Are you thinking about coming to see Dr. Emily from some healing, relaxing acupuncture?
Below you’ll find answers to many of the most common questions we get about acupuncture.
If you don’t see your question here, reach out to us here!
What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a comprehensive medical treatment system developed thousands of years ago in Asia, and has been continuously in use since then.
Acupuncture stimulates specific points on the body using very thin, sterile, stainless steel needles. This process restores balance to the body, relieving symptoms and healing the underlying causes of illness, restoring health and vitality.
How does acupuncture work?
From a Western medicine perspective, acupuncture works by increasing activity in various parts of the brain and stimulating the body to release neurotransmitters, vasodilators, and hormones (such as endorphins). Through these mechanisms, acupuncture reduces pain, speeds healing, strengthens the immune system, reduces inflammation, induces a feeling of calm, and alleviates stress.
According to Chinese medical theory, acupuncture works by moving, strengthening and balancing the body’s energy, or “Qi” (pronounced “chee”). Qi can be described as a form of bio-energy that moves like electrical current throughout the body. If the Qi isn’t moving properly, or isn’t strong enough, it shows up as an imbalance or illness. Basically, if you have a health condition, some part of your body’s system is out of whack. Chinese medical theory allows us to diagnose the imbalance… and balance it.
Does acupuncture hurt?
No. Acupuncture gets rid of pain!
Most people don’t feel a thing when acupuncture needles are inserted, as the needles are very tiny – as thin as a human hair. There are certain mild sensations that are sometimes felt during an acupuncture session – these are called “de qi” (pronounced “dah chee”) sensations, and are a sign of rebalancing and healing. De qi sensations may include feelings of heaviness or movement/circulation in the body.
During and after an acupuncture treatment, people usually experience a profound sense of relaxation and internal quiet.
Is acupuncture safe?
Acupuncture is very safe. Acupuncture needles are FDA-approved, individually packaged in sterile blister packages, and are properly disposed of after one use. Every practitioner gets extensive training in anatomy, and damage by an acupuncture needle is extremely rare, due in part to the tiny size of the needles and the generally shallow insertion.
Do I have to believe in it for it to work?
Acupuncture and herbs work whether you believe in them or not. Acupuncture works really well on dogs, cats, and horses, as well as infants – a strong indicator that one does not need to believe in it for it to be effective. And, there is a vast and growing body of scientific evidence demonstrating the efficacy of acupuncture for a wide array of ailments. So, skeptics – welcome! Come and give it a try.
Does acupuncture always work?
Most people respond well to acupuncture, and experience an improvement in their symptoms starting with their first visit.
What should I expect from my acupuncture sessions?
During your first visit as a new patient with Dr. Emily, you will have an in-depth new patient consultation so she can get an overall picture of your health, learn more about the details of your main complaint(s), and answer any questions you may have. This first visit will last ~75 minutes, and will be purely consultation time (no treatment).
Visits for acupuncture are shorter – 50 minutes – during which there will be a brief check-in and review of your progress, followed by an acupuncture treatment.
If it’s warranted, Dr. Emily will also prescribe herbs or supplements for you, and she will likely also recommend dietary and lifestyle changes for you to implement to speed your recovery and improve your overall quality of life and health.
How often would I need to come in for treatment, and for how long?
Treatment is typically most effective when received once a week at first, and then biweekly or monthly for maintenance.
The exact duration of treatment will depend on your condition, your basic level of health, and how well you respond to acupuncture. Most people feel significant and lasting improvement after a series of 12-24 weekly treatments. Consistency is the key to success in improving chronic conditions – sticking with a course of treatment for 12-24 weeks straight will be much more effective than the same 12-24 treatments spread out over a longer period of time.
Receiving weekly acupuncture treatments can improve health in many, many ways:
- an overall and lasting reduction in stress,
- increased immunity,
- better quality sleep,
- more energy and mental clarity,
- improved memory,
- increased motivation for self-care (diet, exercise, etc.),
- improved mood,
- improved libido,
- increased circulation and mobility,
- less pain,
- better digestion,
- and more.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us!