What is Acupuncture and Eastern Medicine?

Eastern Medicine has been practiced for more than 2,000 years and includes acupuncture, herbal medicine, moxibustion, tui Na massage, and nutrition. It is a system of medicine that categorizes body patterns into specific types of diagnoses with corresponding treatment plans. It has gained worldwide acceptance and recognition as an effective medical treatment. Over 15 million Americans have turned to it, making it the complementary treatment of choice for Americans everywhere.

Acupuncture, or “needle therapy” (zhenjiu) as it is called in Chinese, is an ancient form of medicine which is gaining more  popularity in this country for the treatment of acute and chronic pain. During a treatment, solid, hair thin needles are inserted at specific points on the body. In Eastern Medicine these points are called “neural nodes” (jie) and the stimulation of these nodes affects both the central and peripheral nervous systems. It triggers the release of the body’s internal chemicals such as endorphins and enkephalins, which have pain-relieving properties.

Will it hurt?

Acupuncture needles are extremely thin made from silver alloy typically stainless steel. You may feel little or no sensations with needle insertion. People often comment that the feeling is unfamiliar but pleasant and comforting.

Is it safe?

Yes, acupuncture is extremely safe when performed by a certified acupuncturist.  The needles are FDA approved, individually packaged, pre-sterilized and disposed after a single use.

What should I expect from my first treatment?

Your first appointment will be 1½ to 2 hours, the initial intake covers your main complaints, medical history, nutritional habits, pulse and tongue diagnosis. Usually a treatment is given, unless you require emergent care. Wearing comfortable and loose fitted clothing and eating before your treatment is best.

After the treatment has been administered, depending on the ailment being treated, many experiences may occur. Immediate, total or partial relief from pain or other symptoms may be experienced. Some people experience a sudden burst of energy, while others may feel relaxed and calm. Small localized bruises from minor bleeding under the skin are infrequent, but do occur. These are no cause for alarm and despite the cosmetic inconvenience, they actually provide a kind of bonus treatment. The re-absorption of the blood continues the stimulation of the acupuncture point even without the needle in place.

How long do the treatments take?

In most situations, treatments take between 20 and 30 minutes but can last longer in certain scenarios. The length of the treatment depends on the individual conditions of the patient and the skill of the acupuncturist. Be aware that on some days, visits may take longer due to the number of patients being treated.

How does acupuncture work?

According to the principles of Traditional Eastern Medicine, energy flows through the body via 12 primary meridians and 8 extra channels. To strengthen the flow of energy, or remove blockages in the meridians, acupuncturists insert a few disposable tiny, sterile, flexible needles just under the skin at certain specific points (called acupoints) along these channels. These acupoints are associated with specific body function; and when stimulated, they trigger the immunity system to provide almost instantaneous pain relief and cessation of symptoms ailing the patient. For example, if you are suffering from migraines, a few carefully selected points might be stimulated on your ear, scalp, hands, feet, wrist or ankle. TCM practitioners believe that acupuncture stimulates the body’s internal regulatory system to nurture a natural healing response without having to directly treat the site of injury.

How many treatments will I need?

Since every person is unique in their own condition, the numbers of treatments will vary. The nature, severity, and history of each person's problem, will determine the numbers of treatments.

Will it conflict with my other medications?

Acupuncture will not conflict with any of your medications. Acupuncture is used to complement and supplement your physician's treatments, NOT TO REPLACE THEM! You should discuss this issue with your physician and acupuncturist.

Are the needles clean?

Acupuncture needles are FDA approved. These needles are pre-sterilized and individually wrapped. After the needles are used, they are disposed.

What are the differences between acupuncture and dry needling?

Although both practices use thin needles for therapeutic purposes, there are a lot of differences between the two therapies.  Dry needling primary goal is to relieve muscle pain by inserting thin needles into pressure points or trigger points, knots in the muscles, which elicits a “twitch response” in the muscles.

Due to the lack of regulation and guidelines, therapists can perform dry needling with minimal training and license.

Acupuncture involves the insertion of thin needles through your skin at strategic points on your body. A key component of Traditional Chinese Medicine, acupuncture is most commonly used to treat pain. Increasingly, it is being used for overall wellness, including stress management.

Traditional Chinese Medicine explains acupuncture as a technique for balancing the flow of energy or Qi through pathways (meridians) in your body. By inserting needles into specific points along these meridians, acupuncture practitioners believe that your energy flow will re-balance.

Acupuncture is performed by licensed acupuncturists and many states require the passing of national board certification exams and a state license.