Common Questions About Acupuncture

Simply click on any of the individual questions below to reveal their answers.

What exactly is acupuncture?

pic-faq3Acupuncture has been around for literally thousands of years. Evidence of its practice can be seen in caves with ancient carvings in China dating back 5,000 years.
Modern acupuncture (an early version of the small disposable single use needles we use today) has been around since the 19th century.

Acupuncture practitioners use thin, sterile disposable needles inserted superficially into specific areas of the body in order to initiate healing and promote health. These specific points help to create a more energetic balance in the body. This energetic balance helps to stop pain, decrease anxiety and depression, lessen headaches, calm abdominal cramping, bloating, pain, diarrhea and constipation, increase joint mobility, and increase blood circulation in the body.

We can treat all these things because everyone has energy flowing through them in particular patterns which we call meridians. These meridians often experience energetic disturbances in more than one place along the meridians which explains why we acupuncturists consider a temple headache and hip pain to be the same problem.

In this case, the problem is energy stagnation in the “shao yang” meridian. That meridian flows along the sides of the body and so pain and discomfort along the sides of the body (temples and hips) are natural outflows of that disturbance. Acupuncture taps into meridian energy and manipulates its flow so that its energy flows more smoothly. Smooth energy flows equals less pain.

Western science is still looking for why it is that acupuncture works. There are many theories out there but none that is entirely satisfactory. However, it is not so common for Western science researchers to question whether it works anymore since there are so many studies that show its efficacy.

It is indeed a curiosity to even us acupuncturists. All good “healers” be they from medical school, chiropractor school or acupuncture school embrace and feel humbled by the phenomenal nature of healing.

Over the three decades or so in which acupuncture has developed in the U.S., it has been proven to be safe and effective at treating many conditions. Many television personalities (like Dr. Oz) and celebrities have taken to acupuncture for their physical and mental ailments. And so we offer its prospects for healing to you.

What can acupuncture be used to treat?

Health problems we treat every day at One World Acupuncture:

  • Sciatica
  • Lower back pain
  • Upper back/shoulders/neck pain
  • Pain in the thumb joints
  • Vertigo/dizziness
  • Migraines/headaches
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Poor circulation like Raynaud’s
  • Symptoms of diabetes
  • Elbow tendonitis
  • Auto immune disease symptoms
  • Hypothyroid
  • Adrenal fatigue/exhaustion
  • Fibromyalgia/Chronic fatigue
  • Side effects of chemotherapy
  • Weight loss
  • Addictions like alcohol, drugs, tobacco, food
  • Chronic and seasonal allergies
  • Fertility
  • Depression and Anxiety
  • Cold and flu symptoms
  • Sinusitis
  • Asthma and bronchitis
  • GERD or acid reflux

The World Health Organization lists these conditions on their website that are successfully treated using acupuncture:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Hyperacidity
  • IBS
  • Indigestion
  • Anxiety/nervousness
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Cancer treatment symptoms
  • Poor vision
  • Tinnitis/ear pain
  • Toothache
  • Infertility
  • Menopausal symptoms
  • Premenstrual syndrome
  • Blood pressure regulation
  • Poor Immune system
  • Stress reduction
  • Arthritis/joint pain
  • Back/neck pain
  • Muscle cramping/pain
  • Sciatica
  • Headaches
  • Migraines
  • Neurogenic bladder dysfunction
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Postoperative pain
  • Stroke
  • Asthma
  • Bronchitis
  • Common cold
  • Sinusitis
  • Tonsillitis

 

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

pic-faq1You do not have to believe in acupuncture in order for it to work. We have treated many skeptics successfully. However, approaching anything with an open mind and a positive spirit will improve prognosis, no matter what treatment you try.

Acupuncture’s function in treatment is not well understood, though many theories exist. Those who research the science of acupuncture will find a way to explain how it works (stimulation of neuro-receptors, for example) but that is just part of the picture. We think of acupuncture as stimulating the overall energy of the body to help it function smoothly. This energetic stimulation works to bring your body back into a natural balance. This has been proven to work, whether your therapeutic need is pain reduction, detoxification, fertility enhancement, and countless other conditions.

Does acupuncture hurt? I'm afraid of needles.

Mostly it does not hurt at all, if you feel anything it may feel like a mild bug bite which quickly subsides. It is natural for most people to fear needles. However, acupuncture needles are very thin and are not painful. We have never once had a patient discontinue treatment because it was too painful.

What happens during an initial visit?

Initial appointment:
General information you may want to know before you come:

  • If you are not able to do so in advance, please come 10 minutes early to your appointment and we will happily have you fill them out then.
  • Wear loose clothing so we can get to a couple of inches above your elbows and knees. Occasionally you may be asked to wear a tank top.
  • Please do not come into the clinic hungry. It is not good policy to get acupuncture on an empty stomach because it can make you feel woozy. We do sell power bars for $1 should you find yourself on an empty stomach and running late.
  • The clinic is warm but some of you run very, very cold so let us know and we will do our best to make you as comfortable as possible keeping in mind that some people’s body temperatures run very hot. We will spot direct heat and provide lots of blankets!
  • Some people bring their own blankets and pillows. We love this idea; less laundry for us. But we have pillows and blankets onsite so no need to worry if you forget.
  • Try to arrive a bit early for your appointment so you can find the pillows and blankets you need to stay comfortable.
  • Plan to be at our clinic for an hour or more for the first visit. It may take a few extra minutes for us to get you seated, answer your questions, and get you treated. Try not to be hurried for the first time; you may be too distracted to absorb what is going on if you have never tried acupuncture.

The Treatment:

  • The initial intake is usually quite brief and will take place in the community room. We are very discreet in our discussions by keeping our voices very low but if you are feeling vulnerable expressing yourself in front of others, let the acupuncturist know and she will take you to her office to speak in private for a couple of minutes.
  • It is a friendly clinic space and sometimes people do not regulate their voices so well generally because they can’t hear so well. And some people will snore; they get so relaxed it just happens! Please try to be patient and if you are noise sensitive, bring headphones or ear plugs with you to block out the noise.
  • The treatment will last anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour for the first visit. Most people fall asleep or fall into a kind of treatment induced meditation (so wonderful if this happens to you) but some folks stay wide awake. You can read if you like but the needles will most likely fall out when you turn the pages so it’s better if you can bring music or audio tapes to listen to on your MP3 player or smart phone.
  • Acupuncture can induce all kinds of sensory experiences. Some people will get cold while others will feel warm. Some people will feel one or two of the needles humming; this is normal. Some people claim to see colors and shapes and that seems to feel relaxing. If you get any sharp sensations, let the staff know and we will discuss that sensation because it may be a needle placement issue or it may be a therapeutic response (which can be a really good thing).
  • Usually we remove the treatment needles when it looks like someone is ready to leave; swaying their feet or looking around the room. You are responsible for picking up after yourself; put back pillows and blankets and toss the towels into the hamper.
  • If a needle has fallen off, it may be in the blanket so please hand the blanket to the acupuncturist or the front desk person for inspection.

Make sure you know what your treatment recommendation is and follow it for best results. The front desk staff can schedule your follow-up appointments for you.

What happens during a typical follow-up treatment?

Follow-Up Acupuncture Appointments

  • Please sign-in at the front desk.
  • After paying for the visit and scheduling future visits (if needed) our patients make themselves comfortable in a recliner of their choice.
  • Our patients choose their own blankets and pillows to increase their comfort as needed.
  • After a brief conversation between patient and practitioner, we begin the treatment. Occasionally we will take pulse and look at your tongue to help with diagnosis.
  • Depending on a variety of factors, a specific point prescription is selected.
  • Typically after this time, people feel very sleepy and may nap for a while.
  • Treatments last between 30-45 minutes unless more time is requested by you.
What are your course of treatment guidelines?

Sometimes for the first 2-5 treatments, you might feel appreciably better or maybe pain/discomfort feels much better then it returns. This is a normal response. Over time, (that time varies; usually 10-20 treatments), the pain/discomfort will be much improved. If you have a list of health issues to resolve, maybe one or two of those issues will either go away or diminish. Continue treatment.

If the pain is chronic, you will get relief, but it may go slowly; acupuncture can work well for pain management. Just one thing in a person’s toolbox they use to manage pain so that you can have more good days. Acupuncture helps to decrease the amount of medications used to manage your pain. It will likely diminish some of the anxiety/depression that accompanies pain (which of course creates its own vicious cycle of suffering).

If your condition is acute, it may take less time but treatments need to be scheduled close together. Usually the worst of acute conditions are relieved within 10 treatments. Acute injuries are usually things like someone “throwing your back out at work,” breaking or spraining a joint, fell down steps, tripped over the lawn mower, or woke up in the middle of night with pain shooting down leg . The acute aspect is that the symptoms started within a month or so of coming in for treatment.

Another category of folks getting treated at our clinic are conditions related to stress/anxiety or repetitive injury related to work or caring for someone else. These health issues involve the joints, muscles, tendons, fascia or some combination of these tissues. These are the kinds of injuries that go away when the person isn’t doing the thing that is causing the aggravation. This aggravation can also be psychological in nature i.e. disliking a job or a person at your job or some other kind of psychological distress. Treatment for these kinds of issues, it is recommended that you come in 2 times per week until the pain is 50% resolved then treatment is dropped to once a week until 80% better than once every other week and then as needed if the problem rears its head again.

Acupuncture for treatment of issues like weight loss, stop smoking or alcohol/ drug detoxing work best when the treatment is 2 times a week for 6-10 weeks.

Internal medicine (we include autoimmune, viral and endocrine issues) like hypothyroid, adrenal fatigue/exhaustion, GERD, IBS, diabetes, constipation, diarrhea, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, allergies, Raynaud’s, Crohn’s disease, colitis, asthma, vertigo, dizziness are often chronic and may need some time to heal. We usually start people 2-3 times per week and then work down to every other week. Vertigo/dizziness usually (but not always) takes less time than the others to heal.

Shingles is a condition that can be very painful and its treatment course will be more frequent for those who have a lot of pain and less frequent for those whose case is relatively mild.
Hot flashes/night sweats and other menopausal symptoms are treated 2 times per week for 4-8 weeks. Symptoms start to improve after the second or third week. Very occasionally we will recommend an herbal supplement to aid in a speedy recovery.

Side effects of chemotherapy/radiation/surgery for cancer treatments are 2 times per week. Long term effects of these treatments can be helped with acupuncture but the treatments can take a few months to provide significant improvement.

Does acupuncture interfere with my medications?

You can take your medications and still receive acupuncture; it is not a contraindication in the way that a nutritional or herbal supplement might.

What can I expect to feel during my acupuncture treatment?

Many folks ask us what they can expect to feel during acupuncture. Below is a list of the following feeling, sensations or states of being that are commonly reported in our clinic:

  • Many people feel sleepy during treatment and they take what we affectionately call an “Acu-nap.” This surprises some people who are not in the habit of napping in a room with a bunch of strangers. Oddly to them, most everyone who experiences this end up liking this experience very much.
  • Some folks just are not able or willing to nap. This will have no bearing on the success of the treatment. Being sleepy just helps pass the time since a treatment will last anywhere from 30-60 minutes.
  • Some people get sensations somewhere in their body. It can be heat, cold, movement and sometimes a discomfort that is dull, burning or occasionally sharp. Most times this is not of concern; as a matter of fact, it is often the sign of a good treatment.
  • Some people’s nose will be itchy or even sneeze. This is most times a sign of a good treatment.
  • Some people will start to get very cold, even if their normal body temperature runs hot. This is the sign of a good treatment. We will try to make you more comfortable with blankets. We are particularly vigilant with those folks who suffer from Raynaud’s.
  • A really nice experience is that akin to meditation or prayer. Some folks come into a space that is neither sleep nor being fully awake. They report being aware of what is going on, can hear voices and noises but do not feel compelled to investigate the sources of the noise. Lucky if this happens to you since it is most beneficial.
  • Rarely (and I do promise this to be rare) people –especially those who have experienced extreme trauma from some kind of abuse or neglect or have a morbid fear of pins- will find acupuncture to be unpleasant at first. For this subset of folks, if they agree to continue, do best when the treatments are short at first; 10-20 minutes at the most. After being acclimated, it is not unusual for these folks to have a good response.
How can I expect to feel after my acupuncture session?
  • Acupuncture sometimes works right away; sometimes it can take a few hours, sometimes a few treatments. It is normal to feel nothing after the treatment which can be disappointing especially if you have heard glowing stories about how well (some people use the word miraculous) it can work. Not to worry, it just takes a bit of patience. Everyone responds at a different rate but you can expect an improvement within 5-10 treatments, occasionally it takes longer (that is most common with those who have chronic, difficult to treat problems like psoriasis for example).
  • Please try to stick to your treatment regimen. We price the treatments on the more affordable end of pricing to make it easier for you. It is the nature of us humans to be impatient so if you are the type who has trouble sticking with treatments, we sympathize. However, we also have seen so many people improve their mind, body and spirit by just “sticking to the program” and we want you to have that same experience. “Come because of pain; stay for the relaxation” as one patient so eloquently put it.
  • Some of your treatment durations will be short; 1-10 treatments for your sore elbow or knee pain. Most will take 10-20 treatments for sciatica you’ve had for 8months or for menstrual cramping pain. Others –if they choose- will be with us for longer. These are the cases of pain/symptom management. Lifelong depression and anxiety; post-chemotherapy neuropathy; diabetes complications; you have long lists of medications and symptoms which cause pain and restricted movement; or they come once a week to stay healthy and happy.
Can I workout after acupuncture?

Yes you can work out. The question to ask may be, “Do I feel like working out?” Acupuncture can make some people feel sleepy after treatment at a time when they don’t want to feel that way. In the work of finding your balance for health, your body may take a turn that your mind doesn’t want. We recommend that you just give yourself a break and if after your first couple treatments your body feels like relaxing; just let yourself relax. This feeling of acupuncture induced fatigue will pass.

Some people get energized after acupuncture and that’s great for you. We do recommend that you not work yourself too hard physically after the first treatment so that you can observe what is happening in your body. In time, acupuncture treatments will just feel like a natural part of your life so that your body will fall naturally into a work out rhythm that works best for you.

What results can I expect from my acupuncture treatments?
  • pic-faq4Sometimes for the first 2-5 treatments, you might feel appreciably better or maybe pain/discomfort feels much better then it returns. This is a normal response. Over time, (that time varies; usually 10-20 treatments), the pain/discomfort will be much improved. If you have a list of health issues to resolve, maybe one or two of those issues will either go away or diminish. Continue treatment.
  • If the pain is chronic, you will get relief, but it may go slowly; acupuncture can work well for pain management. Just one thing in a person’s toolbox they use to manage pain so that you can have more good days. Acupuncture helps to decrease the amount of medications used to manage your pain. It will likely diminish some of the anxiety/depression that accompanies pain (which of course creates its own vicious cycle of suffering).
  • If your condition is acute, it may take less time but treatments need to be scheduled close together. Usually the worst of acute conditions are relieved within 10 treatments. Acute injuries are usually things like someone “throwing your back out at work,” breaking or spraining a joint, fell down steps, tripped over the lawn mower, or woke up in the middle of night with pain shooting down leg . The acute aspect is that the symptoms started within a month or so of coming in for treatment.
  • Another category of folks getting treated at our clinic are conditions related to stress/anxiety or repetitive injury related to work or caring for someone else. These health issues involve the joints, muscles, tendons, fascia or some combination of these tissues. These are the kinds of injuries that go away when the person isn’t doing the thing that is causing the aggravation. This aggravation can also be psychological in nature i.e. disliking a job or a person at your job or some other kind of psychological distress. Treatment for these kinds of issues, it is recommended that you come in 2 times per week until the pain is 50% resolved then treatment is dropped to once a week until 80% better than once every other week and then as needed if the problem rears its head again.
  • Acupuncture for treatment of issues like weight loss, stop smoking or alcohol/ drug detoxing work best when the treatment is 2 times a week for 6-10 weeks.
  • Internal medicine (we include autoimmune, viral and endocrine issues) like hypothyroid, adrenal fatigue/exhaustion, GERD, IBS, diabetes, constipation, diarrhea, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, allergies, Raynaud’s, Crohn’s disease, colitis, asthma, vertigo, dizziness are often chronic and may need some time to heal. We usually start people 2-3 times per week and then work down to every other week. Vertigo/dizziness usually (but not always) takes less time than the others to heal.
  • Shingles is a condition that can be very painful and its treatment course will be more frequent for those who have a lot of pain and less frequent for those whose case is relatively mild.
  • Hot flashes/night sweats and other menopausal symptoms are treated 2 times per week for 4-8 weeks. Symptoms start to improve after the second or third week. Very occasionally we will recommend an herbal supplement to aid in a speedy recovery.
  • Side effects of chemotherapy/radiation/surgery for cancer treatments are 2 times per week. Long term effects of these treatments can be helped with acupuncture but the treatments can take a few months to provide significant improvement.
What is the recommended course of treatment for my problem(s)?

faq-course

Acupuncture Course of Treatment
Acute pain
Chronic pain
Stress/anxiety
Addictions/weight loss
Internal Medicine
Fertility

Sometimes for the first 2-5 treatments, you may not feel appreciably better or maybe pain/discomfort feels much better than it fades away after a time (that time varies from person to person). If you have a list of health issues to resolve, maybe one or two of those issues will either go away or diminish. Continue treatment.

If the pain is chronic, you will get relief, but the course of treatment can be anywhere from 15-30 treatments, depending upon the condition. For some people acupuncture is a successful as a treatment for pain management; one of many tools in a person’s toolbox they use to manage pain. Acupuncture helps to decrease the amount of medications used to manage your pain. It can also serve to diminish some of the anxiety/depression that accompanies pain (which of course creates its own vicious cycle).

If your condition is acute, the course of treatment is generally 5-15 treatments scheduled more closely together so the treatment time is not drawn out. Acute injuries are usually things like someone “throwing their back out,” breaking or spraining a joint area, fell down steps, tripped over the lawn mower, or woke up in the middle of night with pain shooting down the leg. The acute aspect is that the symptoms started within a month or so of coming in for treatment.

Another category of folks getting treated at our clinic are conditions related to stress/anxiety or repetitive injury related to work or caring for someone else. These health issues involve the joints, muscles, tendons, fascia or some combination of these tissues. These are the kinds of injuries that go away when the person isn’t doing the thing that is causing the aggravation. This aggravation can also be psychological in nature i.e. disliking a job or a person at your job or some other kind of psychological distress. For treatment for these kinds of issues, 2 times per week until the pain is 50% resolved. Appointments are dropped to once a week until 80% better than once every other week and then as needed if the problem starts to recur.

Acupuncture for addictions like weight loss, stop smoking or alcohol/ drug detoxing work best when the treatment is 2 times a week for 6-10 weeks.

Internal medicine (we include autoimmune, viral and endocrine issues) like hypothyroid, adrenal fatigue, GERD, IBS, diabetes, constipation, diarrhea, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, allergies, chrohn’s disease, colitis, asthma, vertigo, dizziness are often chronic and take a long time to heal. We usually start people 2-3 times per week and then work down to every other week. Vertigo/dizziness usually takes less time than the others to heal. Shingles is a condition that can be very painful and It’s treatment course will be more frequent for those who have a lot of pain and less frequent for those whose case is more mild.

Acupuncture used in conjunction with any assisted reproductive methods can be very useful in helping with fertility conditions. We recommend acupuncture treatments 2 times per week for 2-8 cycles with clomid and I.U.I. For I.V.F., it is recommended to come in frequently a few days before and a few days after egg retrieval and again during implantation.
If pregnancy issues do not seem to be related to any definite health problem, we recommend 1-2 times per week for 2-8 cycles. Sometimes herbal supplements are recommended.

What forms of payment do you accept?

Payment for Services.

logo-creditcards

We accept cash, checks or credit cards. Payment is due at the time of the visit. Most people find that paying prior to treatment is best since acupuncture can make you feel pretty relaxed and happy but sometimes slightly forgetful.

We do not bill insurance companies for reimbursement. We are happy to provide a receipt that can be used by our patients to seek insurance reimbursement. We do not provide acupuncture insurance codes since they change every year and the insurance code books are very expensive to purchase every year when we are less than the price of a typical co-pay.