1) How does acupuncture work?

Acupuncture is based on the ancient Chinese philosophy of Qi (energy)  which flows throughout the meridians that network the body, much like nerves and blood vessels. In this theory, insertion of acupuncture needles at various points along the body’s meridians enables energy and blood to flow into areas where there is a deficiency and away from areas of excess. These changes in flow create balance and harmony in the body, which allows the body to naturally restore itself.

From a biochemical perspective, acupuncture stimulates the nervous system and produces changes in blood chemistry that facilitate the body’s ability to heal itself.

2) What can acupuncture treat?

Acupuncture and Chinese medicine can potentially treat any condition that does not require emergency care or hospitalization. It treats both acute and chronic conditions, as well as providing excellent preventative care.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the National Institute of Health (NIH) acupuncture is a safe and effective treatment for a wide variety of heath conditions including:

  • Musculoskeletal pain–tennis elbow, frozen shoulder, lower back pain, osteoarthritis, knee pain, sprains and strains
  • Sleep disturbances, emotional disorders and stress
  • Digestive tract disorders–hiccups, inflammation of the stomach, chronic duodenal ulcers, inflammation of the colon, constipation, diarrhea, dysentery caused by certain bacteria
  • Respiratory difficulties
  • Urogenital disorders and gynecological problems
  • Ears, Nose, and Throat – Toothaches, pain after tooth extraction, ear aches, sinus inflammation, nasal inflammation or dryness
  • Eyes – Central retina and conjunctiva inflammation, nearsightedness (in children), and some cataracts
  • Nerves – Headaches, migraines, some facial paralyses and nerve pain, post-stroke weakness, nerve ending inflammation, and sciatica
  • Miscellaneous – Incontinence (including bed wetting)

If you have a question about a particular health concern,  please contact me for a detailed explanation.

3) Is acupuncture painful?

No, it is not painful but you could experience various sensations as the body responses to the treatment.  This is a desired and positive sign that the body is responding to the treatment.  Patients often experience a local warmth or aching sensation.    Others experience some cramping, heaviness, tingling, and/or electric sensation around the needles or traveling up or down the affected meridian, or energy pathway. Nevertheless, if you experience any discomfort, it is generally mild.

4) Are the needles sterilized?

Yes, they are sterilized, disposable, and individually packaged.  Made of stainless steel, the  needles are of hair-like thinness.  All risk of contamination has been eliminated.

5) What distinguishes you as a practitioner?

My dedication and commitment to providing PAINLESS, safe, efficient, individual-centered care utilizing the five pillars of Chinese Medicine.  Holding degrees in both science and art, I find myself at home in the ancient wisdom and healing art of Chinese Medicine as well as modern biological science.   I practice from a holistic paradigm, honoring the individual before me, whatever the symptoms may be.  The treatment and recommendations to lifestyle, diet, exercise, etc. are tailored to each person as needed and are adjusted throughout the course of treatment.

6) What can I expect from the consultation?

The consultation will last 30-60 minutes and will include a comprehensive medical history.  Be prepared to provide a list of current medications.  We will discuss your medical history and the current health issues you want to address.  I will answer your questions and discuss a specialized treatment plan.  Diagnosis will be performed via symptoms, constitution, pulse, tongue and palpation readings.

7) What can I expect from the first treatment?

Depending on the treatment, your clothing may be adjusted to access the acupuncture points or there may be a need for you to change into a gown.   It is best to wear loose fitting clothes.  The first treatment starts by laying either on your back or stomach (depends upon the condition) on a treatment table. The areas to be needled will be wiped with alcohol, then the needles are inserted.  If anything becomes uncomfortable, just let me know and it will be adjusted.

8) Are you able to work with other doctors and health professionals?

Yes, I look forward to working with your other health practitioners.  It is best for us to work together to coordinate your treatment strategy.  Chinese medicine can be integrated into almost any existing treatment plan.

9) How many treatments does a patient need?

It depends upon your health condition. Generally, chronic conditions require more treatments to resolve, and acute problems respond more quickly. Nevertheless, a single treatment could produce results for an acute condition or it may take a series of treatments for some chronic problems. Other considerations are whether this is a first episode or recurrent problem, history of injuries, general health, lifestyle (work, diet, sleep), compliance with recommendations, kept appointments, stress, and family history.  Some conditions may require many treatments over time.   Even for quickly responding conditions it generally takes 3-5 treatments until the body permanently holds the change.

Typically, treatment courses run from 4 -12 sessions

10) How often do patients need to come for treatment?

This also depends on the nature of the condition. Usually new patients will come one to three times per week until the condition is stabilized, and then the frequency of visits will taper off. Preventative or maintenance visits are usually once or twice per month, or seasonal.

11) What are the advantages of receiving treatment more than once a week?

The advantages of receiving treatment multiple times a week is to provide enough support to allow the body to heal itself sufficiently and to quickly reduce the symptoms of pain and disease.

12) Is it required to take herbal medicine in addition to acupuncture?

The use of herbal medicinals complements the acupuncture treatment. While acupuncture balances the energetics of the body, the herbs directly address biochemistry. Herbs from my pharmacy are either administered as commercially prepared products (tablets, pills, liniments, etc.) or concentrated granules or tinctures that are assembled into custom formulas, and taken as a tea. All products in my pharmacy are GMP certified (Good Manufacturing Process), which ensures their purity.

13) Are you able to treat people with a fear of needles?

Acupuncture is just one of the pillars of Chinese medicine.  Much healing can be accomplished through the other pillars of the medicine:  herbal formulations, orthopedic bodywork (Tui-Na, shiatsu, acupressure, Rolfing, deep-tissue, etc.), moxibustion (focalized heat therapy), cupping, and nutrition. That said, most of my patients who are afraid of needles are surprised to find that acupuncture is not as unpleasant as they anticipated.

14) Does the patient have to believe in acupuncture for it to work?

In general, research has shown that believing in any treatment enhances its success, no matter what the modality. Interestingly, veterinary acupuncture is highly effective on animals, who have no reasonable expectation of treatment outcomes. Most of my skeptical patients still experience relief.

15) Do you take insurance?

Yes, we take most insurance plans and provide a complementary verification of your benefits but take no responsibility for false information provided by your insurance company. It is best if you contact your insurance provider and verify that they cover acupuncture.  Also ask about any deductible, co-payment and other limitations.  Ultimately, you are responsible for payment.  If you are unable to verify your insurance coverage, I will provide a Superbill for you to submit to your insurance company.

16) Do you provide a payment plan or does one have to pay in full?

Payment in full is due following treatment.  Payment plans may be offered for packaged services.

17) Do you have accommodations for the disabled?

My office is located on the first floor which three steps to enter the clinic.   Please bring an assistant if you need further assistance.

18) How many days in advance should an appointment be booked?

It is possible, but perhaps unlikely to get an appointment the same day.  Please call to schedule your appointment at your earliest convenience.

19) How will I feel after a treatment?

Most individuals feel pleasantly relaxed following a treatment.  Occasionally an individual may report feeling tired, slightly sore or lightheaded, others feel energized. Your reaction will depend upon your constitution and condition.  It is advisable to rest for a few minutes after treatment to allow the body to integrate the treatment.  It is best not to eat a heavy meal or engage in strenuous activity just before or after a treatment.

20) Where can I get more information?

There are many websites that provide information regarding acupuncture. I recommend:

National Institute of Health

Acupuncture Today

Two highly recommended books are:

“The Web that has No Weaver” by Ted Kaptchuk, OMD

“Between Heaven and Earth”, by Harriet Beinfield, L.Ac. and Efrem Korngold, L.Ac, OMD.