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Acupuncture FAQ

Frequently asked questions about acupuncture and Oriental medicine

Q: What is acupuncture?

A: Acupuncture is a method of encouraging the body to promote natural healing and to improve functioning. This is done by inserting needles and stimulating the specific points. Traditional acupuncture is a heeling art and science which teaches how to see the entire human being in body minded spirit, how to recognize the process of health and illness and how to go about the restoration of lost health in an individual.

Q: How does acupuncture work?

A: According to Oriental Medical theory, the body has 12 meridians through which energy or Qi flows. Excess, deficient or obstructed Qi causes pain and dysfunction. The meridians can be influenced by needling acupuncture points. Acupuncture unblocks the obstruction and reestablishes the regular flow through meridians. Acupuncture treatments can therefore help the internal organs to correct imbalances in their digestion, absorption and energy flow through meridians.

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

Q: What problems can be treated by acupuncture?

A: The World Health Organization has confirmed that acupuncture is effective for treating the following:

Musculoskeletal disorder, nervous system

  • Lower back pain and sciatica, hip and joint disorders
  • Frozen shoulder, tennis elbow, knee pain, sprains and strains
  • Osteoarthritis, numbness of fingers
  • Headaches, migraines
  • Partial weakness after stroke, inflammation of nerve endings

Gastrointestinal disorders

  • Digestive track problems, hiccups
  • Diarrhea, constipation

Cardiovascular disorders

  • Heart problems
  • High blood pressure

Gynecological and urological disorders

  • PMS, irregular menstruation
  • Premenstrual cramps
  • Infertility
  • Incontinence

Respiratory disorders

  • Asthma
  • Common cold and cough
  • Allergies

Acupuncture can also help treat stress, depression, chronic fatigue and insomnia.

Cosmetic acupuncture stimulates facial muscles and decreases appearance of wrinkles, promotes blood circulation, restores collagen, and improves facial complexion and vitality.

Q: How deep do needles go?

A: That depends upon the nature of the problem, the location of the points selected, patient's size, age, constitution. Usually needles are inserted from ¼ to 1 inch in depth.

Q: Does it hurt?

A: Generally, it is a safe and painless procedure. When the correct stimulus has been obtained, the patients should feel some tingling, heaviness, warming sensation either around the needle or traveling up or down the affected meridian, or energy pathway.

Q: How many treatments will I need?

A: That depends upon the duration, severity, and nature of your complaint. You may need only a single treatment for an acute condition. A series of five to fifteen treatments may resolve many chronic problems. Some degenerative conditions may require many treatments over time.

Q: Are needles clean?

A: All needles are sterilized, high quality, individually packaged, and disposable. Needles are never to be saved and reused for later treatments. This eliminates the possibility of transmitting a communicable disease by a contaminated needle.

Q: Is there anything I need to do before receiving an acupuncture treatment?

A: Yes, the following suggestions will help you get the maximum benefits from your treatment.

  1. Maintain good personal hygiene to reduce the possibility of bacterial infection.
  2. To prevent loss, do not wear jewelry.
  3. Wear loose clothing. Ideally, all the closing should be made from natural fibers. Do not have any tight fitting clothes or undergarments that will block energy flow. Women should not wear one-piece dresses. Avoid wearing tight stockings.
  4. Avoid treatment when fatigued, hungry, full, or emotionally upset.

Q: Is there anything I need to do while receiving acupuncture?

A: 1. Relax. There is no need to be frightened. Ask your practitioner any questions you have along the way, so that you can get the most benefit possible from the treatment.

2. Do not change your position or move suddenly. If you are uncomfortable tell your practitioner. If dizziness, nausea, shortness of breath occurs, let you practitioner know, so that the needles can be readjusted or withdrawn.

Q: What can I expect after the treatment?

A: Patients often experience the most dramatic results in the first treatment. Some patients experience an immediate total or partial relief of their pain or other symptoms. This relief may last or some pain may return. In a few cases, there may be no immediate relief only for a couple of days. Generally, you should expect to feel better. Since there are no contraindications or side-effects, acupuncture treatments can be given at the same time other techniques are being used, such as conventional Western medicine, osteopathic or chiropractic adjustments and medical prescriptions.