FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is an ancient technique that has been used for thousands of years to treat disease and promote health and well-being. Acupuncture, as part of Chinese Medicine, uses the basic principle of treat the pattern and not the disease.
Symptoms reveal an underlying pattern of imbalance. Correcting this imbalance allows the body to heal. Acupuncture uses fine, filiform (solid) needles to stimulate combinations of points on the body. These combinations create specific effects focused on correcting the underlying cause (pattern) for the patient's concern, as well as relieving the present symptoms.
What can acupuncture treat?
Acupuncture is a safe and effective treatment for many different conditions. The World Health Organization recognizes over 100 conditions that acupuncture can treat. The short list of complaints most commonly seen in practice are low back pain, spine pain, neck pain/tension, sciatica, shoulder pain, carpal tunnel, neuropathy, insomnia, stress/anxiety, depression, PTSD, infertility, menstrual disorders, erectile dysfunction, digestive disorders, gas and bloating, diarrhea, constipation, IBS, Crohns disease, ulcerative colitis, common cold, cough, stop smoking, addictions, and endocrine imbalances such as hypo or hyper-thyroidism. Acupuncture is a wide reaching therapy; the list of conditions that can be treated is much longer than what is written here. If you have questions about your individual concerns, feel free to call/text/email.
I'm afraid of needles. Does acupuncture hurt?
Fear of needles is extremely common and is something acupuncturists deal with every day. Despite this very prevalent fear, most people find acupuncture to be painless and relaxing. The needles used are solid and very fine. As a comparison, depending on the needle gauge used, approximately six to ten acupuncture needles can fit inside of one hypodermic needle! There is an occasional pinch felt upon needle insertion, however this should disappear immediately and there should not be any burning or stinging felt by the patient. Most patients describe the sensation of stimulation with an acupuncture needle as very gentle and sometimes dull or achy in nature. This dull/achy feeling is described in the ancient literature as DeQi. Although not essential for getting results, DeQi is sometimes sought after with specific points. There is rarely bleeding with withdrawal of the needle, and acupuncture is safe even for patients taking blood thinning medication. For those that are extremely needle sensitive, there are techniques such as shallow insertion or contact needling that can be used to avoid any sensation at all.
What should I expect on my first visit?
Your first visit will be approximately 75 minutes. Follow-up treatments will last for a total of 60 minutes. The first appointment will consist of an initial consultation and a full acupuncture treatment. In the consultation we will go over your health history in detail, as well as a review of body systems. You will then be asked to lie back on the treatment table. It is best to wear comfortable, loose fitting clothing such as shorts and a shirt with no sleeves or loose sleeves. If any areas other than the arms and legs need to be uncovered, you will be draped (covered with a sheet) appropriately. Once on the table, I will take your pulse and look at your tongue. These are ancient practices that help to confirm diagnosis with Chinese Medicine. I will also inspect relevant areas of the body and I may perform diagnostic muscle tests if the complaint is musculo-skeletal. Once a diagnosis is confirmed we will begin treatment with needling of acupuncture points. The needles will remain in for approximately 30 minutes. After needle-removal, the acupuncture will be followed with any other appropriate therapy (stretching, cupping, gua sha, etc.).
How many treatments will I need?
Acupuncture can achieve incredibly quick results, however each individual and their concern will respond differently. Although it is impossible to predict exactly how many treatments are needed for a specific condition, there are general guidelines that can be followed. Recent injuries or acute conditions will typically respond faster than chronic conditions. The first visit may create an immediate and powerful response, however for most it is subtle change. Around the 3rd or 4th treatment is when we expect to see a noticeable response. For recent conditions, like a strained muscle, the condition may be resolved by this time. For chronic conditions we hope to reach our goal around the 8th to 10th treatment. Each acupuncture treatment builds from the last, so consistency is always the key to success. Some conditions require continuing treatment beyond this, which will be discussed in the initial consultation. I am always honest with my patients about the time it may take to work on their individual concerns. Other factors that may influence your condition, such as lifestyle, diet, exercise, etc. will also be discussed.