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Frequently Asked Acupuncture Questions

Below are answers to our most frequently asked questions. Scroll down and click the “+” to open each answer.

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is the most popular branch of Traditional Chinese Medicine.  It has been used for thousands of years in China and other Far East countries for primary health care as well as the practice of medicine. Acupuncture has been proven effective in the treatment of multiple conditions ranging from pain, arthritis, digestive issues, respiratory and sinus conditions, gynecological disorders, weight management, stress, emotional imbalance, addictions, and so much more.

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, our bodies consist of a system of energy pathways, called meridians.  Meridians run everywhere in the body including our arms, legs, hands, abdomen, face, scalp, muscle and skeletal system, internal organs, etc.  These meridians are similar to roadways or piping systems through a city. Each one is interconnected.

Life force energy, called “Qi” (pronounced chee), moves through these meridians, like water through a river or wind through a tunnel.  When qi moves smoothly and evenly and is balanced and unobstructed, we are free of pain, illness, disease, or any health concern.

An acupuncturist diagnoses which meridian(s) are unhealthy, out of balance or obstructed.  An acupuncturist then chooses key acupuncture points to restore the free flow of Qi through these meridians, which in turn returns the body back to health and well-being.  This also sets up the proper foundation for our bodies to continue healing themselves long term.   This is why the long term potential of acupuncture is that you do not have to experience the condition that you are currently being treated for again.

Acupuncture uses the insertion of very fine needles in key pressure points, dependent on the patient’s health concerns, to stimulate specific healing responses in the body.

The correct movement of Qi determines our health or our ill health. When Qi slows down, is deficient or is blocked, we begin to suffer from various health conditions. Qi is critical for life.  When Qi stops moving, we die.

Does Acupuncture Hurt?

 

The majority of patients do not feel anything with acupuncture needles.  The main reason is because acupuncture needles are very thin.  You can fit between 12-14 acupuncture needles in a hypodermic needle, which are the needles they use to draw blood.  Acupuncture needles are between a 32-36 gauge.

 

What Conditions Does Acupuncture Treat?

Acupuncture was traditionally used as a preventive medicine. The goal of the treatment was to diagnose the weaknesses in the body and treat them before the conditions showed up as symptoms. Even without a specific health concern, many people use acupuncture for general relaxation and for overall energy and well-being.

Acupuncture has been used in China for thousands of years to treat multiple conditions ranging from pain, arthritis, digestive issues, weight management, respiratory and sinus conditions, stress, emotional imbalance, addictions and gynecological disorders.

Listed below are some of the conditions most commonly treated with acupuncture:

  • Pain
    Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Gout, Headaches, Knee Pain, Low Back Pain, Migraines, Neck Pain, Nerve Pain, Osteoarthritis, Post-Herpetic Pain, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Sciatica
  • Digestive Issues
    Abdominal Pain, Acid Reflux, Bloating, Constipation, Diarrhea, Watery Stools, Gas, Gastritis, GERDS, IBS, Nausea, Vomiting, Ulcers
  • Respiratory Conditions
    Allergies, Asthma, Common Cold, Hay Fever, Sinusitis, Sore Throat, Tonsillitis
  • Stress
    Acne, Addictions, Alcohol Dependence, Anxiety, Depression, Fatigue, Insomnia, Skin Problems, Smoking Cessation
  • Reproductive Health
    Infertility, Male Sexual Dysfunction, Menopause, Night Sweats, Painful Periods, PMS, Prostate Health, Recurrent UTIs

To read more information on the controlled clinical trials the World Health Organization conducted on the effectiveness of acupuncture on certain conditions,
 please click here.

How Does Acupuncture Work?

Research shows that acupuncture has multiple beneficial biochemical effects on the body.  Some of these theories are listed below.

  • Acupuncture Stimulates and Balances Immune Function. 
    This increases your body’s natural resistance to bacterial, viral and fungal infections.  Your immune system is also what helps the body repair damage including swelling and inflammation, muscle strain, tendonitis, etc.
  • Acupuncture Stimulates the Release of Endorphins.
    Endorphins are your body’s natural pain killers and can be 10 times stronger than morphine.  This is what gives the sensation of euphoria and relaxation with acupuncture treatments.
  • Acupuncture Regulates Neurotransmitter Levels, Like Serotonin and Norepinephrine.
    These are your body’s natural mood stabilizers.  They help with stress, anxiety, depression, insomnia, addictive behavior and in the regulation appetite.
  • Acupuncture Regulates Pituitary, Thyroid, Pancreatic and Adrenal Function.
    This  helps correct imbalances of metabolism, especially metabolism of cholesterol and fat.
  • Acupuncture Promotes Blood Circulation.
    This allows blood and oxygen to flow to your muscles to help them relax and release the lactic acid that makes them feel sore and achy.

In short, acupuncture works via the central nervous system, which is our brain and nerve pathways.  Our brain is what controls all of our bodily functions, including our sensations of pain, muscle contractions, heart rate, respiratory rate, digestion, hormonal balance, circulation, our response to stress, our mood, and our ability to heal.

From a Chinese Medicine perspective, our bodies consist of a system of energy pathways, called meridians.  Meridians run everywhere in the body including our arms, legs, hands, abdomen, face, scalp, muscle and skeletal system, internal organs, etc.  These meridians are similar to roadways or piping systems through a city. Each one is interconnected.

Life force energy, called “Qi” (pronounced chee), moves through these meridians, like water through a river or wind through a tunnel.  When qi moves smoothly and evenly and is balanced and unobstructed, we are free of pain, illness, disease, or any health concern.

An acupuncturist diagnoses which meridian(s) are unhealthy, out of balance or obstructed.  An acupuncturist then chooses key acupuncture points to restore the free flow of Qi through these meridians, which in turn returns the body back to health and well-being.  This also sets up the proper foundation for our bodies to continue healing themselves long term.   This is why the long term potential of acupuncture is that you do not have to experience the condition that you are currently being treated for again.

Acupuncture uses the insertion of very fine needles in key pressure points, dependent on the patient’s health concerns, to stimulate specific healing responses in the body.

The correct movement of Qi determines our health or our ill health. When Qi slows down, is deficient or is blocked, we begin to suffer from various health conditions.  Qi is critical for life.  When Qi stops moving, life stops.

Are Acupuncture Needles Sterile?

Yes. In 1996, the FDA declared the acupuncture needle to be a medical device. This means that all acupuncture needles are of single use, sterile, and disposable. They are made of stainless steel and otherwise are chemical free.

What Are The Side Effects Of Acupuncture? Is It Safe For Everyone?

Please arrive 20 minutes early to fill out necessary paperwork for our first acupuncture treatment. I can also have the paperwork emailed to you and you can then print and fill it out before you come in for your first appointment.

It is important to eat before having an acupuncture treatment. It is not advisable to come in for a treatment on an empty stomach.

Acupuncture is a safe treatment for everyone regardless of any medical conditions, medications or supplements, or implants.

There are very little side effects of acupuncture when practiced appropriately by a qualified and licensed acupuncturist.  On rare occasion, some points may bruise or there may be some soreness in the point where the needle was inserted.  This goes away shortly on its own and is nothing to worry about.

How Do I Prepare For An Acupuncture Treatment?

Please arrive 20 minutes early to fill out necessary paperwork for our first acupuncture treatment. I can also have the paperwork emailed to you and you can then print and fill it out before you come in for your first appointment.

It is important to eat before having an acupuncture treatment. It is not advisable to come in for a treatment on an empty stomach.

Do not brush or scrape your tongue the day of your acupuncture treatment. To do an accurate tongue analysis, which is a unique and critical part of Traditional Chinese Medicine diagnosis, your tongue must be examined in its natural unaltered form.

Dress comfortably. Loose pants that roll up comfortably above your knees and tops that roll up above your elbows is preferable. If your clothes do not allow access to necessary acupuncture points, then a robe or a gown will be provided for you to change into.

There is no downtime after an acupuncture treatment.

What Can I Expect During An Acupuncture Treatment?

During your first acupuncture treatment, a full medical assessment will be conducted with a focus on your chief health concern(s) as well as any other symptoms you may be experiencing. I will then do a tongue and pulse examination. This is a unique and critical part of Traditional Chinese Medicine diagnosis that gives better insight on the internal disharmonies that exist inside the body. It also gives a deeper appreciation and understanding of how to treat your specific concern(s). Other western physical assessment exams may also be conducted.

In summary, I will provide a Traditional Chinese Medicine diagnosis and put together a detailed treatment plan for your specific needs. This treatment plan will include the number of treatments you will need to undergo to achieve your health goals, the frequency of treatments, lifestyle and diet modifications, recommendations for other treatment modalities, and a prescription for Chinese Herbal Medicine to enhance and optimize your long-term healing potential.

On the average, 12-16 acupuncture points, that are located below the elbows and knees, are chosen. Depending on the your specific individual concerns, I can also choose points on your scalp, ears, face, back or abdomen. The needles will stay in for at least 30 minutes. During that time, you will rest comfortably on a treatment table with the lights off or dimmed. Most patients fall asleep during this part of the treatment and find it very relaxing.

The duration of your time in the clinic would be about 90 minutes for the first treatment and about 60 minutes for successive treatments.

The majority of patients feel their symptoms decrease between 25%-100% with the first treatment, sometimes even as they are resting on the treatment table with the needles inserted. With successive acupuncture treatments and by following the recommended lifestyle and diet plan, and by taking Chinese Herbs, you can possibly remain symptom free for months, even up to years, or even for the rest of your life!

How Many Treatments Will I Need?

The goal and long term potential of acupuncture is that you do not have to experience the condition that you are being treated for, again. Each person is different. It is within the first 5 treatments that we can gauge how fast your body responds and heals with acupuncture. Depending on your prevailing health condition(s), the symptoms, duration, and degree of severity, and lifestyle, it can take between 8 to 24 acupuncture treatments, give or take a few, to successfully treat your health concern(s). In general, the longer and more severe the condition, the more treatments will be required to return your body back to homeostasis. Optimal results are best achieved by daily treatments or treatments close together, however we do understand the scheduling of these treatments will be dependent on your availability, convenience, and lifestyle. We will work together to create a treatment plan that best suites your needs.

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