Frequently Asked Questions

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What are the needles like?

Only sterile, disposable needles are used so there is no risk of infection. We use a needle once, then dispose of it.

Acupuncture needles are small and hair-thin. They are solid, not hollow like the needles used by doctors to give injections. It is because they are solid and so thin that they are usually painless.

US FDA Regulation of Acupuncture Needles

In 1996, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) removed the experimental status tag on acupuncture needles. The FDA reclassified acupuncture needles, regulating them as it does medical devices such as surgical scalpels and hypodermic syringes. Acupuncture needles must now be manufactured according to single-use standards of sterility.

Does it hurt?

No. Acupuncture needles are much thinner than the hypodermic needles used by doctors. When inserted by a trained professional they should not cause pain. Most patients are surprised to find that an acupuncture treatment is extremely relaxing, and that it is very common for a patient to fall asleep during treatment.

Following treatment it is common to feel a tremendous sense of relaxation and calm.

Do I have to believe in it for it to work?

No. Acupuncture works whether or not you think it will. Acupuncture is even used successfully on animals and children. They do not understand or believe in the process yet they get better anyway. A positive attitude helps with any type of therapy but it is not necessary to believe in acupuncture (or to feel it working) for it to work.

Since positive expectations and belief in a particular therapy help to increase therapeutic results, I encourage you to raise any concerns or doubts you may have about acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine. I’d like to help you to better understand acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine so that you may have the most positive healing experience possible. You are invited to contact me today, and I will personally respond to any questions or comments promptly.

Do you use herbs?

Yes, Chinese Herbal Medicine plays a significant role in our practice. Whereas some conditions respond better to acupuncture and some to herbal treatment, we find that many conditions respond best to a combination of both acupuncture and herbs. Patients are obviously never “required” to take herbs as part of their treatment plan.

How do herbs differ from western medicine?

Chinese herbal formulas tend to be much gentler than western medicines, and work to not only help relieve symptoms, but to help return the body to balance and equilibrium, so that herbs will not be needed further. That is why we often modify the herbs as treatment continues, since the body starts to shift towards being healthier, and therefore the herbs are modified to meet the changing needs of the body.

Can I take Chinese herbs when I am on medication?

It depends on the medications you are taking. This would have to be evaluated on a case by case basis.

How quickly can I expect to feel better?

In general, I tell my patients they should start to feel the benefits from acupuncture in 2-3 treatments. If the problem is acute, sometimes improvement is felt after 1 treatment, and may only need 3-5 treatments to resolve. If the problem is chronic and long term, it may take a many treatments to help resolve.

How often should I be treated?

Typically I treat patients once a week. If the condition is acute and painful, I may want to do treatments 2-3 times per week for the first couple of weeks. The benefits of acupuncture treatments tend to hold longer as you receive treatments, so what typically happens is that my patients start to need to see me less and less, so after a while they only come only periodically for maintenance.

Does acupuncture always help?

No, but it usually does. If you do not feel any benefit after 3-5 treatments, then acupuncture may not work for you.

What should I wear for the treatment?

Just wear loose fitting clothes that can be easily rolled up above your elbows and knees.

Does insurance cover acupuncture?

Some insurance does. You need to check with your insurance plan. I will give you a receipt (called a superbill) and you can submit to your insurance company for reimbusement.