Q: What to expect at the first acupuncture visit:

A: Before the initial appointment, you will be asked to complete a health history. The acupuncturist begins the visit by asking you about your health concerns, diet, sleep, stress level, and other lifestyle habits. You may be asked about your emotions, appetite, food likes and dislikes, and response to changes in temperature and seasons.

During your visit, the acupuncturist will examine your appearance carefully, noting your complexion, voice, and tongue color and coating. He or she will take your pulse at three points on each wrist, noting the strength, quality, and rhythm. In Chinese medicine, the tongue and pulses are considered to reflect the health of your organ systems and meridians.

Typically, acupuncture will use anywhere from six to more than 20 tiny needles per treatment (the number of needles doesn't indicate the intensity of the treatment). The needles are often left in for 10 to 20 minutes. The acupuncturist may gently twist the needles for added effect.

Additional techniques during your session including:

  • Cupping: Glass or silicone cups are applied to the skin so that there is a suction effect. In Traditional Chinese Medicine theory, cupping is used to relieve the stagnation of qi and blood.

  • Herbs: Chinese herbs may be given in the form of teas, pills, and capsules.

  • Guasha: The use of a stainless steel manual therapy tool which breaks up scar tissue and reduces adhesions.

  • Electroacupuncture: An electrical device is connected to two to four acupuncture needles, providing a weak electrical current that stimulates the acupuncture needles during the treatment.

Q: Do the acupuncture needles hurt?

Most clients report that there isn't any discomfort with acupuncture but you may feel a slight sting, pinch, ache, or some pain as the acupuncture needle is being inserted. Sometimes the needle is manipulated after it has been placed in the body, by twirling or rotating the needle, moving it up and down, or using a machine with a small electric pulse or current. 

If you experience pain, numbness, or discomfort during the treatment, you should notify your acupuncturist.

Q: How does acupuncture work?

Very thin, single-use sterile needles are inserted into acupuncture points or areas of pain. This gives the brain a bit of direction on where to initiate various mechanisms inside the body, such as reducing muscular tension, helping remove toxins, boosting the immune system, releasing natural pain killers within the body, helping the brain to release serotonin, helping enzyme and hormonal reactions.

Q: When is acupuncture indicated?

Acupuncture is successful in treating migraines and headache, muscular injuries in the neck cause by whiplash, jaw pain (TMJ), sciatica caused by muscular impingement, muscular back and hip pain, tendonitis, arm pain such as tennis or golfers elbow, rotator cuff injuries of the shoulder, foot pain such as mild sprains and strains and fallen arches, wrist pain and hand pain such as carpal tunnel and overuse. 

Acupuncture can also be helpful with digestive issues, depression, anxiety, stress reduction and insomnia, fertility support, menstral pain, morning sickness and pre and post-delivery recovery.