What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a vital part of Chinese medicine, the oldest system of health care we know.  It is the insertion of hair-thin needles into the body at specific points to help regulate its own  ability to heal through the stimulation of different sites on the body shown as effective in the treatment of specific health problems. Acupuncture is based on Oriental Medicinal theory of Meridians (also called Channels) & Organs.  There are Meridians in the body that form a web which crisscrosses the body vertically and horizontally which join the internal organs with the skin, flesh, ligaments, bones and all other tissues. Acupuncture points are specific spots on the body where an acu-puncture needle may be inserted to control the meridian and organ function to resolve imbalance of the body that may cause disease.


What training is required to be an acupuncturist?

You must graduate from an approved and/or accredited school of acupuncture with a Masters Degree in Acupuncture or Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. These programs, including internship, generally take 3 to 4 years to complete.


What can I expect when I come in for a treatment?

Your session will last about 1 hour. You will have the opportunity to speak about your health concerns. The session includes a medical and life history, followed by a non-invasive physical exam, and then a needle treatment.   All sessions are conducted in complete confidentiality.


What should I eat before a treatment?

A full stomach is a bit uncomfortable, but an empty one is worse.  Food is one of the greatest sources of energy available.  It is necessary to have energy to focus and utilize.  If you receive acupuncture on an empty stomach, you may feel lightheaded, sleepy, and or weak following a treatment session.  

It is good to have a snack before your treatment, or plan for 20 minutes following a meal.


What do the acupuncture needles feel like? Do they hurt?

Acupuncture needles are very thin and solid and are made from stainless steel and slightly thicker than human hair. The point is smooth (not hollow with cutting edges like a hypodermic needle) and insertions are made just below the skin’s surface and are not painful like injection or blood sampling. The risk of bruising and skin irritation is less than when using a hollow needle.  People experience acupuncture needles differently.  Most patients feel only minimal pain as the needles are inserted; some feel no pain at all.  Once the needles are in place, there should be no pain felt.


How deep do the needles go in?

That depends on the nature of the problem, the location of the points selected, the patient’s size, age, and constitution, and upon the acupuncturist’s style or school. Usually, needles are inserted from ¼ to 1 inch in depth.


Are the needles clean?

It is common practice among acupuncturists in America today to use sterile, individually packaged disposable needles. Needles are disposed after one use. This eliminates the possibility of transmitting communicable diseases by using contaminated needles.


Will acupuncture cure my problem?

The treatments themselves do not cure a condition. They can, however, help a patient heal a condition by stimulating the patient's natural mechanism for healing.


What can I expect after treatment?

Patients can experience the most dramatic results in the first treatment. Some patients experience an immediate total or partial relief of their pain or other symptoms. This relief may last or some pain may return. In a few cases, there may be no immediate relief only to notice the pain diminish over the next couple of days. Generally, you should expect to feel better. Most patients will have more questions than this information can answer. Your practitioner is used to answering questions such as: Should I continue to see my medical doctor? Should I continue taking my present medication? What should I eat? Is there anything I can do for myself at home? What signs of success should I look for first and after how long? You should discuss all of your questions in person with your practitioner. Please feel free to ask or call us. We are happy to make a consultation visit with you to talk about your situation and see how acupuncture may benefit you.


How does acupuncture work?

Modern Western medicine cannot explain how acupuncture works. Traditional acupuncture is based on ancient Chinese theories of the flow of Qi (Energy) and Xue (Blood) through distinct meridians or pathways that cover the body somewhat like the nerves and blood vessels do.  Acupuncture regulates and restores the harmonious energetic balance of the body. In Chinese there is a saying, "There is no pain if there is free flow; if there is pain, there is no free flow."


How many treatments do I need?

That depends upon the duration, severity, and nature of your complaint. You may need only a single treatment for an acute condition. A series of five to fifteen treatments may resolve many chronic problems. Some degenerative conditions may require many treatments over time.


What if I am healthy? Can acupuncture prevent future problems or enhance health?

Yes.  Acupuncture has traditionally been used as a preventive medicine, and for health maintenance. Recent research has verified that acupuncture stimulates immune function, which increases resistance to bacterial and viral infections. Many people find that occasional acupuncture "tune-ups" help them to feel "in sync". Studies show that people receiving regular acupuncture get sick less often and recover more quickly, and have markedly fewer long term health care costs.


What does acupuncture treat?

The World Health Organization has documented that acupuncture successfully treats: 

Chronic and acute pain Migraines/Headaches •  Depression/anxiety •  Digestive disorders • Sinusitis  • Hypertension • Insomnia • Sciatica •  Chronic Diarrhea Constipation • Asthma/Allergies • Bronchitis • PMS/Menopausal symptoms • Infertility ...and more.