Frequently Asked Questions

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What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a holistic method of treatment developed in China thousands of years ago. According to ancient teachings, an energetic force called “Qi” animates the body, flowing through channels called “meridians”. Acupuncture helps optimize this energetic flow, promoting health, supporting immunity, facilitating healing, modulating the impact of stress, and regulating emotions.

Acupuncture is performed by inserting tiny, hair-thin needles into specific points along meridians, influencing the flow of energy and providing access to deeper structures within your body. By relieving blockages and regulating the flow of Qi, acupuncture helps restore you to balance and can facilitate healing on a physical, emotional, spiritual, and behavioral level.

Is acupuncture safe?

Acupuncture performed by a trained professional is quite safe. The needles are sterile and come directly out of the package at the time of treatment. Needling, in general, is very superficial, avoiding any risk of injury to deeper structures. Minor bleeding or bruising may occur, especially if you are on blood thinners or have a clotting disorder. Much less commonly, some patients may experience dizziness, nausea, or temporary irritation of a nerve.

Can I have acupuncture if I am pregnant?

While certain points are avoided during pregnancy, acupuncture in trained hands is a safe way to treat some of the common symptoms such as morning sickness, acid reflux and pain in the back and hips.

Does acupuncture hurt?

The needles we use are as thin as a human hair and too flimsy to penetrate the skin without the aid of an “insertion tube”. The pressure of the plastic tube on your skin also serves to blunt sensation as the needle is gently tapped into place. You will likely feel no or only minimal discomfort, as our goal is to keep your body relaxed and receptive throughout the treatment.

Why choose acupuncture?

Are you looking for a more patient-centered approach to healthcare? Are you frustrated with multiple specialists who only treat individual symptoms? Do you want to cut back on prescription medications?

Acupuncture takes a holistic approach to care, treating you as a whole being with a physical, mental, and spiritual nature. The root of pain, poor health and disease is believed to begin with blockage or imbalance of your body’s energetic flow. Acupuncture can restore your body to harmony, fostering health and wellness.

By enhancing balance and relaxation, acupuncture can facilitate healing or simply become one element of your comprehensive wellness program. Whatever your life challenges, acupuncture provides a non-pharmaceutical, non-surgical companion to your current regimen to help you reach your health goals.

What is “Integrated Structural Acupuncture”

The style of acupuncture performed in this practice is highly individualized and based on your physical findings. A detailed examination at each session determines the selection of treatment points. Through palpation (the process of gathering information through touch), we assess your body for the structural and constitutional imbalances underlying your symptoms. By addressing the problem at its root, we can bring about deep and long-lasting healing. This holistic perspective is particularly helpful for chronic or complex issues.

What should I expect?

At your first visit, we will review your health concerns and medical history (it is extremely helpful to have your Intake Form submitted online in advance, as more time will be available for your treatment). You will have a physical examination with gentle pressure on reflex points to identify areas of imbalance and develop a treatment plan.

We start the treatment with you lying on your back. (Positions can be adapted for any mobility restrictions, discomfort, or preference.). As you rest quietly in a tranquil setting, hair-thin needles will be placed at points of influence along your “meridians”, or energy channels. The needles we use are too flimsy to penetrate the skin without the aid of an “insertion tube”, a small plastic tube that also serves to blunt sensation as the needle is gently tapped into place. You will likely feel no or only minimal discomfort, as our goal is to keep your body relaxed and receptive throughout the treatment.

You may drift off into a state of deep relaxation for the next 15-20 minutes with the needles in position. For the second step of the session, we have you roll over to access treatment points on your back. Release of any residual tight areas or “trigger points” can be layered on at this time.

Ultimately, the best results come from a partnership founded on a shared goal of achieving your best health. During your session, we will talk about how your exam relates to your specific health concerns. We will review how lifestyle factors, like sleep, exercise, and diet may be impacting your condition, and together we will develop a plan for follow-up.

How long does an appointment take?

Your first visit may take up to 2 hours as we get to know each other and review your medical history and treatment goals. Subsequent visits may be up to 1½ hours as both your front and back are generally treated, sometimes with layering on of more focused attention to specific problem areas.

How many treatments will I need?

Complex or long-standing conditions often need to be addressed in stages, with treatment plans that evolve based on your response. Just as it would be unreasonable to make outrageous promises, it would be inappropriate to continue treatment in the absence of progress. A fair trial for this type of therapy is generally considered to be five sessions. You will also receive guidance on how to encourage the healing process at home, between sessions.

How does acupuncture really work?

Chinese scholars believed that stimulation of acupuncture points influences the flow of energy (Qi) through the body, enhancing organ function and promoting harmony. Although there is solid evidence supporting the efficacy of acupuncture for a number of conditions, modern science has yet to find a way to measure or define the Qi or the meridians themselves. Acupuncture has been shown to increase levels of our natural painkillers, called endorphins, flooding the body with relief and a peaceful sense of relaxation without the use of drugs or chemicals. Scientists have proposed additional theories based on modern concepts of anatomy and physiology, suggesting that the direct stimulation of nerves, muscles, or connective tissue may play a role in how acupuncture works.

As research continues, acupuncture is finding its way more and more into “mainstream” medicine. Many highly acclaimed institutions, from the Mayo Clinic to Boston Children’s Hospital, have incorporated acupuncture into their pain management programs. Forty-six percent of pain clinics in the United States today offer access to acupuncture to their patients.

Do you offer any other treatments?

Yes. For patients interested in a deeper energetic healing experience, Reiki and/or CranioSacral Therapy (CST) can be layered onto any follow-up session. (This is not available with the initial “Acupuncture Intake” appointment.)

Reiki is a Japanese form of hands-on energy healing that can promote deep relaxation, calm anxiety and stress, and boost the body’s natural healing capabilities. Reiki is a safe and gentle therapy available now in some hospital and healthcare settings as a complement to standard medical treatments. Not specific to any ailment or condition, Reiki can encourage healing on multiple levels: emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual.

CST is a healing technique developed by John E. Upledger, an Osteopath. Gentle touch and/or mild pressure are employed to release restrictions in the connective tissue, or “fascia.” The fascia forms a connective network in and around our organs, glands, nerves, muscles, blood vessels – even our brain and spinal cord. The fascia can be gently manipulated to release areas of tightness and tension, facilitating deep relaxation. This prompts the body to “re-set”, restoring and strengthening its ability to self-regulate and bringing the body’s rhythms into harmony. CST can be particularly helpful with headaches and neck pain.

Do you accept insurance?

Payment at the time of treatment is expected. If you plan to file for reimbursement from your insurance company on your own, receipts will be provided on request. Benefits are ultimately determined by your policy.

Is your office ADA accessible?

Yes. There are three entrances into the building, including one with a limited number of shallow steps and one that is fully ADA accessible. If you anticipate needing extra help to gain access to the treatment table, please notify us in advance.