Frequently Asked Questions

How does acupuncture work?


This is one of the most common questions we hear from patients. In brief, acupuncture improves circulation, regulates hormones, decreases inflammation, and restores the body's natural balance. For more information, check out our colleague's video below!




Does acupuncture hurt?


While everyone is different, the vast majority of patients will experience no pain during an acupuncture treatment. If any discomfort is felt, it should be instantaneous and mild- nothing like getting a shot or a bee sting. We also offer needle free options for children and others afraid of needles!




What does acupuncture feel like?


Most patients find that acupuncture is a very relaxing experience. When the needles are inserted, you may feel an energetic sensation, such as a slight dragging, heaviness or numbness of the area. This is called “de qi” or “the arrival of qi,” and is an important part of the treatment.




How big are the needles?


The needles used for acupuncture vary in length and width, but most are no thicker than a human hair. They are also very flexible, almost like a cat’s whisker. Longer needles may be used for thicker parts of the body, such as the abdomen, while shorter needles are used for areas like the face and hands. 30 acupuncture needles can fit in a single standard syringe, as demonstrated in this photo!




Are acupuncture needles safe?


Yes! All acupuncture needles are sterile, single-use disposables approved by the FDA. Acupuncturists spend several years in school studying the exact location of all the points and the body’s structural anatomy. Our acupuncturists are also certified in Clean Needle Technique by the CCAOM (Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine).




OK, but I’m really afraid of needles! Can you still help me?


Absolutely! There are many needle-free options available to patients: acupressure, Chinese massage (tui na), heat therapy, cupping and gua sha. We also offer the "buzzer" to our pediatric or needle-phobic patients, which is a handheld and completely painless method of treatment.




Are there any negative side effects to acupuncture?


One of the greatest advantages of acupuncture is that there are very few, if any, negative side effects after a treatment. Rarely, a patient may experience slight bruising around the insertion site so it is important that anyone on aspirin or other blood-thinning medications inform their acupuncturist before beginning treatment. Some patients may feel dizzy or slightly nauseous after a treatment. This is generally due to receiving acupuncture on an empty stomach. Please read “What to do before an appointment” to adequately prepare for your treatment.




Will acupuncture interfere with the medications I am taking?


Acupuncture does not interact or interfere with any type of medication. However, patients may find that, as their acupuncture treatments progress, they no longer require the same medication dose. It is important that you work with your doctor to adjust your prescriptions accordingly. Additionally, patients taking any blood-thinning medications should notify the acupuncturist before beginning treatment.




How many treatments will I need?


Everyone is different and it depends on several factors. After your initial intake appointment, the acupuncturist will develop an individualized treatment plan that will include the recommended number and frequency of appointments. As a rule of thumb, acute (recent) disorders require fewer treatments, while chronic (longer term) disorders require more. Many patients have noticed results in as little as one or two treatments.





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