Skip Navigation

What Is It?

Acupuncture is a method of encouraging the body to promote natural healing and improve functioning.  This is done be inserting needles and applying heat or electric stimulation at very precise acupuncture points.

How Does Acupuncture Work?

The classical Chinese explanation is that channels of energy run in regular paths through the body and over its surface.  These energy channels, called meridians are like rivers flowing through the body to irrigate and nourish the tissues.  An obstruction of movement of these energy channels like a dam that backs up a river

Needling the acupuncture points can influence the meridians.  The acupuncture needles unblock the obstructions at the dam, and reestablish the regular flow of the meridian channels.  Acupuncture treatments can help the body’s internal organs to correct imbalances in their digestion, absorption, and energy production activities, and the circulation of their energy through the meridians.

The modern scientific explanation is that needling the acupuncture points stimulates the nervous system to release chemicals in the muscles, spinal cord, and brain. These chemicals will either change the experience of pain, or they will trigger the release of other chemicals and hormones that influence the body’s own internal regulating system.

The improved energy and chemical balance produced by acupuncture results in stimulating the body’s natural healing abilities, and in promoting physical and emotional well-being.

How many treatments will I need?

The number of treatments needed differs from person to person. The doctor will discuss this with you at your first visit.

Are there any side effects to the treatment?

Usually not.  As energy is redirected in the body, internal chemicals and hormones are stimulated and healing begins to take place.  Occasionally, the original symptoms worsen for a few days, or other general changes in appetite, sleep, bowel or urination patterns, or emotional state may be triggered.  These should not cause concern, as they are simply indications that the acupuncture is starting to work.  It is quite common with the first one or two treatments to have a sensation of deep relaxation or mild disorientation immediately following the treatment.  These sensations pass within a short time, never requiring anything more the a bit of rest to overcome.

What are the needles like?  Do they hurt?

Acupuncture needles are very thin and solid made of stainless steel.  The point is smooth and the insertion through the skin is not as painful as with injections or blood drawing.  People experience needling differently.  Most people feel only minimal pain as the needle is inserted some feel no pain.  Once the needles are in there is no pain.  The risk of bruising and skin irritation is less than with regular needles.

Are there any do’s and don’ts for me on the day of treatment?

To enhance the value of a treatment, the following guidelines are important:

  • Don’t eat an unusually large meal immediately before or after treatment.
  • Don’t over exercise, engage in sexual activity, or consume alcoholic beverages within 6 hours before or after treatment.
  • Plan your activities so that after your treatment you can get some rest or at least not have to be working at top performance.  This is especially important for the first few visits.
  • Continue to take any prescription medications as directed by your regular doctor. Substance abuse (drugs or alcohol) will interfere with the effectiveness of acupuncture treatments.
  • Remember to keep good mental or written notes of your response to treatment. This is important for the doctor to know so that follow-up treatments can be designed for maximum effect.

Is acupuncture covered by insurance?

Some insurances currently cover acupuncture.  You should check with your insurance company to make sure.  If acupuncture is not covered by your insurance plan, arrangements can be made for you to self-pay.