What Does Acupuncture Feel Like?
Does acupuncture hurt? The primary question I receive and the main reason keeping people from coming in to try it. The answer is, no. The process should not be painful, although some are more sensitive to the needles than others. I work at your pace, especially with the first treatment. I make sure you are comfortable throughout the whole session. After all, this is your treatment! There are different techniques that I am qualified in that enable me to make the treatment as pain free as possible.
The needles are about the size of a pore, or a couple hairs. Five to seven of my needles can fit in the very tip of a hypodermic needle, so it is nothing like getting a shot. Occasionally there is a "prick" feeling as the needle enters more sensitive skin, such as the hands, feet, or face, but this is less than the bite of a mosquito and dissipates immediately. When I gently stimulate the needles they may produce a sensation that Oriental medicine calls 'de qi'. Patients often describe de qi as a heavy, achy pressure, or spreading, traveling feeling. For me, it feels like hitting your funny bone, but in different locations on the body. You may also feel an "electrical" sensation moving down the meridian pathways, though this is less common.
Most patients find these acupuncture sensations deeply satisfying and leave the treatment feeling relaxed both mentally and physically in both mind and body. Often times I find the patient asleep on the table upon my return.
Is Acupuncture Safe?
The benefits of acupuncture are cumulative, so more then one treatment is necessary. A typical 'course' of treatment ranges anywhere between 5-15 sessions, depending on the person's constitutional factors, severity, and duration of the condition. Generally, people begin to feel relief after just the first few treatments and reassessment along the way promotes healthy recovery and adjustment of treatment guidelines.
In China, patients are treated preventatively to maintain health. When a problem or condition arises, they are treated every day consecutively until the problem goes away. This is the traditional method of treatment, with which I have had significant experience while working on the cruise ships. Because people could conveniently walk to their treatments while on vacation, their relaxed bodies are able to maintain the benefits of their frequent sessions. However, it's difficult to take time out of a busy day, while not on a cruise. I adapt treatment plans with the traditional method in mind and the reality of life on land in order to accomplish fast and efficient results. The goal is to apply the course of treatments as closely together as possible in order to get the body back in balance. Once the symptoms have subsided and health is achieved, the body is able to take over and maintain homeostasis once again. An occasional 'tune up' may be necessary depending on the condition and goals of each individual.
We tend to take better care of our vehicles (and even our pets!) than our own body. Make an appointment today and take care of you! The only thing we have for our entire life is the body we live in.
Your First Visit
Upon your first arrival into the clinic, there will of course be paperwork to fill out! There will be things you may recognize from a typical doctor's appointment, but there will also be plenty of new experiences. The acupuncture intake form includes questions about your current state of health, past illness, and family history. There will also be questions that are seemingly unrelated to your symptom or concern. Oriental medicine is a 'holistic' medicine, meaning we look at the body as a whole as opposed to the symptoms alone. Every aspect of our health and lives are interrelated. I want to make sure your symptoms and discomfort not only go away, but stay away. In order to do so, we work together to address both the root and the branch of the concern. By getting to the cause of discomfort, we treat the symptoms, even those not discussed or of your primary concern. Our bodies are complex landscapes and everything that happens to them leaves its mark.
Once the paperwork is complete, we meet one on one to discuss your condition and concerns. I will examine your pulse and tongue, two traditional diagnostic methods of Oriental medicine that provide me with the story of imbalance. I then insert the micro-fine needles into specific points along certain meridians in order to elicit the physiological response your body needs. On average, 15-20 needles are used. The most common points are located below the knees and elbows, the back or abdomen, and occasionally the head, face, or ears. Depending on the condition, a hot pack with castor oil will be applied to benefit the digestion, overall relaxation, or the area of pain. You will rest comfortably with the needles for approximately 15-30 minutes while listening to soothing music. Aromatherapy is also available. A 5-10 minute massage will be included at the end of the treatment.
Many people find acupuncture treatments deeply relaxing, and it is not uncommon for patients to fall asleep during this time.
What Can Acupuncture Treat?
Acupuncture works by activating the body's own healing powers, so it can be beneficial for many health conditions. The World Health Organization (WHO) has documented many symptoms, diseases, and conditions that have been shown in controlled clinical trials to be effectively treated with acupuncture. Below are some common conditions I can treat, but please feel free to call me about your specific health condition.
Back, neck and shoulder pain
Leg, ankle and foot pain
Arm, wrist and hand pain
Knee pain Hip pain
Carpal tunnel syndrome
Repetitive strain injuries
Jaw pain (TMJ)
Myofascial pain syndrome
Headaches and migraines Postoperative pain
Digestive Issues & Nausea
Heartburn, Acid Reflux
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Chronic loose stools or constipation
Acute and chronic gastritis
Nausea and vomiting
Mental and Emotional Wellbeing
Increased efficacy of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! It has been used for well over 3000 years to help millions of people to get well and stay healthy, without drugs and surgery. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved acupuncture needles for use by licensed practitioners in 1996. The FDA requires that acupuncturists follow strict safety guidelines and use only sterile, nontoxic needles that are labeled for single use only.
Naturally, people associate needle pain with their past experience with hypodermic needles. You can fit close to 10 acupuncture needles inside the tip of one hypodermic needle. Acupuncture needles are tiny, thin, and flexible; about the size of a cat’s whisker. Once the needles are inserted, some patients may experience a mild tingling or a sensation of fullness, along with an increased sense of relaxation. These are all quite normal and suggest that the treatment is working.
Each patient is different. The initial phase of the treatment plan is usually between 3-12 visits. The length of treatment depends on the severity of the condition, how long you’ve had it (acute versus chronic), and your unique constitutional factors or ability to heal.
As a practitioner, over 8 years of schooling is necessary. A bachelors degree is required to enter an accredited Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine school in which a 4 year Masters program is attained. I have furthered my education by obtaining my Doctorate degree in December 2017. Over 4,000 hours of schooling and clinical experience is required to graduate. National Board Certification, involving a four-part intensive exam, in addition to Clean Needle Technique courses are required to qualify for state licensure. While in practice, Continuing Education Units are mandatory to maintain and renew licensure and Board Certification while keeping up to date with knowledge and research. There are over 65 acupuncture schools and colleges in the US. Currently acupuncture is regulated in 42 states.