Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need an appointment for acupuncture?

Yes. Our clinic gets very busy, and while we work hard to accommodate our patients’ scheduling needs, there is sometimes a waitlist for popular appointment times like evenings and Saturdays. We strongly encourage that you call as soon as you are ready to be seen, in order to schedule your initial session or book follow up appointments in advance. If you have questions about us and our treatment methods, or a condition for which you would like to discuss how Acupuncture may help you, we highly recommend that you call the office (908) 850-1400 to book a free consultation.

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? 

In the traditional sense, Acupuncture moves and balances “qi,” (the body’s vital force, pronounced “chee”) and unblocks areas of stagnation to promote the body’s healing mechanisms.  From a biomedical perspective, Acupuncture improves blood circulation, affects hormones and neurotransmitters, releases muscle tension, increases natural endorphins in the body to reduce pain, and can help speed recovery time of injured areas. 

Do you do “dry needling”?

Yes. Dry needling is the use of acupuncture needles in the treatment of muscle trigger points, in order to relieve pain and restore function. We are trained and skilled in this modality, and may use it where appropriate.

Is “dry needling” better than Acupuncture?

Dry needling is not indicated for every patient and may not even be the most effective or complete method for a particular condition.

There is sometimes a misunderstanding that Acupuncture is just “energy medicine”, and that Acupuncturists do not treat patients based on the actual anatomy and physiology of the body—a viewpoint that is simply untrue. Licensed Acupuncturists spend years in their Masters and Doctoral programs learning both an ancient, proven form of medicine, as well as extensive study into the Western Anatomy, Physiology, and Pathophysiology model of the body. These Western Medicine classes are taught by Medical Doctors (M.D.’s).

Acupuncturists are also highly trained under supervision for at least 3-4 years to precisely and safely use needles. In order to practice in New Jersey, Acupuncturists must pass a National Biomedical Board Exam, in addition to their Acupuncture and Herbal Boards.

At Twelve Rivers Acupuncture, our post-graduate work includes the study and certification of Distal Acupuncture techniques including Master Tung and Dr. Richard Tan, Manual Release Techniques, including Pain Neutralization Technique (PNT), Orthopedic Acupuncture, Muscle Motor Point Acupuncture, , Scalp Acupuncture, Neuroacupuncture, and Electroacupuncture, among others. Our years-long study and practice of Traditional Chinese Martial Arts also gives us a deeper understanding of healthy body movement, strengthening, and injury recovery. We can treat both internal and external health concerns with knowledge of a condition from both an East/West perspective, and we use our extensive training and expertise to choose the best methods for each patient’s care.

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.) For your comfort during exam and treatment, we recommend wearing loose-fitting clothing, or you may bring a change of clothes.

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.