Acupuncture Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Is there anything I do to prepare for my appointment?
A. Be sure to wear loose, comfortable clothing (or you can bring a change of clothes) and eat something at least one hour beforehand. Do not consume any stimulants such as caffeine prior to the treatment and immediately after the treatment. Make sure you allow sufficient time for the appointment (2 hours for initial treatment / 1 hour for follow-up). Do not exercise immediately after acupuncture, ideally wait at least a few hours. If the weather is cold, windy, or wet, wear a hat, scarf, and warm clothing especially after acupuncture.
Q. How does acupuncture work?
A. Systemic balance is critical to one's health and wellness, in western medicine this is known as homeostasis. Any imbalance can result in disorders such as pain, injury, insomnia, digestive issues, stress, gynecological disorders, allergies, depression, colds and a myriad of other complications. Acupuncture helps restore one's nature balance so organs and bodily systems can work together in harmony. This sets the stage for the body to repair itself and maintain its own optimal health.
From a Western medicine perspective, research has shown that acupuncture treatment triggers different physiological responses, such as:
Stimulating the immune system and increasing white blood cells, which defend the body against infection.
Regulating blood sugar metabolism, which helps the body use energy more efficiently.
Increasing blood circulation and producing beneficial changes in blood pressure; Decreasing cholesterol and triglycerides.
Increasing stomach peristaltic activity and regulating digestive fluids, thereby improving digestion.
Regulating and stimulating serotonin, a neurotransmitter that is directly related to sleep, appetite, and moods.
Increasing the availability of receptors in the brain that process and weaken pain signals.
Affecting both the brain’s short- and long-term ability to reduce pain sensation.
Q. Does acupuncture hurt?
A. In general, no. Acupuncture needles can have a certain sensation after they are inserted, but few would call it pain. Unlike hypodermic needles, which are used for the delivery of liquids and have a hollow edge to cut the skin, acupuncture needles are solid. Acupuncture needles are also much finer then hypodermic needles. About 40 acupuncture needles can fit into the tip of one standard 18 gauge hypodermic needle. Due to the acupuncture needles being so fine and the swiftness of the insertion, the pain reflexes on the nerve endings are not even stimulated. There are some areas of the body that will always be more sensitive including the fingers, toes and palms, but it's generally nothing more than a quick little pinch. By the time all the needles are inserted, you generally do not feel any of them and are consumed with a sense of calm relaxation.
Q. How often do I need to come in for treatment?
A. Typically acupuncture treatments are given 1-3 times per week. The exact duration of treatment varies case to case but generally depends on the condition, your basic level of health and how well you respond to acupuncture. Usually frequent treatments are done for the first few weeks; after that, the frequency of treatment may be reduced as wellness is restored. Average cases take around 6 treatments to resolve, while more challenging chronic cases can take 10+.
Q. Do you treat children?
A. Absolutely! I treat children of any age with excellent results.
Q. Do you have to be certified to practice acupuncture?
A. Yes. A practitioner of Chinese medicine is an individual licensed to provide health care by using techniques of Oriental medicine. In the state of CO, they are referred to as Licensed Acupuncturists (L.Ac.s) while in other states they are recognized as Primary Care Physicians and called Doctor’s. They may perform acupuncture and many related modalities such as moxa, cupping, tui na massage, prescribe supplements, Chinese and Western herbs, teach qi gong meditation, and provide dietary and lifestyle advice.
- Prerequisites for Chinese medical school include a Bachelor’s degree and courses similar to medical school prerequisites. There are about 50 Chinese medical schools in the U.S. The Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM) requires that accredited professional programs in Oriental medicine be 4 academic years in length and at least 2175 hours. The most common degree held by a Chinese medicine practitioner is a Master’s degree. Programs must train students sufficiently in the history of Oriental medicine, basic Oriental medical theory, biomedical clinical sciences (biochemistry, microbiology, pharmacology, immunology, etc.), diagnostic skills, acupuncture techniques, herbal medicine, treatment planning, ethics and safety, nutrition, qi gong, basic counseling and communication skills, and clinical training. Most states license Chinese medicine practitioners after they pass national board examinations in Acupuncture, Oriental Medicine, and Biomedicine. The National Commission for the Certification of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) administers the exams.
Q. What does acupuncture treat?
A. Acupuncture is extremely successful in the treatment of a multitude of conditions. The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified approximately 40 diseases that are effectively treated with acupuncture. However Chinese Medicine is a complete medical system that is capable of diagnosing and effectively treating a wide range of conditions including but certainly not limited to:
Musculoskeletal and Neurological Disorders:
Headaches and Migraines
Eye, Ear, Nose, Throat Disorders:
Ringing in the Ears
High Blood Pressure
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Uneven Skin Tone
Gynecological / Genitourinary Disorders:
Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
Irregular, Heavy or Painful Menstruation
Chronic Bladder Infection
Complications in Pregnancy
Infertility in Men and Women
HIV and AIDS
Epstein Barr Virus
Emotional and Psychological Disorders:
Colds and Flus
Acupuncture Also Treats:
Chemotherapy/Radiation Side Effects
Preventative medicine for the prevention of disease and to promote health, energy and vitality.