Q&A: General

What is acupuncture?

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


How does acupuncture work?

Acupuncture’s therapeutic effect derives from where on the body the acupuncture needles are placed. There are numerous acupuncture points on the body that have all kinds of uses. Performing acupuncture requires a deep knowledge of anatomy both in terms of what might be called the material (bones, organs, nerves, arteries, veins, etc.) and the immaterial (the acupuncture channels upon which many of the acupuncture points are located). The theory and practice of acupuncture reflect the interconnectedness not only of the body as a whole, but of body and mind. This explains why an acupuncture point on the foot may 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. The fundamental principle of acupuncture is that the interior manifests on the exterior, such that a needle on the body’s surface can effect changes deeper within the body.


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.


Are the acupuncture needles reused?

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


What should I wear for my acupuncture treatment?

It is best to wear loose-fitting clothing with easy access to the forearms (below the elbow) and legs (below the knee). For private treatments, it is possible that you will have to remove some clothing.


How long should I plan on spending at the clinic for my acupuncture treatment?

  • Community acupuncture, first visit: at least 50 minutes after the start of your appointment
  • Community acupuncture, return visit: at least 40 minutes after the start of your appointment
  • Private acupuncture, first or return visit: up to an hour after the start of your appointment

Do I need to arrive early to fill out paperwork if it is my first visit?

No. The duration of your appointment slot includes the amount of time it will take you to fill out paperwork.


Is there anything I can do before/during/after my acupuncture treatment to maximize its effectiveness?

  • Before – It is a good idea to have some food in your stomach.
  • During – Your only job is to lie still and let the needles do their work!
  • After – Make sure to drink plenty of water and take it easy. Additionally, allow yourself time to process any sensations, emotions, thoughts, memories, and other reactions that acupuncture may bring into your awareness.

What can acupuncture treat?

In short, acupuncture can treat anything! However, it may or may not be effective for certain cases or conditions and it is not recommended as emergency care. Here is a non-exhaustive list of conditions commonly treated with acupuncture:

  • Pain
  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Addiction
  • Digestive issues
  • Allergies
  • Infertility (male and female)
  • Premenstrual, menstrual, menopausal, and post-menopausal symptoms

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.


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.


Will insurance cover my acupuncture treatment?

While we do not take insurance because we do our best to keep our prices affordable, upon request we can provide you with a superbill that you can submit to see if your insurance plan will cover your treatment. Additionally, we do accept HSA (Health Savings Account) cards.