Q&A: General

What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is the insertion of solid, sterile, single-use, very thin needles into various points on the body.


How does acupuncture work?

The fundamental principle of acupuncture is that the interior manifests on the exterior, such that a needle that barely penetrates the body’s surface can effect changes deeper within the body. There are many acupuncture points on the body that have specific uses depending on where they are located. Many are located on acupuncture channels that have been likened to airplane travel routes in that they exist on a map but cannot be seen. However, these channels are located with reference to “channels” of the body that can be seen, such as veins, arteries, nerves, bones, and muscles. Acupuncture reflects the interconnectedness not only of the body as a whole, but of body and mind. This explains why an acupuncture point on the foot can be used to treat an issue in the back, and why a needle in the body can treat issues implicating the mind, such as anxiety or stress.


Does acupuncture hurt?

You may feel a mild “poke” sensation when an acupuncture needle goes in, but it should go away quickly. Once the needles are in, it is normal if you feel some sensation as long as it is not uncomfortable. It is also normal if you forget that the needles are even there! If any uncomfortable sensations persist, however, let your acupuncturist know.


What if I’m afraid of needles? Can I still have acupuncture?

Of course! If you are needle-phobic, you may want to consider trying acupuncture in our community setting so that you can bring a friend to get poked along with you, although we do our best to make both of our treatment settings as comfortable as possible.


Are there any side effects?

The most common “side effect” of acupuncture is relaxation! Acupuncture is thought to activate opioid receptors, which induces a feeling of calm. Bruising is also possible, but harmless.


How many acupuncture needles are used?

While the number of acupuncture needles used depends on the condition(s) being treated, a typical acupuncture treatment involves 10-20 needles. Cosmetic/facial rejuvenation acupuncture requires an additional 10-20 needles, again depending on the issue(s) being treated.


Are the acupuncture needles reused?

No. They go straight into a biohazard container after a single use.


What can acupuncture treat?

Acupuncture can treat a number of non-urgent conditions. Here is a non-exhaustive list of common reasons for seeking acupuncture:

  • Pain, including due to fibromyalgia
  • Neuropathy (nerve pain)
  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Addiction
  • Digestive issues, including irritable bowel syndrome
  • Allergies
  • Infertility (male and female)
  • IVF (in vitro fertilization) transfer
  • Premenstrual, menstrual, menopausal, and post-menopausal symptoms
  • Scars
  • Wrinkles and sagging skin

Can I have acupuncture when I’m pregnant?

Yes! In fact, acupuncture can treat issues related to pregnancy such as morning sickness, breech baby, and delayed labor. However, the cosmetic add-on may not be appropriate during pregnancy.


If I have back pain, can I still have an acupuncture treatment in the community setting even though sitting in a recliner chair may render the area of pain inaccessible to the acupuncturist for needling?

Yes! There are many acupuncture points to treat back pain that are not located on the back.


If I have had an acupuncture treatment in one of the settings (community or private) and I want to try the other setting, do I schedule an appointment for a first visit or a return visit?

First visit. The first visit price accounts for a filing fee for the forms you fill out, which are specific to each setting.


Are there any therapeutic mechanisms specific to cosmetic/facial rejuvenation acupuncture?

Yes. While facial muscles gradually shorten and straighten with age due to increased resting muscle tone, cosmetic/facial rejuvenation acupuncture can restore facial muscle tone, relaxing facial muscles. This gives it a distinct advantage over more superficial cosmetic techniques such as microneedling, which do not influence tissue beyond the skin. It may also protect the skin from ultraviolet radiation damage due to sun exposure, decrease wrinkle formation, reduce the loss of thickness in the outermost layer of the skin, and reduce degradation of collagen fibers in the skin.


When should I consider seeking an alternative to cosmetic/facial rejuvenation acupuncture?

Cosmetic/facial rejuvenation acupuncture may not be suitable for you if…

  • You are pregnant
  • You experience vertigo or dizziness
  • You experience severe migraines or headaches
  • You have open sores or areas of inflammation on your face or neck
  • You have hemophilia (a genetic bleeding disorder)
  • You bruise easily
  • You have inflammation from a recent cosmetic procedure such as dermal abrasion (wait until the skin has fully healed)
  • You have a pacemaker (a device that regulates your heartbeat)
  • You become fatigued easily
  • You are taking blood-thinning medications (such as warfarin/Coumadin)