What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a form of energy medicine. It involves the insertion of very fine needles into the body to stimulate the body's natural healing potential. Acupuncture developed thousands of years ago in ancient China, and has been used successfully to treat many conditions ranging from allergies and asthma to pain, anxiety, insomnia, and more. Traditional Chinese Medicine is a complete system of medicine that incorporates a number of other modalities in addition to acupuncture. These include moxibustion, cupping, gua sha, tuina massage, and herbal medicine.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does acupuncture hurt?
Acupuncture treatments should not be painful. In fact, many people find them pleasant and relaxing. Acupuncture needles are very fine - much smaller than the hypodermic needles typically used for shots and injections. While you may feel a small pinch as the needle is inserted, you should not feel sharp pain. Other common sensations include tingling, achiness, or a heavy sensation in the body. These are all good signs that the treatment is working.
How many treatments will I need?
This depends on a number of factors including the severity of the condition, your lifestyle, and overall constitution. It's important to understand that acupuncture is not a one-time, miracle cure. Most conditions typically take several treatments to see results, while chronic conditions may require regular treatment for several months or more. I recommend starting with 4-6 treatments to see how your body responds. Once your symptoms have improved, you can reduce the frequency of your visits. Many patients enjoy coming in for monthly maintenance treatments or seasonal tune-ups to keep their immune system strong and body functioning optimally.
What should I wear?
Please wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing. Shirt sleeves and pants should be loose enough to roll up above the elbows and knees - no yoga pants or skinny jeans. You could also wear shorts with a T-shirt or tank top.
What conditions can acupuncture treat?
Studies have shown that acupuncture can be effective for a number of conditions including:
- Anxiety, depression, addiction and other emotional health issues
- Arthritis, autoimmune disorders
- Body pain, low-back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, knee pain, tennis elbow, golfer's elbow
- Digestive issues such as nausea, vomiting, bloating, IBS, constipation and more
- Headaches, migraines, insomnia
- Infertility and women's health issues
How does acupuncture work?
According to Chinese medicine philosophy, all disease states arise from an obstruction in the flow of energy, or qi, throughout the body. Acupuncture uses needles to redirect the flow of energy to bring the body into a healthy state of balance. You can learn more about how acupuncture works from a biomedical perspective here: How does acupuncture work?
Check out this interview with Dr. Laura on the Spot & Chaser podcast to learn more about how acupuncture works. We discuss the origins of acupuncture, how it works, the risks and benefits of treatment, and why an acupuncture treatment is a little bit like a therapy session. At only 6 minutes, it's a quick, easy listen.