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1. Does acupuncture hurt?

Acupuncture is virtually painless. When people think of needles, they usually think of hypodermic needles, the type used to give blood, but acupuncture needles are extremely thin, solid and flexible. A hypodermic needle also has a very blunt point (actually a wedge shape) in comparison to an acupuncture needle. 40 acupuncture needles can fit into the tip of one standard 18 gauge hypodermic needle.

Sensations that patients normally experience are a dull ache, heaviness, distention, tingling, electric sensation traveling along a meridian, or warmth, which is associated with the movement of energy stimulated by the insertion of the needles. This is a desired affect and should not feel painful. Many people do not even feel the needles being inserted. Most people find acupuncture extremely relaxing, and many fall asleep during treatment.

Acupuncture needle vs. Hypodermic needleAcupuncture needle vs. Hypodermic needleAcupuncture needle vs. Hypodermic needle


2. How does acupuncture work?

It depends on which perspective you are looking from. From a Chinese medical paradigm, acupuncture stimulates the body to heal itself. Fine needles are inserted in specific points on the body, stimulating the vital energy of the body, Qi. By adjusting the flow of Qi in the body, acupuncture restores the harmonious balance of the body and its parts and enable your body to heal itself.

Western medicine recognizes the positive effects of acupuncture but uses a different biomedical terminology to describe how it works. In Western biomedical theory, it is suggested that acupuncture works by stimulating the release of natural biomolecules such as neurotransmitters, vasodilators, and hormones. Numerous scientific studies and controlled clinical trials have been done in order to measure and explain the effects of acupuncture. The results of these studies have shown that acupuncture: stimulates endorphin release, increases blood circulation, regulates reproductive hormones, alters pain receptor-pathways, and reduces inflammatory responses.


3. Is Chinese medicine safe?

When administered by a licensed acupuncturist, acupuncture and herbal medicine is an extremely safe way to treat a variety of ailments and diseases. Relatively few complications from the use of acupuncture have been reported to the U.S. Food and Drug administration (FDA) in light of the millions of people treated each year and the number of acupuncture needles used. Still, complications have resulted from inadequate sterilization of needles and from improper delivery of treatments. At Acupuncture Wellness Center, we exclusively use pre-sterilized, individually packaged, and disposable needles which are promptly discarded after each use. Every practitioner gets extensive training in anatomy to avoid accidentally inserting a needle in a place that can cause damage.

While herbal medicine in general is very safe, extra attention is always paid to any possible drug/herb interaction. At Acupuncture Wellness Center, we carefully design herbal formula for individual patient's considering their specific needs and the medications they are taking. We only use the highest quality herbs from Legendary Herbs and Mayway which have passed rigorous tests and comply with GMP safety guidelines.

The average liability coverage for an acupuncturist is about $600 per year, while primary care physicians pay an average of $12,000 per year. That's a 20:1 difference. While this may not translate into exactly a 20 to 1 difference in safety, a visit to an acupuncturist is at least as safe as a visit to your doctor, if not safer.


4. How many treatments will I need? How often would I need to come in for treatment?

The number of visits you will need varies for everyone, depending on the duration, severity and nature of the illness. Generally speaking, the longer you have suffered, the more treatments you need. Acute conditions, such as sudden pain from an injury or seasonal allergies may require 3 or 4 treatments before symptoms are reduced. Chronic conditions like asthma, back pain or other problems that you have had for many years may take anywhere from 6 to 12 treatments until you notice significant changes.

Typically acupuncture treatments are given once a week. If the condition is acute and relatively severe, treatments may be given 2-3 times per week until the condition starts to come under control. The exact duration of treatment depends on the condition, your basic level of health, and how well you respond to acupuncture. On your first visit, we will take a detailed health history and determine an appropriate treatment plan based on your signs and symptoms and the findings of that visit.


5. How should I prepare for my first visit?

  • It is a good idea to eat about an hour before coming for an acupuncture treatment.
  • Wear comfortable clothes that allow access to areas above the elbows and knees; also keep in mind that you may need to expose your abdomen or back, depending on your condition.
  • Patients are highly recommended to refrain from wearing any perfumes or scented oils within the clinic. Many patients, including pregnant women and those undergoing radiation and chemotherapy are very sensitive to fragrances.
  • Avoid rigorous exercise for at least two hours before and after treatment.
  • Please turn your phones off or put on silent. Many patients become disturbed or distracted during treatments from phone rings when they are supposed to relax. In the community clinic, silence is the key to keep soothing environment of the common room.


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