Question: What is Acupuncture?

Answer: Acupuncture is an ancient method of medicine that uses the body’s energy or Qi (chee) to treat conditions such as pain, dizziness, nausea, chronic conditions, post-stroke paralysis, drug and alcohol addiction, etc. Acupuncture uses very fine, sterile, single-use needles placed in specific locations around the body to manipulate that energy. There are acupuncture points all over the body, including the face and scalp. Where you will have needles placed will depend on your signs and symptoms. Other modalities used in treatment can include electro-stimulation, gua sha, cupping, and moxibustion.


Question: What is an Acupuncturist Allowed to Do?
Answer: An acupuncturist is allowed to engage in the practice of acupuncture, electro-acupuncture, perform or prescribe the use of oriental massage, acupressure, moxibustion, cupping, breathing techniques, exercise, heat, cold, magnets, nutrition, diet, herbs, plant, animal, and mineral products, and dietary supplements to promote, maintain, and restore health.


Question: Does Acupuncture Hurt?

Answer: The acupuncture treatment typically does not hurt. Occasionally you will feel a pinching sensation as the needles are inserting, but most people do not feel anything. With the needles in place, you may feel pressure, tingling, aching, or a heavy sensation. This is called “de Qi” and is a desired response; it means your body is responding to the treatment and energy is moving. It is not expected to be uncomfortable or painful. If you do experience any pain or discomfort, please advice your practitioner immediately, as your needles may need to be adjusted or removed.


Question: What Kind Of Conditions Should I Seek Acupuncture Treatment?

Answer: An acupuncturist may be consulted for specific symptoms and conditions such as pain, anxiety, arthritis, asthma, migraine, menstrual disorders, intestinal disorders, addiction and a plethora of other conditions. The World Health Organization (WHO) has listed the above conditions and many more as being responsive to acupuncture treatment. For additional information please see our webpage of “Conditions”.


There has been extensive practice and research that has evidenced that acupuncture is effective in helping patients with many of the conditions listed by WHO as well as many others. It does more than simply relieve the symptoms. The aim of acupuncture is to treat the whole patient and restore balance between the physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of the individual. Many people also have acupuncture as a preventative treatment, which is the most important benefit of this medicine.


Question: Are There Any Reasons Why I Should Not Be Treated with Acupuncture?

Answer: While there are no contraindications to receiving acupuncture or other TCM treatment modalities, there may be certain conditions or circumstances that may prevent you from receiving a treatment today. Some conditions may mean that certain acupuncture points or treatments are cautioned or contraindicated, and your treatment plan will be adjusted accordingly. It is important to eat a small meal prior to your acupuncture treatment. If you have not eaten, your practitioner may require you to eat a snack prior to treatment.


If you are pregnant or think you may be pregnant, please notify your acupuncturist immediately. Most acupuncture points are safe to use during pregnancy, but there are a few points that are avoided as a precaution.


Question: How Many Treatments Will I Need?

Answer: Usually, a series of treatments are necessary to resolve a condition. Each case and condition is treated individually. Generally, the longer the patient has had the condition, the longer the course of treatment will be before showing substantial and lasting results. Acupuncture can be scheduled as often as five times a week or as little as once a week. A consultation is required to determine requirements. Treatments can be between 30 to 60 minutes in length with the first consultation usually lasting longer. Please schedule a free consultation with us for more details about your specific treatment plan.


Question: What Can I Expect?
Answer: Initial visit generally lasts from 60 to 90 minutes. Your acupuncturist will take a detailed health history and a physical exam. You may be asked a wide range of questions about your symptoms, eating, exercise, sleep habits, and emotional states — anything that may offer insight into your health. Your practitioner will also employ diagnostic tools that are unique to acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine such as tongue and pulse diagnosis. Once enough information has been gathered, your acupuncturist will provide you with a unique treatment plan. In general, visits occur once or twice a week over several weeks or months until therapeutic results are achieved.


Question: How Should I Prepare for Acupuncture Treatment?

Answer: For the best treatment results, keep a few things in mind:

  • Be sure to discuss any questions or concerns with your acupuncturist.
  • Don’t eat a large meal before your visit.
  • Refrain from overexertion, drugs or alcohol for at least six hours before and after treatment.
  • Wear loose, comfortable clothes for easy access to acupuncture points.
  • Follow your treatment plan between visits.
  • Keep all of your appointments, as each visit builds upon the previous ones.


Question: What is Electro-stimulation?

Answer: Electro-stimulation uses small electrodes attached to acupuncture needles to send an electrical impulse into the muscle. It is most often used for musculoskeletal pain and paralysis. The acupuncture intern will insert 2-6 needles in an area and attach electrodes. You will feel a mild pulsing in time with the electrical impulse. It is not painful or uncomfortable. If you experience pain or discomfort, please advise your acupuncturist, who will adjust the strength of the impulse to a more comfortable setting.


Question: What is Gua Sha?

Answer: Gua Sha is a treatment that is used primarily for early cold symptoms or tightness in large muscle groups. This technique involves using a dull-edged device, like a soup spoon or polished stone, to gently massage the skin, usually the upper back and neck. It is not painful. There is no bleeding or scabbing. You may experience some slight bruising or redness that may last 1 to 3 days.


Following treatment you will be advised to keep the area covered and avoid windy conditions for a day or two.


Question: What is Cupping?

Answer: Cupping is a technique that is most often used for musculoskeletal pain, such as back pain. In this technique, small glass or plastic cups will be placed on the affected area and suction will be created, drawing some of your tissue inside the cup. Your acupuncturist may apply a thin layer of oil to your skin and may move the cups around the affected area. There is no bleeding. You may feel a sensation similar to that of being massaged. You may experience round bruises, redness, or bruising over the affected area that may last 3 to 5 days.


Following treatment you will be advised to keep the area covered and avoid windy conditions for a day or two.


Question: What is Moxibustion?

Answer: Moxibustion is a heating method of treatment using the Chinese herb mugwort. Moxibustion is used for treating pain, trauma, and certain cold-related injuries or conditions. The mugwort is compressed into a stick that is burned near the body or into small cones that are placed on the body with a protective barrier that prevents burning. Both these methods introduce heat into the affected area, providing relief of pain. There is some limited smoke and odor when using moxibustion. Please advise your practitioner if you have asthma or other respiratory conditions, or if you are sensitive to odors.


Question: Can Children Be Treated With Acupuncture?

Answer: Children of all ages are treated and respond well to acupuncture and Chinese herbal treatment. In addition, young children of those apprehensive of the use of acupuncture needles may be treated without needles using Asian bodywork and/or electrical probes. In addition, herbal formulas are usually prescribed to enhance the acupuncture treatments and to provide further care between treatments as well.


Question: Can You Tell Me More About Chinese Herbal Treatment?

Answer: Chinese herbal medicine, also known as Chinese herbology is one of the primary modalities within the scope of Oriental medicine. Chinese herbology includes treatment with substances such as plants, roots, minerals and more. Like acupuncture, Chinese herbology has evolved as an integral part of Chinese medicine and is used to re-harmonize imbalances in the body.


The WHO defines herbal medicines to include herbs, herbal materials, herbal preparations and finished herbal products that contain as active ingredients parts of plants, or other plant materials, or combinations. Chinese formulas are comprised of herbs designed for each individual patient. This special formulation is crucial because these formulas must be delicately composed for the purpose of achieving balance in each disharmonious state of being. Even small deviations in dosage or herb composition can change the entire focus of the formula and therefore, the results.


Question: Do I Need A Referral from My Regular Doctor to See An Acupuncturist and Will My Insurance Cover Acupuncture Treatment?
Answer: An acupuncturist is considered a primary care provider and a referral may or may not be required for insurance purposes. Many insurance companies do cover acupuncture treatment. For more information on insurance, please contact either your insurance company or an acupuncture association.