Frequently Asked Questions
Acupuncture is an ancient healing technique and branch of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Acupuncture uses very fine, sterile, single-use stainless steel needles placed in specific locations around the body to manipulate energy. There are acupuncture points all over the body, including the face, scalp, and abdomen. Where the practitioner places, needles will depend on the patient's signs and symptoms. Other modalities used in treatment can include electrostimulation, gua sha, cupping, moxa, and 7 Star needling. Keep reading for an explanation of those modalities.
- You have seen numerous health care professionals, had lots of testing, and still don’t feel like you know what is causing your illness
- You have been told that nothing is wrong with you
- Your medications don’t seem to be doing the trick
- You want to avoid or postpone surgery
All of these instances are good reasons for trying something new!
The World Health Organization recognizes that acupuncture can be used to treat over 200 common clinical disorders, including- sports injury, chronic pain, arthritis, stress, anxiety, depression, insomnia, indigestion, acid reflux, IBS, common cold, cough and flu, PMS, irregular or painful menstruation, menopause, sexual dysfunction, UTI, asthma, allergies, cough, migraines, hypertension, hormonal imbalances, addiction, and post-traumatic stress.
According to the World Health Organization, acupuncture is proven effective in treating the following-
Upper Respiratory Tract
- Acute sinusitis
- Acute rhinitis
- Common Cold and Flu
- Acute tonsillitis
- Acute bronchitis
- Bronchial asthma (most effective in children and uncomplicated conditions.)
- Acute conjunctivitis
- Central Retinitis Myopia (in children)
- Cataracts (without complications)
- Post Extraction Pain
- Acute and Chronic Pharyngitis
- Spasms of esophagus
- Acute and Chronic Gastritis
- Gastric Hyperacidity
- Chronic Duodenal Ulcer (pain relief)
- Acute Duodenal Ulcer (without complications)
- Acute and Chronic Colitis
- Acute Bacillary Dysentery
- Paralytic Ileus
Neurologic and Musculoskeletal Disorders
- Headache and Migraine
- Trigeminal Neuralgias
- Facial Palsy (early stage, i.e., within 3-6 months)
- Pareses Following a Stroke
- Peripheral Neuropathies
- Sequelae of Poliomyelitis (early stage, i.e., within six months)
- Meniere's Disease
- Neurogenic Bladder Dysfunction
- Nocturnal Enuresis (bedwetting)
- Intercostal Neuralgia
- Cervicobrachial Syndrome
- Frozen Shoulder
- Low Back Pain
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Back and Knee Pain
- Chronic Fatigue
- Sports Injuries and Pains
Reproductive & Gynecological Conditions
- Premenstrual Syndrome
- Dysmenorrhea (menstrual cramps)
- Spotting and Excessive Bleeding
- Amenorrhea (Loss of Menstrual Period)
Mental Emotional Problems
The acupuncture treatments themselves typically do not hurt. Occasionally, you will feel a pinching sensation as the needles are inserted. With the needles in place, you may feel pressure, tingling, or aching. This is the body's energy, or Qi, responding to the needles, and is the desired response. It is not expected to be uncomfortable or painful. If you experience pain or discomfort, advise your practitioner, as your needles may need to be adjusted.
Most people feel very relaxed and energized after an acupuncture treatment. On occasion, you may experience a small bruise or some slight soreness or tenderness to the touch where a needle was inserted. If you experience any pain, large bruises, swelling, difficulty breathing, or dizziness after an acupuncture treatment, advise your practitioner or doctor immediately.
There are no contraindications to receiving acupuncture or other TCM treatment modalities. It is best not to eat a large meal just before the treatment or come in with an empty stomach. Some conditions may mean that specific acupuncture points or treatments are cautioned or contraindicated, and your treatment plan will be adjusted accordingly. If you are pregnant or think you may be pregnant, please notify your acupuncture provider immediately. Most acupuncture points are safe to use during pregnancy, but there are a few points that are avoided as a precaution.
In the state of California, an "L.Ac." (licensed acupuncturist) means that the practitioner has attended undergraduate education, done a four-year master's program in Traditional Chinese Medicine, including training in acupuncture, herbal medicine, nutrition, massage, and eastern mind/body practices. L.Acs are considered Primary Care Physicians in the state of California, and as such, are held to the highest standards of medical professionalism and education. All L.Ac.s have undergone rigorous state board testing in order to achieve licensure, and are required to pursue continued education classes annually. There are also Doctorate and Ph.D. level programs available for acupuncture practitioners.
"TCM" is an ancient and comprehensive approach to treating illness and improving health. Focusing on prevention and using natural substances and treatments, TCM practitioners support and stimulate the body's ability to heal itself. In the United States, TCM practitioners receive a thorough education in herbal remedies, nutrition and dietetics, massage, and mind/body wellness practices such as Taiqi and QiGong. The primary goal of treatment is to address the root cause of illness rather than treat symptoms. The patient is seen as a whole person, and the TCM practitioner takes the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual environments into account when diagnosing and developing a treatment plan.
Electrostimulation, or E-stim, uses small electrodes attached to acupuncture needles to send a gentle electrical pulse into the muscle tissue. It is most often used for chronic pain and paralysis. The acupuncturist will insert needles in an area and attach electrodes. You will feel a mild pulsing in time with the electrical impulse. It is not painful or uncomfortable. If you experience pain or discomfort, advise your practitioner, who will adjust the strength of the impulse to a more comfortable setting.
Gua Sha is a treatment that is used primarily for early cold symptoms or tightness in large muscle groups. This technique involves using a dull-edged device to rub the skin, usually the upper back and neck. It is not painful. With this treatment, you may experience some non-tender bruising that will last 3-10 days.
7 Star needling is a technique similar to gua sha that uses a specially designed needle with seven small tips. Like acupuncture needles, these are very fine, small needles. This technique is often used with early-stage cold symptoms, trauma, and long-term pain. Our clinic practitioner will use the 7-star needle to lightly tap on the affected area. There may be bleeding with this modality. Following treatment, you may be advised to keep the area covered and avoid windy conditions for a day or two.
Moxibustion, or "moxa," is a healing method of treatment using the Chinese herb Mugwort. Moxibustion is used for treating pain, trauma, and certain cold-related injuries or conditions. The mugwort is compressed into a stick that is burned near the body or into small cones that are placed on the body with a protective barrier that prevents burning. Both these methods warm the affected area, providing relief of pain. There is some limited smoke and odor when using moxibustion. Please advise your practitioner if you have asthma or other respiratory conditions or if you are sensitive to odors.