What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is an essential part of Chinese Medicine.  Click here to learn about the eight branches of Chinese Medicine and how acupuncture is part of a cohesive complete medicine. It is based on ideas and theories formulated over thousands of years. Acupuncture is the insertion of very fine needles into specific sites on the body chosen according to the guiding principles of Chinese Medicine. Needles may also be used with an application of moxibustion, an herbal heat source. Or sometimes, electrical stimulation is combined with the needles for increased stimulation. 

How and where the needles are inserted encourages the body to promote natural healing by enhancing recuperative power, immunity, physical and emotional health and improves overall function and well-being. Acupuncture balances and maintains our health in a natural way.

Is Acupuncture treatment safe?

Yes. Only sterile disposable needles are used. 

A Diplomate of Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) has completed four academic years of education at the master’s degree level in an acupuncture and Chinese herbology program accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM). 

The scope of training includes acupuncture, herbal medicine, Asian Bodywork Therapy and Chinese Medicine Nutrition.  

In addition to graduation from an ACAOM accredited program, a Diplomate of Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) must demonstrate professional competency by passing NCCAOM certification examinations in Foundations of Oriental Medicine, Acupuncture and Point Location, Chinese Herbology, and Biomedicine. 

The Diplomate of Oriental Medicine will have 3,000 hours of training in Chinese Medicine, including acupuncture, which is in contrast to chiropractors, registered nurses, medical doctors and physical therapists who typically receive less than 100-300 of training in acupuncture only.  

Is Acupuncture painful?

Acupuncture needles are very thin. Most people do not find the insertion of such hair fine needles to be painful. Acupuncture needles are solid filiform needles, unlike injection needles, which are thicker, hollow and have cutting edges and insert or withdraw fluids from the body.  This is why acupuncture feels nothing like getting a shot or having blood drawn.

Why should I try Acupuncture?

Acupuncture can relieve the symptoms of your health challenges, strengthen your body's resistance to disease, and restore balance and normal function to your system by treating the root cause. There are also many beneficial side effects to acupuncture. Patients report that most of the time they:

  • Feel better
  • Miss fewer work days
  • Get along better with others 
  • Have less pain 
  • Have more energy 
  • Are more focused 
  • Can work better 

How does Acupuncture work? 

Channels of energy (Qi) run in regular patterns throughout the body and over its surface. These energy channels flow through the body to irrigate and nourish the tissues and organs. An obstruction in the movement of the energy is like a dam that can cause obstruction in the flow of blood, bodily fluids and metabolic waste, thereby creating imbalances in the body.

Needling the acupuncture points can influence the meridian by unblocking the obstructions and re-establishing a healthy flow through the meridians. Since the meridians link with the organs, a treatment can therefore, also help to improve the function of the internal organs. The improved energy flow and biochemical balance produced by acupuncture results in stimulating the body's natural healing abilities and in promoting physical and emotional well being.

Western science has also suggested several theories for how Acupuncture works, including (1) conduction of electromagnetic signals, (2) activation of opioid systems, and (3) changes in brain chemistry, sensation, and involuntary bodily functions. (NCCAM Research Study, 2002.)

What is an Acupuncture treatment like?

You may feel a slight sensation resembling a pinch or a mosquito bite when the needle is inserted. Once the needles are placed there may be a slight tingling, numbness or heaviness in the area while the practitioner is stimulating the point. These are positive signs that the needles are affecting the acupuncture point. Usually you will be lying on a comfortable padded table or in an easy chair. Often, people become very relaxed and fall into a light sleep during the session.

What can I expect when I go to an Acupuncturist?

The Acupuncturist will ask you a series of questions and do a full health history in order to find out the underlying cause of your health issue or disorder. The Acupuncturist will ask about your symptoms, health and life-style. Afterward the Acupuncturist will examine your tongue, feel your pulses and palpate various parts of your body. This helps the Acupuncturist find patterns that tell which organs and meridians are out of balance. With this information the Acupuncturist will identify a pattern of disharmony according to Oriental Medical theory and will make a treatment plan to address it. After your initial interview, you may receive an Acupuncture treatment.

How should I prepare?

1. Come with any questions you have, we're here to help you. 

2. Wear loose, comfortable clothing for easy access to acupuncture points. 

3. Don't eat large meals just before or after your visit. 

4. Refrain from overexertion, drugs, or alcohol for up to 6 hours after the visit. 

5. Avoid stressful situation. Make time to relax and be sure to get plenty of rest. 

6. Between visits, take notes of any changes that you may have experienced. 

How long do treatments take?

An office visit will last from 30 minutes to 1 hour. The needles, once inserted, will usually be left in place from 15 to 45 minutes depending on the condition. Ultimately, the session length depends on the technique and desired results.

How many treatments are needed and how often?

Although some people will respond well to only one treatment, more are often necessary. The frequency of treatment and number of treatments needed is related to the patient's condition. 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 month. Typically, in China, patients are treated two to five times a week. Although some patients respond favorably after only one or two treatments, others may not respond even until the ninth visit. As symptoms improve fewer visits are required. A client should discuss his or her treatment program with the Acupuncturist, as each individual case is unique.