Acupuncture Frequently Asked Questions
Does acupuncture hurt?
In general, acupuncture is painless. Very thin, sterile, flexible needles are gently inserted into the skin. Sometimes people feel a little electrical sensation, feeling of heaviness or dullness when the needles are being inserted that usually goes away momentarily.
How does acupuncture work?
Chinese medicine views the body as a network of channels with specific points that have been demonstrated to influence body functions, systems, and organs. Points are specifically chosen according to ones TCM diagnosis and needles are inserted to bring balance and restore health.
Is acupuncture safe?
Yes, as long as it is done by a Licensed Acupuncturist (L.Ac.) or Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (DACM). A Licensed Acupuncturist goes to a three-four year post graduate medical school to learn this ancient system of medicine along with western sciences. Other medical professionals who have not received this education, i.e. Chiropractors and Physical Therapists (PT), often only attend a few weekend seminars on acupuncture or dry needling, which is very different.
I ONLY use single-use, sterile disposable needles. Needles are never inserted over sensitive anatomical structures to ensure your complete physical safety. I am also certified in Clean Needle Technique, another gold standard of practice.
All medical surfaces are routinely disinfected between patients to prevent pathogen transference.
How many treatments will I need?
This depends what is being treated, how long you have had the condition/imbalance for, and your lifestyle. In general, acute conditions resolve fairly quickly with acupuncture. Chronic conditions can take a few months of regular acupuncture treatments. Lasting results are seen quicker when the patient is actively working with their diet, lifestyle and taking herbal medicine.
For example, if you are coming in for a recent case of insomnia, one treatment per week for 3-4 weeks will likely resolve especially if taking herbs and making lifestyle changes. If you are coming in for endometriosis that you have had for 2 years, it might take weekly treatments for 2 months, and then we can move to 1-2 times per month. Most patients do notice changes just after one treatment and continued improvement from a series of treatments. After your first appointment we will discuss a treatment plan which includes frequency of treatments suggested.
How can I prepare for my treatment?
Eat a light meal or snack before and wear comfortable, loose fitting clothes.
What can I expect after acupuncture?
Patients typically report feeling very relaxed or energized afterwards. Please don’t plan on any strenuous exercise for two hours after your treatment. Sometimes a small red dot will appear where the needle was placed and typically goes away within a few hours. If you are having an adjunct therapy applied, such as cupping, small circular bruising will appear that disappear within a few days but can last up to one week.
What adjunct therapies are offered?
Cupping*, moxibustion*, electro-stimulation,* Tui na/Shitasu* and herbal medicine are adjunctive Oriental medical therapies offered.
Is acupuncture safe during pregnancy?
Yes, acupuncture is safe during pregnancy and fantastic to prepare for labor. It can safely treat many common ailments such as:
- Morning sickness
- Back pain
- Indigestion, reflux, constipation
- Anxiety and insomnia
* Cupping is a therapy where glass or plastic cups are placed on the skin and a suction action is created. Cupping is used for a variety of conditions from pain & inflammation to immunity and relaxation. It has recently gained wide-spread recognition from celebrities and athletes using cupping.
*Moxibustion or moxa is therapy that consists of burning dried mugwort plant material on various parts of the body. It is used for increasing immunity & energy, warming channels and points, and expelling cold, which can increase the smooth flow of blood and Qi. Moxa can sometimes help to turn a breech baby.
*Electro-stimulation is also known as electroacupuncture. This therapy utilizes a pulsating electrical current that is applied to acupuncture needles inserted in the body. The patient may feel a slight pulsating sensation. This is used for a variety of situations from pain to paralysis to increasing qi and blood flow.
*Tui na and Shitasu are Asian forms of bodywork where the patient remains fully clothed and points and channels are balanced from various techniques.