Frequently Asked Questions

How does acupuncture work?

Acupuncture releases blockages in the body, allowing a flow of endorphins which make it particularly effective in treating pain. Acupuncture affects sugar metabolism, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels in the blood, and has a regulating effect on the endocrine system. Acupuncture balances the body’s flow of energy, called Qi (“Chee”). Qi is a qualitative description of all the biological and cellular processes in the body. As the proper energy flow is restored and balanced, the body is able to heal quickly and more completely.

Are the needles painful?

Most people are surprised and relieved to learn that acupuncture needles are extremely thin; unlike hypodermic needles which are thick and hollow. Licensed Acupuncturists attain a high level of skill in gently placing these tiny needles and often the insertion is barely perceptible. The needles are usually inserted only several millimeters in depth—also unlike hypodermic injections. As such, patients generally do not feel the painful piercing or pricking sensation typically associated with an injection, blood sample, or other medical needle procedures.

Patients new to acupuncture are often surprised that they feel almost no sensation at all. Tiny acupuncture needles* are gently inserted at specific points in the body. Sometimes, there is a slight tingling, a mild ache, or sense of heaviness at the place of insertion.

* Needles are sterile, single use, and individually packaged. Sterile needle technique is used at all times!

What results can I expect from my first visit?

Most people are surprised at how relaxed and comfortable they feel after an acupuncture treatment. Symptom relief is often immediate, but several treatments are often needed to remain symptom free in between visits. For structural problems such as back pain, particularly when it is severe or chronic, I find helpful to combine modalities such as acupuncture, chiropractic, and deep tissue massage or physical therapy.

A good rule of thumb is to allow one month of regular treatment (regular meaning 2x per week) for every month you have had the condition. Multiple modalities, such as massage with acupuncture and chiropractic will generally yield faster results that are more complete, because you are addressing several aspects at the same time – bones (chiropractic), muscles (deep tissue massage), pain/ inflammation/ weakness and atrophy (acupuncture and oriental medicine) .

Chronic or severe medical conditions require more frequent treatments in the beginning, and take a longer time to resolve. Herbal medicine and/or supplements may be required to fully resolve the condition.

What is Oriental Medicine?

Oriental Medicine is a complete medical system which aids in strengthening the immune system, relieves pain, and helps prevent disease by returning the body to balance. Dating back over 5,000 years, the use of acupuncture is now widespread throughout Asia, Europe, and the United States.

Patients are diagnosed according to their symptoms, disease pattern, and their individual constitution. In this way, treatments include the body-mind type of the individual during treatment to move the body into balance and health.

What can I expect during an acupuncture treatment?

Acupuncturists use many different modalities during the course of a treatment, some of which are described below:

ACUPUNCTURE uses very fine needles which are inserted into the skin. Some needles are retained for a short period, while others are inserted and removed once the desired effect is obtained.

ELECTRICAL STIMULATION through needles is effective for easing pain. Acupuncture points are stimulated using a safe, gentle, electrical current.

GWASHA is a gentle scraping of the skin surface using a Chinese soup spoon to increase circulation of Qi and blood.

CUPPING increases blood circulation to the area where the cups are placed. This may relieve muscle tension, which can improve overall blood flow and promote cell repair.

HERBAL MEDICINE is used to supplement the patient in between visits and to strengthen the effect of the treatment.

NUTRITION AND SUPPLEMENTS make the many different micro nutrients required for metabolism available at the cellular level.

Traditionally, treatments are administered lying down and range from 45 to 60 minutes.

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