Deliberately Minimal: Acupuncture 101 - From Pregnancy to…Everything Else
But then I got pregnant with my first son and found myself with many ailments that I repeatedly heard could be alleviated by acupuncture–both from friends and from my very Western-based OBGYN. From a breech baby to migraines, and later chronic shoulder pain, low energy and high anxiety. It’s safe to say I’m a convert. So, I decided to call upon my acupuncturist and now close friend–a healer and all around amazing human–Eliza Grimes Hunsinger to shed a little more light on the subject for mamas-to-be and anyone else considering acupuncture.
Bottom line? I 1000% recommend it. Read on to learn more.
What actually IS acupuncture?
Acupuncture is the insertion of very fine, sterile needles into the body to help re-establish the flow of qi (energy).
Acupuncture has been used in Chinese medicine for centuries and can treat a wide range of modern conditions such as pain, digestive disorders, autoimmune diseases, stress, anxiety/depression, and fertility to name a few.
Acupuncture can be used to treat acute and chronic conditions but is also particularly used as a preventative medicine. Every day stressors have an impact on our systems. Proactively staying well and balanced prevents these imbalances from turning into bigger problems.
But what if I’m really not a needles or shots kinda person?
The needles do not hurt! My new patients are always surprised by how mild the sensation is and find the slight pinch to be nominal compared to the immediate relaxation they feel .
My first experience with acupuncture was when I was pregnant. First I sought it out for my migraines, and then in my third trimester I came back to try to turn my breech baby.
Tell us more about acupuncture for expecting and new mamas.
I’ve always had a special connection to treating pregnant women and offering postpartum support. This can be an incredibly powerful time for a woman, and many can feel out of control over their bodies, have a wide range of feelings around physical and emotional change, and experience a variety of uncomfortable symptoms.
Acupuncture and Chinese medicine can offer a support that not only feels amazing but is also beneficial to the health and longevity of a pregnancy. Regular acupuncture treatments in pregnancy can increase the likelihood of spontaneous birth around one’s due date, decrease the length of labor and more likely result in a birth with less medical intervention.
How is that possible and what do you specifically treat?
In the first trimester I commonly treat women who are experiencing:
- Morning sickness
- Headaches and migraines
- Low back pain
- Rib pain
- Leg swelling
- Softening the pelvic ligaments and cervix
- Bringing qi and blood flow to the uterus
- Perhaps most importantly here I focus on reducing anxiety and fear
And what about after baby is born?
Postpartum care is imperative for the health of the mother and therefore health of the baby. Women who have access to proper postpartum care have reported improvements with postpartum depression, an increase in milk supply, a decrease in anxiety, balanced hormones and a sense of feeling supported and heard. When available we use acupuncture and Chinese herbs in conjunction with diet to help nourish and support the mother.
What are the other most common reasons people come to see you?
Most people initially hear that acupuncture treats pain, which it does very well. Where I believe acupuncture shines is in its details. For an ancient medicine, the diagnosis process is quite nuanced. We often treat patients with complicated presentations who have not seen results in Western medicine. Currently I am treating a lot of autoimmune issues, anxiety, burnout, long covid, digestive disorders, perimenopause and prolonged stress.
How do you recommend finding an acupuncturist? Any recommendations for questions to ask or information to share as you’re looking?
It’s important to do your research. You are looking for a licensed acupuncturist who has a masters degree in Chinese medicine from an accredited program. These programs require 3,000 clinical hours and exams (not to be confused with 200 hour acupuncture programs that Chiropractors and physical therapists can complete). You can find licensed acupuncturists by state or through the National Commission of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM).
Eliza Grimes Hunsinger is a licensed acupuncture and board certified herbalist through the National Commission of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) and the State of New York. In her 13 years of practice, she has built relationships and shared patients with several OBGYN’s in Manhattan.
Eliza is the co-founder of Be Well Katonah in Northern Westchester, an acupuncture and wellness practice for all. As a practitioner, Eliza places great emphasis on the patient/practitioner relationship, ensuring a comfortable safe space for healing and encompassing the ability to make a patient feel heard and understood.
Eliza lives in Katonah with her husband, 4 year old twin daughters and beloved rescue dog.