Frequently Asked Questions
What is acupuncture?
A technique stemming from a theory of medicine dating over 2,500 years ago, acupuncture stimulates the body to achieve homeostasis or balance. Tiny acupuncture needles inserted into specific points on the body activate an energy system, which works to perform essentially every bodily process. It works by stimulating the local tissue where the needle is inserted, influencing the nervous and musculoskeletal tissues at that site. The local stimulation brings all kinds of messengers to the area to then communicate with the central nervous system (spinal cord and brain). The message is received, processed, and a response is sent back out to the body from the brain. Whether the response is to regulate hormones, transform a pain pattern, regulate gastrointestinal peristalsis, or simply cause a muscle to relax, the change is based on the individual body and what it needs to reach homeostasis.
Does acupuncture hurt?
Acupuncture should not be painful. It is normal to feel a light tap of the acupuncture needle upon insertion and a dull pressure or heavy sensation once the needle is settled but should not be uncomfortable. Acupuncture needles are about the same width as a human hair follicle!
Your comfort is one of my top priorities and I will check in often to make sure you are comfortable and relaxed.
Are you injecting something into the body?
No, acupuncture needles are small filiform needles for one time use. Filiform needles are formed and thin, while hypodermic needles are hollow and used for injecting an agent into the body.
What should I expect for the first visit?
Your initial visit may last 75-90 minutes so I can thoroughly understand and evaluate your case. A comprehensive health history discussion after review of your paperwork will clarify your purpose for seeking treatment and allow us to create goals for care, which may last 30-40 minutes. I will feel your pulse and examine your tongue, two common physical examination tools used in Chinese Medicine to better understand your body. You will then have needles inserted and rest on a warm table for about 30 minutes.
How should I prepare for my first treatment?
Complete your new patient paperwork at least 24 hours prior to your first visit. This will give me adequate time to learn about your case before you arrive.
Make sure you eat prior to treatment or avoid coming to treatment on an empty stomach.
Wear loose, stretchy, and comfortable clothing to your appointment or bring clothes to change into.
What do I do if I need you while I'm resting on the table?
Before I leave the treatment room, I will place a small call button in your hand. If at anytime you need assistance during your rest (too hot, too cold, need a blanket, turn down sound machine, etc.), click the call button and I will be notified right away.
How long will my treatment last?
After a short intake and discussion of your progress (10-20 minutes on a follow up visit), needles will be inserted. You’ll rest on a warm, cozy table for about 30 minutes so the body has time to do it’s work and your mind has time to unwind. In total, your follow up visit should last about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Depending on your case, you may receive other treatments in addition to acupuncture like cupping, moxa, gua sha or others. This may take a little extra time.
What should I expect after treatment?
After receiving an acupuncture treatment, it is common to feel tired but sometimes you may feel more energized. It depends on which way your body needs to be balanced. It is advised to not participate in intense physical activity after acupuncture and to drink plenty of water. It is normal to feel sensitivity in areas or near areas where the needles were inserted even after you’ve left the office.
How long will my course of treatment be?
A course of treatment will vary from person to person. In general, we will start with 6-10 treatments, once or twice weekly, and then reassess. Every body is different and often we are trying to correct imbalances that have been with you for many years. It takes time to redirect those imbalances. Some people feel a difference after the second or fifth treatment while some notice a change after the first. The idea is that acupuncture works like a ladder; we start by building a solid foundation for your body to work off of. After creating a foundation with several treatments, each treatment thereafter will help your body to continue on the climb to a smooth, balanced state. By keeping a consistent treatment course, you give your body the chance to achieve the most fulfilling results.
Can acupuncture be helpful for children and teenagers?
Yes! Acupuncture and Chinese medicine are safe and effective in helping kids and teenagers restore balance in a wide variety of conditions. Just like adults, kids' vehicles can hit a road block. Fortunately, their younger vehicles are resilient and often have a quicker response. For kids or teens that are nervous about "pokes" or needles, there are other modalities that can be used instead, such as moxa, acupressure, cupping, herbal medicine, and ear seeds.
Is acupuncture safe during pregnancy?
Yes! Acupuncture is a safe and effective alternative to many conventional treatments for pregnancy ailments including morning sickness, constipation or GI disturbances, fatigue, anxiety, back pain, hypertension, and more.
Acupuncture is helpful with supporting women's fertility when trying to conceive, ensuring proper fetal position for labor, and can help prepare the pelvic region for an efficient birth (less time in labor).