Q.  What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is one of the most commonly used therapies within the healing system known as Traditional Chinese Medicine or Oriental Medicine. This system dates back over thousands of years to its origins in China. In ancient times, China was  predominately a Taoist country. Taoism is a philosophy that looks at virtue as it primary way to achieve prosperity, longevity and immortality. It is on these basic principles that Traditional Chinese medicine evolved. Acupuncture is based on the theory that the body is a network of vital energy known as “Qi” (pronounced “chee”). This energy moves through the body along pathways known as meridians. The meridians are along the surface of the body and connect to the internal organs. A healthy body is one in which the energy is free flowing and moving effortlessly. When we experience symptoms, the body is out of balance. Acupuncture therapy is used to restore proper balance and function. Acupuncture is used after the practitioner has done a full evaluation including a pulse diagnosis, tongue diagnosis and assessment of a person’s current state of health. Chinese medicine and acupuncture help to treat the entire person, with a focus on healing the root cause and not just treatment of symptoms.

Q.  How Does Acupuncture Work?

Acupuncture works to stimulate the body’s natural healing potential. After determining your Chinese Medicine diagnosis, your practitioner will choose specific acupuncture points along the meridians to begin creating positive health changes. It has been suggested by neuropsychologists that acupuncture stimulates a healing response in the nervous system that releases our natural relaxation and pain relieving neurotransmitters. These are knows as our endorphins and enkephalins. The release of these natural healing chemicals in the body is why acupuncture has such a strong relaxation and pain relieving effect. Endorphins are also some of the natural chemicals released when we exercise, laugh and fall in love! Acupuncture feels as wonderful as all of those things! Traditional Chinese medicine says that acupuncture works to help restore the free flow of “qi” throughout the body, thus creating vital health.

Q.  What can I expect during an Initial Acupuncture Visit?

When you meet with your practitioner, they will review your health history and ask important questions about many things including your sleep, digestion, elimination and emotional wellbeing. This allows them to formulate your diagnosis according to the principles theories of Traditional Chinese medicine. This will help them to decide on the appropriate care plan for you. During this time, they will feel your wrist pulses and look at your tongue. The pulses on the wrist provide more information about the energy pathways or meridians and the tongue provides detailed information about fluid balance in your body and and about the health of your digestive and elimination systems as well as other important information about your body.
After reviewing all of this information, you will be ready to have an acupuncture treatment-the best part of the visit!

Q.  Is there anything special to do before having my acupuncture treatment?

Because you will be relaxing during your treatment, it is ideal to wear comfortable clothing. Acupuncture treatment will not be done if someone is under the influence of alcohol or recreational drugs when upon arrival at the office.
It is preferred that you don’t have acupuncture treatment done on an empty stomach. Please let your practitioner know if you haven’t been able to eat so they can provide a small snack for you. If you are having acupuncture for the first time, please feel free to ask all questions that you feel you need to so you are comfortable as the treatment begins.

Q.  Are there any restrictions after having an acupuncture treatment?

It is best to simply rest after an acupuncture treatment, however if you need to return to work or school after treatment that is just fine. You may feel slightly sleepy following your visit, so please keep this in mind if you plan to drive a long distance or use heavy machinery. It is recommended that you refrain from heavy exercise after treatment and from drinking alcohol for a few hours post treatment.

  Q.  What health issues can be treated by Acupuncture?

The National Institute of Health concluded that there is evidence to prove that acupuncture is effective for nausea and vomiting related to post operative recovery as well as chemotherapy, morning sickness and dental pain. NIH also found acupuncture to be effective for other conditions including but not limited to asthma, carpal tunnel syndrome, low back pain and fibromyalgia (generalized body pain of unspecific origin).

We have found acupuncture to also be helpful for the following health concerns:


  • Headaches
  • Acute and chronic back pain
  • Sciatica
  • Tennis/golfer’s elbow
  • Migraine
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Neck pain
  • Knee Pain
  • Shoulder Pain
  • Bell’s Palsy
  • Foot/Ankle Pain


  • Acid Reflux
  • Indigestion
  • Constipation, Diarrhea
  • Crohn’s, Colitis
  • Stomach Pain


  • Fatigue
  • Support for patients in various stages of cancer treatment
  • Smoking Cessation
  • Peripheral Neur0pathy
  • Dermatological Issues


  • Pre-menstrual issues
  • Menopausal Issues
  • Menstrual Pain
  • Cysts and Fibroids
  • Fertility support


  • Asthma
  • Cough
  • Allergies
  • Chronic Lung Diseases (Bronchitis, Pneumonia,Fibrosis)
  • Common Cold


  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Panic Attacks
  • Seasonal Affect Disorder
  • Stress Related Issues

Q. What type of needles are used for Acupuncture Treatment?

The acupuncture needles used during treatment are individually packaged, sterile needles which are single use ONLY. Needles can vary in width and length. Your practitioner will decide on what needles will be best to achieve the best benefits for your care. Acupuncture is a very comfortable therapy so there is no need to be concerned about the needles. The needles are gently inserted into the surface of the skin and not into veins or arteries. Many patients say that they don’t feel the needles at all during treatment!

Q. How will I feel during an acupuncture treatment?

Some people describe a slight soreness, achy feeling or mild pin prick sensation during the insertion of an acupuncture needle,  however most people report that they don’t feel much sensation at all. During your treatment, the acupuncture needles remain in place so you can feel the full relaxation benefits. People say that they feel relaxed, sleepy, heavy and even a sensation of floating. This is because the body is being flooded with the endorphins (relaxation or “feel good” chemicals) and enkephalins (pain relieving chemicals). Many patients fall asleep during this time of treatment. There are no negative side effects after treatment. The most common side effects reported after treatment are relaxation and improved mood and energy.

Q. What other therapies might be used during an acupuncture treatment?

Your practitioner may choose to add other modalities to your treatment to enhance the results. These can be electrical stimulation (E-stim), Cupping therapy, Gwa Sha therapy, Auricular (ear) acupuncture, tui na techniques, and moxibustion therapy.  Visit our services page to learn more about these treatments.

Q. When are Traditional Chinese Herbal Remedies used in treatment and are they safe?

Practitioners who are trained in herbal remedies choose to add them to a care plan when they feel it will enhance treatment results. After your practitioner has evaluated your current health, they will decide on the best care plan for you .This plan usually includes acupuncture and may also include herbal remedies, dietary support recommendations, lifestyle recommendations and other important suggestions.

In classic Chinese medicine, herbs are commonly taken in what is known as a decoction. This means the raw herbs are boiled in water, strained and drank by the patient. While this is the most traditional way to take them, it is time consuming and most people don’t like the taste. This is why most herbs are now taken in what is known as “patent” or prepared versions. This is allows for convenience, no taste issues, good compliance and great results!

These remedies are manufactured in the United States according to GMP standards. These are “Good Manufacturing Procedures” which is the level of the standard for pharmaceutical medications. This means that they are quality assured and manufactured safely under strict guidelines.

While herbal therapies are typically made from natural ingredients, this doesn’t mean they are always right for you, so you should discuss this with your acupuncturist during your care.
There is a long history related to the use of traditional herbal formulas and many of the original formulas have been modified for safe use in our modern world to address current health conditions. Most of the formulas are made with plant based ingredients using different parts of the plants (seeds, root, bark, flowers,leaves, etc), and some include animal ingredients or shells. Your practitioner will review all of that information with you if herbal remedies are suggested.