1. You want to be treated as a person, not as a disease.
An important concept underlying traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and acupuncture is the idea of wholism. (I prefer the spelling of wholism to holism that seems to convey images of New Age spiritualism which is quite different to the idea of one’s health dependent on the sum of parts.) This wholistic approach views the patient as being interconnected with the surrounding environment. Hence when making a diagnosis, the traditional acupuncturist would take into account all the different aspects of the patient’s lifestyle and condition as well as the main complaint. This also reflected in the treatment plan which should be tailored individually to each patient.
Contrast this with modern conventional medicine which is based mainly on the diagnosis of a disease. Once this has occurred, you are then labelled and given the same treatment as everyone else with the same condition. Sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn’t.
2. You will get more than 15 minutes of face to face time.
Your initial consultation with your acupuncturist will definitely last longer than 15 minutes, during which time you will have many opportunities to express your concerns or ask any questions you may have. Any treatments thereafter your acupuncturist will ask you how you’ve been feeling since and change your treatment plan accordingly.
Whilst an acupuncture session isn’t really calculated by time (some treatments can last over an hour, and some only need 45 minutes) you should have the full attention of your acupuncturist without any distractions.
3. It is safe with no undesirable side effects.
When practiced by a fully qualified practitioner, acupuncture is a safe method of treatment with very few of the side effects of many pharmaceuticals such as nausea, headaches or weight gain.
I personally believe that acupuncture should be offered to everyone to complement conventional medicine. Sometimes drugs and surgery is the only way to go, but more times than not, acupuncture is a much better alternative that can maximize health benefits.
4. It gives the control for your own health back to you.
The main aim of acupuncture and TCM is to help your body combat illness and pain by regulating the qi in your body. The focus of your practitioner is to help you get control back so that the frequency of acupuncture sessions become less and less. When your main complaint has been resolved, then no further treatments are required.
Your acupuncturist may also offer nutritional and lifestyle advice as well as some massage techniques you can perform on your own. The emphasis of TCM is that you are responsible for your own health.
5. You think prevention is better than cure.
According to the theories of TCM, if the body’s qi is flowing freely without any obstructions then there should be no illness or disease. Therefore you can use acupuncture as a preventative measure by maintaining a smooth flow of qi in the body. Unlike acupuncture treatment during times of illness or pain, acupuncture to promote wellbeing and health is only needed seasonally, so about once every one – three months.
Photo credit: Andreanna Moya via flickr
Other posts you may be interested in:
- How to find a good acupuncture practitioner | Three questions to ask when choosing an acupuncturist
- Integrating Western Medicine with Complementary Therapies: the importance of East meets West for healthcare