Acupuncture FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

How old is Chinese medicine?

Chinese medicine is over 3,000 years old.

How does it work?

Chinese medicine uses tiny needles to access and activate Qi (pronounced “chee” – most closely translated into Western thought as “vital energy”), which restores the body back to health by resolving energy imbalances.

Is Acupuncture safe?

Acupuncture is a safe, natural, effective healthcare system.

Acupuncture treatments are drug-free so there is no risk of drug interactions or dependencies.

You should always disclose any pre-existing conditions, current medications, and pregnancy.

Acupuncture needles are almost hair-thin and have a solid core. They are sterile and disposable, so there is no risk of infection. A needle is used only once, then it is disposed.

What are the needles like?

Acupuncture needles are solid, not hollow like syringe needles used by doctors. Acupuncture needles are small, hair-thin and very flexible.

Only sterile, disposable needles are used so there is no risk of infection. We use a needle once, then dispose of it.

US FDA Regulation of Acupuncture Needles

In 1996, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) removed the experimental status tag on acupuncture needles. The FDA reclassified acupuncture needles, regulating them as it does medical devices such as surgical scalpels and hypodermic syringes. Acupuncture needles must now be manufactured according to single-use standards of sterility.

Does it hurt?

People experience the needling sensation differently. Most people do not describe acupuncture needles as painful, although the needle may produce an achy, dull, heavy, warm or tingling sensation. If on occasion there is a sharp or burning pain, the needle can be quickly adjusted to minimize any discomfort felt by the patient. Once the needles are inserted, they may be manipulated to obtain a mild “Qi” sensation. This is how an acupuncturist engages the energy and biochemical responses in your body in order to balance it. I take great care to make my patients very comfortable so that they can relax while the needles are in place. The more you can relax during an acupuncture treatment, the better the results. Some people even fall asleep during treatment.

Following treatment it is common to feel a sense of relaxation and calm.

Do I have to believe in it for it to work?

No. Acupuncture works whether or not you believe it will. Acupuncture is used successfully on animals and children. They do not understand or believe in the process yet they get better anyway. Of course a positive attitude helps with any type of therapy but it is not necessary to believe in acupuncture (or to “feel” it working) for it to work.

Since positive expectations and belief in a particular therapy help to increase therapeutic results, I encourage you to raise any concerns or doubts you may have about acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine. I’d like to help you to better understand acupuncture and
Traditional Chinese Medicine so that you may have the most positive healing experience possible. You are invited to contact me today, and I will personally respond to any questions or comments promptly.

How quickly can I expect to feel better?

Since each patient is unique, the answer to this question is unique for each patient. However, in general, I tell my patients they should start to feel the benefits from acupuncture in 2-3 treatments. If the problem is acute, sometimes improvement is felt after 1 treatment, and may only need 3-5 treatments to resolve. If the problem is chronic and long term, it may take many treatments to resolve.

How often should I be treated?

The treatment cycle depends on the condition being treated. For most conditions, it is therapeutically most effective to be treated 2 or 3 times per week. Once the condition is stabilized, I typically treat patients once a week, until the condition is resolved.

Does acupuncture always help?

No, nothing works for everyone, but acupuncture does work for most people. If you do not feel any benefit after 3 to 10 treatments, then acupuncture may not work for you.

What should I wear for the treatment?

Wear loose fitting clothes that can be easily rolled up above your elbows and knees.

Does insurance cover acupuncture?

Some insurance policies do cover acupuncture, it varies from policy to policy.

We accept most insurance policies that include out-of-network acupuncture reimbursement.

Please call us with your name, insurance company, member ID number, and date of birth.   We will verify your insurance coverage.