Frequently Asked Questions


What can I expect from my treatment?

During your first appointment you will be asked about your main health concern as well as other aspects of your health and lifestyle.  Since acupuncture is a holistic medicine, a complete health history is taken.  A treatment plan tailored to your individual needs, including acupuncture and potentially other treatment modalities are provided.  The acupuncturist will discuss all forms of treatment as well as your treatment goals and course of treatment, and be happy to answer any questions that may arise.  The first appointment takes approximately 1 hour and a half.  Follow-up appointments generally take about 1 hour.  In terms of preparation, it would be best to wear or bring comfortable clothing to your treatment.  This will allow our practitioners to be able to access the acupuncture points with ease, and it will help you to feel relaxed.  Also, please try to avoid eating a heavy meal or skipping a meal before coming to your appointment.

How many treatments will I need?

Course of treatment depends on the condition being treated, in addition to factors including age, severity of condition and length of disease.  Each patient responds differently to acupuncture and will respond at different rates. Typically, acute cases resolve more quickly than chronic cases which require a longer course of acupuncture treatments. Many people continue to use acupuncture to maintain good health by keeping the body’s immunity strong and emotions balanced.

How does acupuncture work?

Acupuncture involves the use of sterile needles gently placed through soft tissue of the body. This activates a physiological process that helps the body reach homeostasis by promoting healing.  Considerable evidence supports the claim that biochemicals such as endorphins and enkephalins are released within the nervous system during acupuncture, which are the body's natural pain relievers. Traditionally, acupuncture works by balancing the subtle energies of the body.  The concept of Qi (pronounced chee) is essential to understanding how acupuncture works.  The closest English language translation for the word Qi is “life energy.”  When the Qi in our body is in balance, we feel healthy and strong.  When Qi is not flowing properly, or when it becomes blocked, many different signs & symptoms of disease may arise.  These can include pain, a weakened immune system, emotional difficulties, infertility, and ill health.  Acupuncture needles are inserted into specific points on the body to restore the normal flow of the body’s Qi.  Once the body is in a balanced state, it can heal itself more efficiently.

Does acupuncture hurt and is it safe?

Acupuncture involves the insertion of fine, hair-like, sterile needles into specific points on the body. Acupuncture needles are not like hypodermic needles seen in a doctor's office.  Acupuncture needles are not hollow and do not draw blood.  Patients report different sensations from acupuncture. Sometimes the needles feel painless and other times you might feel a slight prick or a tingling feeling. Others report feeling a slight sense of pressure.  Many people feel a sense of calm and relaxation from treatments.  In 1997, the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) formally recognized acupuncture as a mainstream medicine healing option with a statement documenting the procedure's safety and efficacy for treating a range of health conditions.  The NIH statement adds that, “one of the advantages of acupuncture is that the incidence of adverse effects is substantially lower than that of many drugs or other accepted procedures for the same conditions.”  A 2008 article written in the NIH-PA Author Manuscript and a 2011 systematic review published by the American Academy of Pediatrics both concluded that acupuncture in children is safe when administered by trained licensed acupuncture practitioners.