ear acupuncture

"When you are very quiet and relaxed, a warm sensation rises from within.  The whole body is alert, and you feel almost empty, as if the body itself were gradually disappearing; the heaviness and solidity are no longer there, but just a very open, silent feeling of expanding vastness. There are no instructions to remember, no concentration -- you are just a part of that vast openness.  The quieter you become, the more energy you can feel.  In this way, you can experience your body as open space, and live within that feeling.  Expand that feeling energy as much as possible, without commenting on or interpreting it. When you exercise this expansion, space itself is exercising, perfectly balanced-like a precision drawing or a beautiful work of art.

~Tarthang Tulku, excerpted from
"Gesture of Balance."

Do acupuncture needles hurt?

Those new to acupuncture are usually surprised and relieved by how painless the experience is, but it would be misleading to suggest that there is no sensation whatsoever. An acupuncture needle is a fraction of the size of a typical hypodermic needle, so more often than not, you will barely feel them going. Tender spots do exist, but most clients agree the discomfort is tolerable and momentary.

What happens once the needles are in?

Lie back, listen to some soothing music, enjoy the fragrance of aromatherapy and relax for a half hour or so. The range of experiences are unique to each individual. Ideally, you will fall asleep in your private treatment room. (The more relaxed you are, the better treatment works.) Some notice tingling or heaviness in the area surrounding the needles, but the sensation passes quickly. The movement of Qi can also cause twitching of the extremeties. A flood of emotions (happy, sad or sometimes both) sneaks up on some patients. That's just the mind/body/spirit connection at work. Just try to meditate and focus on your breathing.

How does acupuncture work?

Many scientific minds struggle with the concept of Qi and offer their own theories about the “mechanism” by which acupuncture works.  Whether you feel that your Qi has been balanced or that your nervous system has been stimulated to release endorphins and immune system cells isn’t the issue, as far as Jackie is concerned. Your ultimate recovery from pain or illness and your renewed sense of vitality and wholeness is all that matters.

How long should treatment continue?

This varies from client to client, but it is not unusual for acupuncture treatment to consist of a 90-minute initial consult followed by one or two 40-60 minute treatments weekly for four to six weeks. A reduction in symptoms usually occurs with the first visit, and most clients taper down to one treatment per week, then one every few weeks, and then once every few months or so.

Your medical condition, age, overall health and lifestyle, prescription medications, and the length of time your imbalance has been present will ultimately determine your treatment plan, however. For example, late onset Parkinson’s disease usually requires six months to a year of two acupuncture treatments per week plus herbal medicine in order to stabilize at a level of greater than 50% improvement.  On the other hand, a young, healthy client with tennis elbow may completely recover after just two to three treatments.

Jackie determines the necessary treatment level (the number of treatments you will need each week) using the 1-to-10 rating scale and other techniques to gauge and evaluate the frequency and intensity of your symptoms. As frequency and intensity decrease, she will taper down to the next appropriate treatment level.

What happens after treatment?

Chinese medicine views the changing of the seasons as a tumultuous time for Qi, so maintenance sessions at those four times of the year are considered prudent, even in the absence of symptoms.  Since the immune system becomes stronger as a result of acupuncture treatment, it is a good idea to book a session during cold and flu season. After experiencing a few treatments, you'll start to understand the feeling of balance and the need for tune-ups to maintain the health and vitality of your mind/body/spirit.

Do you accept insurance?

Health insurance companies are continually changing policies with regard to coverage for acupuncture benefits. Some groups expand coverage for certain modalities and allow certain medical conditions to be treated by acupuncture. Other insurance companies are more restrictive, limiting coverage to treating pain or anything perceived to be medically necessary.  Vibrational Healing Arts accepts most insurance and can provide "superbills" for those needing reimbursement directly from an insurance company or flex/health savings plan.