Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is Acupuncture?

Over the past 5,000 years acupuncture has evolved into a complete medical system that can diagnose, treat, and prevent illness. It is a safe, effective, and painless way to treat a wide variety of conditions. An acupuncturist will place fine, sterile needles at specific acupoints on your body. This quick and easy insertion stimulates your body's energy, called Qi, unblocks any obstruction of Qi, strengthens your body, helps you to heal from acute or chronic problems, and balances both body and mind. Needling these specific acupoints restores the proper balance and flow of Qi, while improving the overall function of your body and enhancing it's recuperative power and immunity. Acupuncture can help you obtain and enjoy health and well-being.

2. What is Qi and how does it travel?

Qi is the energy that animates your body. It provides you with the ability to talk, walk, think, metabolize, dream, and love. Qi also protects you from illness, keeping you strong and healthy. Qi circulates through specific pathways called Meridians. There are 14 meridians pathways traveling throughout your body. Each one is connected to an organ system. Meridian pathways are like rivers. Where a river flows, it transports life-giving waters, nourishing the land and people around it. Like rivers, your meridian pathways transport life-giving Qi to energize and nourish your entire body, cells, tissues, and organs. When Qi travels freely throughout your body, you can enjoy good physical, mental and emotional health. An obstruction of Qi in your body acts like a dam. Backing up Qi flow in one area of your body, and restricting it in other areas. Restricting the flow of Qi will affect the proper nourishment your body requires in order to function correctly.

3. What causes Qi to get stuck?

Physical or emotional trauma, stress, lack of exercise, overexertion, poor diet, repetitive strain, excessive activity, seasonal changes, or a weak constitution can all lead to imbalances that disrupt the normal flow of Qi. Under normal circumstances when a disruption occurs, you will easily bounce back, returning to balanced, good health. But when the disruption to Qi is prolonged or excessive, or if your body is at a weakened state, illness, pain, and disease can set in.

4. How many treatments will I need?

The number of treatments varies from person to person. Some people experience immediate relief after the first treatment, others may take months to see results. Chronic conditions usually take longer to resolve than acute problems. Generally, you should plan on a minimum of a month to see significant changes. Treatment frequency depends upon a variety of factors: the severity and duration of your problem, your constitution, and the overall quality and quantity of Qi. Your acupuncturist may suggest one or two treatments per week of several weeks, or monthly visits over time for health maintenance, seasonal "tune ups," or preventative medicine.

5. What can I expect?

During your initial exam a full health history will be taken, with questions regarding your health, lifestyle, and any other information necessary for diagnosis. Your acupuncturist will check your pulses, look at your tongue, and conduct the appropriate physical exam. This information's then organized according to the theories and philosophies of Chinese medicine in order to diagnose .

6. Why do they want to look at my tongue?

The tongue is a map of your body, reflecting the general health of your organ and meridian systems. Your acupuncturist will look at the color, shape and coating of your tongue.

7. Why do they want to feel my pulses?

There are 12 main positions on your wrists that your acupuncturist will feel. Each position corresponds to an organ and meridian system. Your acupuncturist will be looking for 27 pulse qualities that reflect the balance of Qi and your general state of health. If there is any imbalance they will appear in your pulse.

8. How should I prepare?

  • Come to the clinic with any questions you may have, your acupuncturist is here to help you.
  • Wear loose and comfortable clothing for easy access to acupuncture points.
  • Don't eat large meals just before or after your visit.
  • Refrain from overexertion, drugs or alcohol for up to 6 hours after your visit.
  • After your treatment, avoid stressful situations. Make time to relax. A warm bath or shower is helpful. Also, be sure to get plenty of rest.
  • Between visits, make note of any change in your body that may have occurred, such as the alleviation of pain, migration of pain to another area, changes in the frequency and of problem, etc. This information will be important to share with your acupuncturist.

9. How safe is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is extremely safe. It is a "drug-free" therapy, yielding no side effects, except feelings of relaxation, and being grounded. There is little danger of infection from acupuncture needles because they are sterile, used once, and disposed of after each use.

10. Do the needles hurt?

The sensation caused by an acupuncture needle varies from patient to patient. Some people feel a little pain as the needles are inserted, but most people feel no pain. The needles are tiny, sometimes just a little larger than a cat's whisker.

11. Is acupuncture safe for children?

Yes! In some instances children actually respond more quickly than adults. If your child has an aversion to needles, your acupuncturist may suggest massaging the acupuncture point. This is called acupressure.

12. Why did my acupuncturist recommend herbs?

Herbs can be a powerful adjunct to acupuncture care. They can strengthen your body, or clear it of excess problems like a cold, fever, or acute pain. Herbs can be use daily. Sometimes your practitioner may suggest starting with herbs, and then adding acupuncture to your treatment. They will do this in order to build up your internal strength so your body can receive the full benefits acupuncture has to offer.

13. Will my insurance cover acupuncture?

Most insurance companies provide acupuncture benefits. Contact your insurance provider to learn what type of alternative care is covered and how many visits are allowed per calendar year.