FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions
Will it hurt?
This is probably the most common question we hear! Most patients do not find acupuncture to be painful. At most you will feel a tiny prick as the needle is inserted, but many people don’t even feel the needles going in. Really the needles are so thin and flexible – similar to a strand of hair or a cat whisker – that you may not feel them at all. Once the needles are in, you may experience something like a tingling sensation that means that the Qi is activated and the treatment is working. So many patients find treatments to be incredibly relaxing and often fall fast asleep!
Is it safe?
Yes! The needles we use are single-use and packaged in a sterile container. They are used only once and then safely disposed of. The needles are not inserted deep enough to harm any internal organs. Every measure has been taken to ensure your safety.
How does acupuncture work?
In Traditional Chinese Medicine the body is believed to contain a substance called Qi (pronounced “chee”), or Life Energy, that protects the body from illness, keeps the body balanced and all systems working properly. The Qi courses through the body along pathways called meridians. Sometimes our Qi can become blocked from injury or emotional stress, or weakened through overwork or improper diet and sleep. The Qi cannot circulate and the body then experiences pain or illness.
Acupuncture needles are inserted into specific points in the body to relieve these “blockages” and to help the Qi to again circulate properly. When Qi flows smoothly, the body is in better physical, mental and emotional health.
OK. Qi is great and all, but how does science explain how acupuncture works?
In truth, science is still trying to figure out exactly how acupuncture works. However, there are a few things worth mentioning from recent studies. Acupuncture treatments have been shown to trigger the brain to release high levels of endorphins, which are the body’s own natural “painkillers.” Not only do endorphins help relieve pain naturally, but they also increase blood circulation, calm anxiety and stress and improve the immune system. Electro-acupuncture has been shown to both inhibit pain and to improve circulation. Better circulation means quicker healing for tissue injury, like a twisted ankle or sore shoulder muscles.
Are there any side-effects?
Usually the only side-effects patients report is getting a good night’s sleep! Often patients come in to treat a certain type of pain, but are amazed at the other benefits of their treatment: feeling well-rested, having more energy, or being more relaxed. The most common negative side-effect is light bruising which happens only occasionally.
What if I’m afraid of needles?
You aren’t the only one! Most of us are a little uneasy about our first experience with acupuncture. We can take it slow on your first visit and use only a few needles at first, or use a needle-less form of treatment (see next question). If anything, call and set up a free consultation. We will try to better answer your questions then and help you conquer your fears.
Do you offer any other types of treatment besides acupuncture?
Yes, we often employ different methods as either an alternative to using needles, or to help improve treatment results. Please read more about them HERE
How many treatments do I need before I am better?
The short answer is that every body reacts differently to treatment. Also, neck pain that has lasted for a day will be quicker and easier to resolve than migraines that have been going on for years. We usually ask patients with more chronic conditions to commit to 3-5 treatments initially in order to see significant results. After that we can re-assess and see if any further treatment is necessary, and how long it may take to get back to optimal health.
I’m not sick. Why would I need acupuncture?
There is a proverb in Chinese medicine that likens the Western doctor to a mechanic and the acupuncturist to a gardener. The Western doctor only fixes a part of the body once it has already become broken. The acupuncturist tends and nurtures the entire person – body and mind – so that they grow and remain healthy and strong. Traditional Chinese Medicine is preventative medicine, which is something we all need. Additionally, most of us could use a little less stress in our lives. Acupuncture can be very relaxing!
How should I prepare for my acupuncture treatment?
Wear comfortable loose-fitting clothing so your acupuncturist can access the areas that need to be addressed. Try to eat something light and healthy an hour or two before your treatment. Receiving acupuncture while absolutely starving can lead to light-headedness, while coming in just minutes after gulping down a double cheeseburger and fries can lead to nausea. Use your judgment. Make sure to ask any questions you might have about your treatment. We look forward to seeing you!