How does acupuncture work?

From a traditional Chinese medical perspective, the body can be influenced and balanced by stimulating specific points on the body which impact our vital energies, or Qi (pronounced "chee").  These points are located along channels of energy known as meridians that connect all of our major organ systems.  Illness and dis-ease arises when the cyclical flow of Qi becomes unbalanced, deficient, stagnant, or blocked.

The Chinese theory holds that balance is fundamental to health and vitality.  Not only is balance within the body important, but balance with our outside environment is also of great importance.  When a person has complete balance within their body as well as with their environment, Qi and blood will flow smoothly throughout the entire body, insuring that all muscles, tendons, tissues, and organs are nourished and supported.  Imbalance, deficiency, or blocked Qi could manifest as pain, weakness, sickness, or more specific conditions.  Traditional Chinese Medicine was developed with the intention and focus of re-creating balance and health in an imbalanced and dis-eased system.  

What does acupuncture feel like and does it hurt?

Different people experience insertion and stimulation of needles differently.  Most describe insertion of the needle as a mosquito-bite like sensation or pinch, followed by a heavy, dull, achy or tingly sensation.  Most do not describe the sensation as painful, many becoming very relaxed and even falling asleep during their treatment.  And some have little sense of needles at all.  

What should I expect from my first treatment?

The first session is approximately 90 minutes, including a comprehensive initial intake and assessment (health history, presenting symptoms, tongue and pulse diagnosis), discussion of wellness goals, and your 1st acupuncture treatment.  During the acupuncture treatment you’ll lie on a comfortable massage table.  Your acupuncturist will select points related to your pattern diagnosis with the intention to balance and harmonize your body, allowing the body to rest and relax while restoring the body to a place of health and healing.  You will rest for approximately 20-40 minutes with the needles in place and then the needles are removed. 

How should I prepare for my first visit?

Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing and be sure to eat something within a couple of hours of your appointment.  In addition, print and fill out your new patient intake forms found on "Your 1st Treatment" page prior to your visit to make the most of the time available at your appointment.  

What should I do before and after my treatment?

Before your acupuncture treatment make sure you have eaten, but not too much, or too recently.  It is best not to have your stomach too empty or too full.  Also, refrain from drinking alcoholic beverages before or immediately after the treatment.  For 2-3 hours following your treatment try to avoid stressful situations, keep your body at a comfortable temperature, stay away from drafts and wind, drink room temperature or warm beverages if thirsty, and avoid overexertion or vigorous exercise.  In order for your body to adjust to the changes effected by the treatment, a calm and consistent body state is needed.  Staying as relaxed and comfortable as possible will best allow this adjustment to occur.

How many treatments will I need?

The number of treatments needed is individualized to each patient and based on the nature of presenting main complaint and goals of treatment, as well as general wellness goals.  Some conditions may be treated within only a few sessions, whereas others might take several months to fully alleviate and /or treat.  Combining your treatments with dietary and lifestyle modifications as suggested in the Report of Findings will make your course of treatments even more effective.

Is acupuncture safe?

Yes, acupuncture is safe.  Certified acupuncturists are required to undergo extensive education, including detailed study of human anatomy and certification in Clean Needle Technique.  To ensure your complete safety, acupuncture needles are sterile, single use, disposable needles.  Side effects from acupuncture are rare and considerably less severe when compared to some Western medical treatments.  Some side effects include minimal bruising, light-headedness, and a slight itchy or burning feeling at sight of insertion.