What’s the first thing that pops into your head when you hear the words ‘Chinese Medicine’? For most, acupuncture seems to be the leading- and sometimes only- image attached to this ancient healing practice. But in fact, acupuncture is just one of the many options that Chinese medicine as a whole has to offer.
You’ve heard it on podcasts, seen it on Facebook feeds of friends and health experts, you’ve even seen it on store shelves.
This food is bone broth and it’s is extremely beneficial to our bodies.
What’s the big deal you might ask? Bones are usually table scrapes. How can they possibly help to boost fertility?
Well, with the colder months upon us, there is no better time to talk about bone broth because you know how much we love to talk about warm and cooked foods to boost fertility. We’ll also share a recipe with you that is so easy, all you need to do is–dump everything into a crockpot and “forget about it.”
Here’s everything you need to know about acupuncture needles – and why they actually aren’t that scary.
What They Are
Acupuncture needles are made of stainless steel, so they’re flexible and don’t rust or break. They come in individual tubes and are 100 percent sterile. And they’re disposable! Reusable needles are not commonly used in the United States— they require an autoclave for sterilization, which is time-consuming and expensive. Also, using disposable needles virtually eliminates any risk of infection.
Acupuncture Needle Size
This is the one a lot of people get revved up about because they envision huge hypodermic needles, which have an average diameter of 0.01 inches. Acupuncture needles have an average diameter of 0.00325 inches. That’s like a strand of hair.
They also come in three sizes of length: 0.5, 1, and 1.5-inch needles. I use a 0.5-inch for ears, 1-inch for the face, hands and feet, and 1.5 for the leg and larger muscle groups.
Needles are measured in gauges, and the higher the gauge, the smaller the diameter. Hypodermic needles are typically between 25-27 gauges, and most acupuncture needles range between 30-40. The largest I use is a 32 gauge, and that’s for treating pain. Larger needles help break up stagnation and muscle spasms, but otherwise, thinner needles are the way to go.
In treating typical fertility conditions, I use thinner needles because I’m trying to influence energy – which doesn’t require big needles – instead of breaking up pain.
I use a blowgun. JUST KIDDING! I’ve had about a decade of experience in gentle and painless acupuncture needling. Back in school, I began learning the process in the second of 11 trimesters. It’s really important. My first patients in school were a bar of Ivory soap and an orange, and then I learned on myself before moving on to peer students.
It’s not a random pincushion process: Each acupuncture point has a specific corresponding angle and depth for the needle.
Do acupuncture needles hurt?
Short answer: No. At least, they shouldn’t. If an acupuncture needle hurts going in, it’s not being done right. There might be a miniscule pinch, but that feeling doesn’t last longer than a fraction of a second.
That doesn’t mean you won’t feel sensations. Often people experience a dull achy feeling, sort of like when you’re getting a massage at a key pressure point. Even though it’s not the most popular sensation, it’s a good thing called the Arrival of Qi. Energy is flowing!
So there you have it, a quick crash on acupuncture needles. Contact me with any questions or concerns—I’m always happy to talk.
ST36 is the bomb. And by the bomb, I mean my absolute favorite acupuncture point I use on every patient, every time.
Acupuncture points are the dozens of recognized locations across the human body that are, for lack of better a word, hotspots for qi, or energy. Activating these points with needles is how healing unbalanced energy begins.
So what’s ST36? It has another poetic (and much more dramatic name): The Sea of Qi and Blood Point. Or, in more technical terms, ST36, which stands for stomach meridian point number 36.
The stomach part is a little misleading – ST36 is a point on each leg, a couple inches below the knee on the shin.
It’s part of a meridian that runs from head to toe, and it affects the treatment of every possible ailment. ST36 is a major impact point for qi deficiencies, like digestive issues, fatigue, a weak immune system—and also for blood deficiencies, like dryness of skin and eyes, anxiety and problems sleeping.
In Chinese, it’s called Zu San Li, which, loosely translated, means that after treating this point with acupuncture, you’ll be energized to walk an extra three miles.
The funny thing is, while I love this point dearly, patients tend to have less regard for it. Because it’s such a high-energy point, many feel a strong, unfavorable sensation when I put a needle in it. Most often, I hear about a dull aching or a twitchy feeling up and down the leg.
I get why it’s not everyone’s favorite, but it’s worth the weird sensations: Needling this point means I can needle two fewer points, so it’s like a twofer.
And who couldn’t use a little boost to walk an extra three miles, right?!
Got more questions about acupuncture points? Contact me here, and I’d love to talk with you more.