Frequently Asked Questions

Is acupuncture safe?

Acupuncture, when practiced by a trained and licensed professional, is very safe.  All acupuncturists in the U.S. are trained and certified in clean needle technique.  We use only sterile, single-use disposable needles in order to eliminate risk of disease transmission.  Acupuncturists spend nearly 4 years of full-time training in Chinese Medicine, Western Medicine, anatomy, and physiology to insure the safest and most effective outcomes for acupuncture.

How does it work? 

Acupuncture moves and balances energy, or “qi,” in the body.  It unblocks areas of stagnation, improves blood circulation, and affects hormones and neurotransmitters.  It increases natural endorphins in the body to reduce pain, and can help speed recovery time of injured areas. 

Does acupuncture hurt?

Although the sensation varies from person to person, overall acupuncture is a painless procedure.  You may experience a slight pinch or prick with needle insertion, tingling, feelings of warmth or coolness, itchiness, or slight aching sensations.  Most people find acupuncture to be a relaxing and enjoyable experience.

What should I expect during my acupuncture appointment?

The first visit will take approximately 1-1.5 hours.  Follow-up visits last 1 hour.  You will fill out some paperwork, after which you will be led through a complete Western medical and Chinese medical intake.  Traditional Chinese pulse and tongue diagnosis will be done, and a palpation exam of certain meridians or affected areas (such as the back or abdomen) may be done.  After this, needles will be inserted and you will rest comfortably for 15-30 minutes while the needles are in place.  Typically, about 6-18 needles are used in a treatment.

How should I prepare for my appointment?

Please make sure you eat something at least 4 hours before your appointment.  Do not brush your tongue the day of or the day before your appointment, as this will interfere with the tongue diagnosis.  Please bring in a list of all current medications you are on.  If you have had labwork or diagnostic tests such as MRI’s or CAT scans done, please bring in these reports.  (Do not bring in original x-ray or MRI film; only bring the reports.)

How many treatments will I need?

This varies from case to case.  Acute conditions which you have not had for a very long time will take less time to treat, and may resolve in 2-8 visits.  Chronic conditions which you have had for months or years will take more treatments, and may require the use of herbal medicine.

Are herbs safe to take with the medications I’m on?

Chinese herbs, when prescribed by a trained herbalist, are safe to take with most medications.  Be sure your herbalist knows what medications you are taking.  When taking herbs, do not take them at the same time as the rest of your medications.  Rather, space them about 2 hours or more apart.