Steven Tan (Acupuncturist) gives expert video advice on: Are there side effects of acupuncture?; Are there myths associated with acupuncture? and more...
Are there side effects of acupuncture?
The major side effects to look at with acupuncture is the feeling of sedation or lightheadedness. Some people very relaxed after the session, that it may take a moment or so before you feel like yourself again. The other things to look out for may be local itching or bruising near the acupuncture needle site. But for the most part acupuncture is relatively side effect free beyond this.
What can I eat after acupuncture?
Pretty much, eating isn't a big factor prior to or after an acupuncture treatment. I would probably recommend that you not eat too close before the treatment because sometimes you may be lying face down or sometimes face up and sometimes that can either give you stomach irritation or acid reflux. So perhaps not to have a big heavy meal an hour or two before your session is the best piece of advice. After the session though I don't really see much reason why you need to restrict your eating habits.
How long after my first acupuncture treatment will I start to feel results?
Depending on the condition that you're being treated for, the duration that it would take for you to get better varies. The general rule is, the more acute the condition for instance, if you just pulled your back, or you just started to get a headache, the more quickly things will respond. In these cases, I've seen patients where they responded immediately while they were on the table. However, more chronic conditions take a little more time. So, depending on the chronicity, that's usually a good rule to follow if you want to get a sense of how long it might take for you to get better.
Can acupressure substitute for acupuncture?
We could use acupressure as a substitute for acupuncture when, again, there's a reason why we can't needle the person. Usually needle phobia is the major reason. It's thought that acupressure can be very effective, however it's thought to be a little less effective than acupuncture.
What medications can I take after acupuncture?
Because acupuncture usually doesn't interact with medications, you don't really have to be too cautious about what medications to stop or start during your acupuncture session day. The general rule is if you are taking medications on a regular basis, you want to continue during the day that you get acupuncture. One thing to look out for, perhaps, is not to take too much in the way of pain medication or sedatives on the day that you get acupuncture, because acupuncture can cause sedation and relax you too much. That may cause a little hyper-sleepiness or it may even, sometimes, lower your blood pressure to the degree that you might feel the difference. But for the most part you can take what you're normally taking. There aren't too many restrictions when it comes to medications on the day of acupuncture.
Are there myths associated with acupuncture?
The top two myths that popped to my mind are 1, that acupuncture is painful. It usually is not. Most people, the vast majority of people are happily surprised when they get their first session because they realize that despite having needles stuck in them, they hardly feel that at all. The second myth is actually a myth held by a lot of doctors and scientists, and that is that acupuncture is more voodoo and not scientifically understood. The truth is there have been many scientific studies on acupuncture. We have a lot of ideas about the specific effects that inserting a needle in these points triggers on the body. We know that it affects almost every important system in our body to achieve the clinical results that we are seeing. However, the one mystery that remains is that we don't know how all of those effects come together to help the body heal the way that acupuncture does.