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How does acupuncture work?

Chinese medicine is a complex system of medicine that has been utilized for over 2,500 years. Acupuncture is a form of Chinese medicine that focuses on bringing the body back into balance and healing patterns of disease. There are 20 acupuncture channels and about 365 acupuncture points located all over the body. Blockages and obstructions in these channels can cause pain and illness, both emotionally and physically. Different acupuncture points are chosen for each individual based on what pattern is showing up in their body. Acupuncture points used on these channels give specific messages to the body to redirect it to normal functioning again. Our bodies inherently know what to do and how to heal, the needles simply work with the body to help this happen.

Does acupuncture hurt?

The needles that we use in acupuncture are very different than the hypodermic needles most people are accustomed to in Western medicine. The width of an acupuncture needle is approximately the size of a single human hair. Sensations do occur at points where the needles are inserted, but most patients find acupuncture very relaxing. They often describe these sensations as tingling, dull, heavy, and warm.

What is an acupuncture session like?

Private sessions – The first part of the session consists of a thorough intake that will help give us a detailed picture of your health. After talking with you, the practitioner will spend some time taking your pulse and looking at your tongue, which are important diagnostic tools in Chinese medicine. Once this information is collected, the practitioner will make an individual diagnosis, come up with a treatment protocol and perform acupuncture using selected points that fit the diagnosis. You will then rest on the massage table with needles for 30-40 minutes. The practitioner may perform Chinese massage (tui na), cupping, gua sha or moxa before or after the treatment (see separate page for information on those modalities). After the treatment, the practitioner may give an herbal formula that was made while you were resting, as well as provide other diet/lifestyle recommendations, and discuss further treatment recommendations.
Initial treatment: 1 hour and 45 minutes
Follow-up treatment: 1 hour – 1 hour and 15 minutes

How many treatments will I need?

Chinese medicine works so well because it views each person’s body uniquely, which also means the number of treatments needed will vary for each person. In general, acute conditions could take 2-3 sessions, while chronic conditions may require 8-12 sessions. Patients will usually begin to see changes within the first few sessions as the body starts to re-pattern into healthy functioning. The more compliant the patient is with herbal, lifestyle and diet recommendations, the faster the healing process tends to be.

Is taking herbs important for my healing?

Herbal medicine is a powerful adjunct to acupuncture treatments and can be used to increase the healing process between treatments. We will always have herbal formula recommendations for our patients from our extensive raw herbal pharmacy that can be conveniently taken at home. Many patients enjoy taking herbs and find it to be a great investment in their healing, but it is not a required part of treatment. Food and lifestyle changes added to your acupuncture treatments can make a big difference even without herbs.