Frequently Asked Questions
What is acupuncture?
In order for the human body to function properly and healthily, our qi — the energy that runs through every living thing — must be able to move freely. This keeps our bodies in balance, or homeostasis. When we experience pain, ailments, illnesses, and diseases, it is because our qi is being blocked.
The role of acupuncture is to stimulate and unblock stagnant qi, encouraging the body to naturally heal itself. Acupuncture is performed using small, sterile needles that are inserted into various acupuncture points on the body. These points connect to the body’s meridians. As one of the four branches of TCM, acupuncture is used to help with a wide variety of physical, mental, and emotional conditions and is practiced widely across the Western world.
Is acupuncture safe?
Acupuncture is an incredibly safe treatment, and has been practiced for more than 2,500 years. Acupuncturists are carefully and thoroughly trained in the exact location, angle, and depth of acupuncture needle insertions, and take all required measures to ensure a sterile process. Needles generally cause no bleeding or pain, and each needle is used only once.
Are there any side effects to acupuncture?
Other than occasional bruising, there are virtually no side effects to acupuncture.
Does acupuncture hurt?
While many people associate needles with pain, acupuncture is actually a generally painless treatment. Acupuncture needles are about as fine as a human hair, and should not cause any pain. After the needle is inserted, the practitioner will adjust the needle to its appropriate depth. Patients often feel an array of sensations, including warmth, tingling, heaviness, relaxation, or sometimes nothing. If a needle does feel painful, alert your practitioner and they will adjust it accordingly.
Where do acupuncture needles go?
Acupuncture needles are inserted into acupuncture points, or acupoints, on the body. These acupoints are chosen by your practitioner based on your diagnosis or condition. Needles are usually placed on the extremities from the elbows to the hands, knees down to the feet, as well as the abdomen, back, ears, and top of the head.
What are acupoints?
Acupoints refer to the specific spots on the body that are located along meridians. These points are where qi, or energy, comes together and rises to the surface of the body. Using acupoints, acupuncturists can access and manipulate the body’s qi with the use of an acupuncture needle.
What are meridians?
The body has 12 major meridians. These can be described as internal channels or highways that transport qi and blood to the internal organs and systems. When qi is not able to flow properly through a meridian, the body experiences imbalances and ailments.
Are acupuncture needles sterile?
Acupuncturists take all required measures to ensure a completely sterile treatment. Acupuncture needles are sterile, and are only used once. They are individually wrapped and sterilized by the manufacturer, and will be safely disposed of after being used.
What should I expect on my first visit?
Before your treatment begins, your practitioner will consult with you to collect your complete medical history and details about your current symptoms or condition. They’ll also ask you questions about various aspects of your life beyond your reason for seeking treatment. They will then take your pulse, examine your tongue, and may palpate your abdomen and check for other tender areas along the meridians. Your first treatment will usually last about 1.5 hours, and treatments after that usually last 1 hour.
How often do I have to receive acupuncture treatments?
Acupuncture treatment frequency varies for each patient. When your condition and symptoms have been relieved, the acupuncture treatments will then be done on a less-frequent basis. For chronic conditions that have been occurring for a longer time, more treatments are typically required. Your practitioner will determine your treatment course during your first visit and will continue to reassess this after each session.
How should I prepare for my acupuncture session?
Prior to your appointment, it is recommended to eat a light meal and stay hydrated to make sure your body has enough energy to work with. If a patient has not eaten, they may experience lightheadedness or weakness while being treated. If you do feel this way, be sure to inform your practitioner.
What should I wear and expect during my acupuncture treatments?
Wear something comfortable and loose for your acupuncture treatments, such as sweatpants or a loose-fitting T-shirt. Refrain from wearing makeup or fragrances, and avoid eating or drinking anything that will stain your tongue. You should also avoid wearing jewelry, especially bracelets and watches. When you arrive, you will remove your shoes and socks and lay down or sit comfortably on the treatment table.
Can I receive acupuncture if I’m pregnant?
Yes, you can receive acupuncture while pregnant. Not only is it completely safe, but acupuncture during pregnancy can be incredibly beneficial! Always inform your practitioner if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, as some acupoints are contraindicated during pregnancy.
What does acupuncture help with?
Acupuncture helps with a wide variety of conditions and ailments:
Musculoskeletal: Chronic pain, sports injuries, sprains, strains, heel spur, knee pain, neck pain, shoulder and arm pain, back and leg pain, TMJ, arthritis, bursitis, tendonitis, fibromyalgia, and carpal tunnel syndrome
Neurological: Headache, sciatica, multiple sclerosis, neuralgia, Bell's Palsy, spinal cord injury, and hemiplegia
Digestive: Heartburn, indigestion, nausea, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, malabsorption, hiccups, gas and bloating, and constipation
Psychological: Anxiety, depression, stress, nervousness, panic attacks, and sleep disorders
Sexual/reproductive health: PMS, impotence, low libido, infertility, menstrual pain and disorders
Respiratory: Common cold and flu, asthma, allergies, and sinusitis
Urinary: Bladder dysfunction, urinary pain/discomfort, and incontinence
Other: Scar pain, weight loss, chronic fatigue, alcohol/drug addictions, smoking addiction, and tinnitus/hearing problems
What if I have to cancel or change my appointment?
If you need to cancel or change your appointment, please notify your practitioner at least 24 hours in advance. While we do our best to accommodate our patient’s busy lives, we ask that you be respectful of our practitioner's time and schedules.
Thank you in advance for honoring our policy listed below:
Appointments cancelled or rescheduled with less than 24 hours notice will be charged 100% of the appointment fee.
In situations that affect the patient’s or practitioner's safety, such as dangerous weather or medical/family emergencies, there will be no charge.