Frequently Asked Questions

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a complete and effective system of medicine that has been used for over 4,000 years. It works with the natural energies inherent within all living things, to create balance and promote the body’s ability to heal itself from the inside out. Acupuncturists use fine sterile needles to stimulate points along the body to help patients get well and stay well.

What is the theory behind Acupuncture?

According to traditional Chinese medical theory, Qi is circulated in all parts of the body via energy channels, called meridians. The meridians connect every organ and part of the body, providing balance, regulation and coordination of physiological processes. When there is a blockage or disharmony in the flow of Qi, pain and illness occur. The smooth flow of Qi can be disrupted by many things including pathogens, illness, trauma/injuries, extreme climate conditions, stress, poor nutrition, improper diet, lack of rest or overwork, and a person’s emotional state. The main idea behind acupuncture is to restore health by bringing balance and harmony to the body.

How does Acupuncture work?

The Eastern explanation: Qi, or vital energy, flows throughout the body. When Qi becomes unbalanced or blocked, pain and disease occur. Acupuncture works by stimulating specific points throughout the body, which lie on meridians or channels of energy, balancing the disharmony of the flow of Qi and allowing the body to heal itself.

The Western explanation: Needling acupuncture points stimulate nerves that send impulses to the hypothalamic-pituitary system in the brain.  The hypothalamus-pituitary glands are responsible for releasing hormones and chemicals to the body which relax the body, reduce inflammation and pain, and boost the immune system allowing the body to heal.

What is Qi?

At the core of Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is the idea that Qi (pronounced “chee”), or vital energy, flows freely throughout the body. Proper flow of Qi protects the body from illness, pain and disease, therefore a persons health is influenced by the quality, quantity, and balance of Qi.

What can Acupuncture Treat?

Abdominal pain, Addictions, Adverse reactions to chemotherapy and/or radiation, Allergic rhinitis, Asthma, Anxiety, Bell’s Palsy, Cancer pain, Chronic gastritis, Constipation, Depression, Diabetes, Diarrhea, Dizziness, Dysmenorrhea, Earache, Epistaxis (nose bleeds), Facial pain, Fatigue, Female infertility, Fibromyalgia, Headache, Herpes Zoster, Hypertension, Induction of labor, Insomnia, Knee pain, Low Back Pain, Male sexual dysfunction, Malpostion of fetus, Menopause symptoms, Morning sickness, Nausea & vomiting, Neck pain, Obesity, Osteoarthritis, Polycystic ovary syndrome, Postoperative pain, PMS, Prostatitis, Raynaud syndrome, Rheumatoid arthritis, Schizophrenia, Sciatica, Sore throat, Spine pain, Sprain, Stress, Stroke, TMJ, Tennis elbow, Tobacco dependence, Ulcerative colitis, Weight loss, Whooping cough

Is Acupuncture safe? Are there any side effects?

When a trained acupuncturist practices acupuncture it is extremely safe. It is an all-natural, drug-free therapy generally free of any side effects or complications.

What is Cupping?

During cupping therapy and acupuncturist will place small glass “cups” on specific areas of your body. A vacuum is created under the cup using heat to stimulate the flow of Qi and Blood within the superficial muscle layers. Cupping is often used for sore muscles, tension, neck pain, common cold, and many more ailments.

What is Moxibustion?

Moxibustion is a form of heat therapy that uses an herb called mugwort to stimulate certain acupuncture points or areas of the body to speed up the healing process. Moxibustion is used for many ailments including diarrhea, constipation, IBS, sports injuries, infertility, malpostition of fetus, and much more.

What is Tui Na?

Tui Na is a Chinese therapeutic massage that is used to treat joint and muscle problems as well as internal disorders. It involves applying pressure to various parts of the body to move Qi and treat disease and illness.

Why did my acupuncturist recommend herbs?

Herbal medicine can be a powerful addition to acupuncture treatment. Herbs selected by a well trained acupuncturist  and herbalist are extremely safe and help promote the healing process by strengthening, building and supporting the body or by clearing excess in the body such as cold, heat, or pain.

What should I expect at my first treatment?

During the initial consultation your acupuncturist will take a full health history including questions regarding your symptoms, health and lifestyle.  There will also be a physical exam including pulse and tongue diagnosis. This information is all put together to create a comprehensive and accurate diagnosis of your condition with an individualized treatment plan. Your acupuncturist will discuss your health questionnaire and any questions you may have with you as well as make lifestyle modifications or recommendations as needed. You will then receive an acupuncture treatment. Your initial visit will typically last 60 – 90 minutes.

How should I prepare?

Wear or bring loose comfortable clothes for easy access to acupuncture points.

Please do not eat a large meal just before treatment however do have a light meal or snack prior to treatment to avoid any dizziness during treatment.

Please make sure you are well hydrated.

If you typically use a tongue scrapper, please avoid doing so on days where you will be receiving acupuncture treatment as tongue diagnosis is a critical part of diagnosis.

Between visits please make notes of any changes that occur after your last treatment.

How many treatments will I need?

The number of treatments needed and the frequency of treatments vary from person to person.  It will be determined by factors such as your body constitution, the severity of the condition, and duration of the current condition. Chronic issues usually take longer to respond while acute conditions respond rather quickly. After the initial treatment  your acupuncturist will discuss with you the follow up treatments.

Is Acupuncture painful?

Acupuncture needles are very fine and do not produce the same sensation as needles used to give injections. Acupuncture is rarely described as painful. There is a sensation that is usually described as a tingling. Patients are pain free and typically very relaxed during treatments.

Do I have to choose between Acupuncture and Western Medicine?

Absolutely not! Acupuncture and Western Medicine each have their own strengths and work very well in combination with each other. There are some cases in which you absolutely must see a medical doctor. You wouldn’t go to your acupuncturist for a ruptured appendix or a gun shot wound. However, Acupuncture is extremely helpful in relieving pain and speeding up the healing process of these conditions after you have seen a medical doctor. There are also many situations in which Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine alone can alleviate and resolve health concerns without the need for pharmaceuticals. Many patients have been dissatisfied with Western Medicines reliance on pharmaceuticals and their lack of individualized care. Oriental Medicine looks at the body as a whole and creates an individualized treatment plan for the patient based on their unique case. In general Acupuncture and Western Medicine work great in adjunct with each other and there is no need to choose between the two. Your health care professionals can help you make an educated decision on the right course of action for you.

Does insurance cover Acupunture?

Yes, many insurance companies do cover Acupuncture treatments. However, it is up to the patient to contact their health insurance provider to see what they cover.