24 Sep 2017

What to Expect from My Gentle Acupuncture Treatment

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What to Expect

I am going to begin by telling you what to expect when you come into my office and receive an acupuncture treatment — a gentle, relaxing acupuncture treatment with me, Janet Barrows.

Fear of Needles?

What I have learned in my years in this profession is that a huge percentage of people will not come for treatments because they are afraid of the needles. We have to reassure people that these are completely unlike the needles that we experience when we get a shot or give blood. Those are 27 times thicker. These little acupuncture needles are about the diameter of two or three stiff hairs. And I insert them very gently just beneath the skin. Occasionally a point will be more reactive to a needle — often indicating that that point is very active, and I give it 30 seconds to calm down or else I just remove the needle.

There is an image that I want you to keep in your minds.
Acupuncturists work in spas.
Rich people go to spas to be pampered, and acupuncture
is right up there in the world of pampering,
especially the way I do it.

During Intake: Listening

For starters, I refuse to be rushed. When you come to me, we take the time we need to do a thorough intake. I listen to you, carefully, and you can complain to me about every single thing going wrong in your body, or even in your life if there is a stress component. People are so relieved to be able to talk about all of it, not just the chief complaint. In the world of modern medicine, taking your time as you explain what is going on is virtually unheard of. I take notes and mentally connect a lot of the dots. We discuss your whole medical history, we discuss nutrition, I always insert questions about extra stressors in your life, about your exercise habits, your medications, and so forth.

Sometimes as I am listening, I can tell very quickly that one or two meridians are involved in every single complaint, and that determines the placement of the needles.

These meridians are the pathways in which energy travels.
When a meridian is blocked or very weak, pain or illness happen.
When acupuncture needles are placed in such a way that the meridian is balanced,
then previously blocked energy and circulation is free to flow again,
and healing begins to happen.

The Chinese figured these out 3 or 4,000 years ago—no one is certain of how, but they had the grace and brilliance to write it all down. Those ancient texts are still the foundation of the modern elaborations.

On the Table

After the intake, which can take 30 minutes depending on how many conditions you have, you then relax on one of my beautiful expensive tables, and I help the relaxation with some essential oils, such as lavender. When a drop of lavender is placed at Pericardium six and use Bergamot on Yintang, a person’s heart rate drops noticeably. I am always checking the pulses.

So now you are all relaxed on the table, breathing in lavender. I begin palpating points along the meridians that are involved in your condition. I am looking for the active points that are the gateways to the flow of energy to the painful places, if pain is the issue. But, as you will hear over time, acupuncture is a comprehensive system of medicine, so I treat more than just pain.

I treat flu, and allergies and bronchitis, irritable bowel syndrome,
stress and anxiety, migraines, addictions of all kinds
as well as strange and mysterious things that no one can name or diagnose.

The Treatment & Deep Relaxation

So then what happens? I place some needles in the active points, and once you’ve gotten used to the idea of these tiny needles being inserted-ever so gently—you kind of GET OVER IT! I mean it. People come to me for stress relief, and if the needles were a big deal and caused stress for them, would they really seek out acupuncture?

So now you are on the table with needles, and you begin to feel very relaxed. Some people –who are very wound up—report at the end that they have never felt that kind of relaxation without the use of pharmaceuticals or some kind of drug. If I have to focus on a very specific point of pain, I may then hook up the e-stim machine/gadget, and you would feel a gentle current going through the area—creating a mild tapping sensation. At some point, I leave the room, you are there with the needles doing their magic, and 90 percent of my clients fall asleep. I wake you up after about a half an hour, being sure that the total amount of time with the needles is never under thirty minutes. That allows full circulation of QI to flow through the meridians.

How Many Sessions?

Most people notice that they feel better right away—in some cases a LOT better. Other folks notice the effects later, even the next day or two. We then discuss how many sessions may be needed for a condition to truly leave, permanently. Some acute conditions are eliminated in as few as three treatments. Some take six. If a condition is constantly trying to re-assert itself, we will schedule successive treatments, and then people can come in once a month for a tune-up, until they no longer need it. We discuss the fact that an herbal formula may be important to be taking between then and the next treatment. I have access to beautiful, gentle, effective herbal formulas, available as teas or in capsules, and these treat the underlying cause of the condition.

Help Me Help Others!

I am frequently the last stop after other modalities of medicine have been tried. This is especially true for people with chronic pain—neck, shoulders, hips, knees, low back. wrists, etc. I get calls saying that they’ve tried everything, nothing has worked, and they don’t want to take one more pharmaceutical with all of the side effects nor do they want surgery. Can I help?—that is their urgent question. Yes, I can help, but the process of healing would be so much easier and move more quickly if they called before the body has time to build up a big pain pattern and become a chronic condition. So please help me rise on that list of alternatives, so that people will think of getting acupuncture much sooner.

Thank you to all of you for helping me spread the word. It may take a person a long time to finally decide to try something this new. Your own testimonials are, of course, the most convincing way to nudge them.

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About the Author


Janet Barrows, has a Master of Science in Oriental Medicine (MSOM) from the Acupuncture and Integrative Medicine College in Berkeley, CA. She is a California State Licensed Acupuncturist (L. Ac.) practicing acupuncture and integrative medicine in Santa Rosa, CA. Her practice includes acupuncture, natural herbs, facial rejuvenation, nutrition, and medical qigong.