a call to schedule an appointment and to talk with one of our acupuncturists. Then download and print our new patient form and fill it out before your visit.



acupuncture for anxiety

Why Acupuncture for Anxiety is a Promising Treatment

The use of acupuncture for anxiety is nothing new, but researchers are now discovering that this ancient art might be more effective than first thought in the treatment of mood disorders.

Why Anxiety is Difficult to Treat

Anxiety has always been a difficult condition to treat because of how many variations of it you can find. For example, some people only experience anxiety occasionally, under certain circumstances or caused by very specific triggers. Others live stressful lives and deal with anxiety on an almost daily basis. This is in addition to specific anxiety disorders such as social anxiety disorder, general anxiety disorder (GAD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and more.

Symptoms of Anxiety

Also, anxiety doesn’t present with the same symptoms for everyone. Some cases of anxiety are mild, causing just general discomfort, while others might lead to:

  • irregular heartbeat
  • restlessness
  • fear
  • negative thoughts

It’s also possible for people to also develop anxiety in conjunction with other mood disorders, such as depression.

While treating anxiety effectively presents many challenges to doctors, the use of acupuncture for anxiety might offer some general relief as an add-on treatment or when other forms of treatment have failed.

Studies and Research

Many studies have been conducted in the use of acupuncture for anxiety. One of the most recent ones, published in the Journal of Endocrinology in 2013, found that acupuncture decreased the release of stress hormone in the brain, helping fight chronic anxiety and stress. A study review, published in the CNSNeuroscience and Therapeutics journal, examined a number of research therapies and studies, and found that acupuncture can be just as effective as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) in the treatment of anxiety. This is an important conclusion, as CBT has long been considered one of the most effective non-drug treatments for chronic anxiety.

The Final Word

Acupuncture also relieves the symptoms of two other disorders connected to anxiety: depression and chronic stress. Because all three issues are closely connected, an acupuncturist might decide to address all of them during your sessions, hoping the relief of one of them will positively affect the others. One thing to keep in mind when using acupuncture for anxiety is that not every acupuncturist will necessarily target the same points. In addition, different people might require different forms of anxiety treatment depending on the root of the problem. It’s the job of the acupuncturist to figure out the underlying issues (from the perspective of Traditional Chinese Medicine) so that he or she can administer the most appropriate treatment.

Whatever the reason behind your anxiety, using different treatment strategies, including possibly acupuncture, is more likely to help than using a single strategy, or not seeking help at all.