Q: What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture employs special hair-like needles to stimulate specific points on the body in order to restore optimal health. It is one of the oldest, most dependable medical therapies in the world, having been used for thousands of years in China. It has gained popularity in the United States over the last three decades.

Q: Is acupuncture effective?

Acupuncture has proven to be safe and effective by an increasing body of scientific evidence. According to the National Institute of Health and the World Health Organization, acupuncture can successfully treat many chronic and acute health conditions, and is also an effective form of preventive care.

Q: How does acupuncture work?

Acupuncture works by stimulating specific “acupuncture points” on or near the surface of the skin. Acupuncturists use thin, sterile, disposable needles inserted gently into these specific points. This has the ability to alter biochemical and physiological conditions in the body, such as the release of neurotransmitters and endorphins, the body's natural pain-killing hormones (thought to be more potent than morphine). Endorphins play a role in the hormonal system, which is why acupuncture is effective in treating pain, PMS, infertility, and many other conditions. Substances released as a result of acupuncture relax the body and regulate serotonin in the brain, which improves emotional states and sleep. Other beneficial effects include increased circulation, decreased inflammation, improved digestion, and a balanced immune system. Acupuncture can help restore balance to the whole body so that the organs and systems can work together in harmony. Ultimately, acupuncture works by helping the body heal itself.

Q: What does acupuncture treat?

The World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes acupuncture and traditional oriental medicine to treat a variety of conditions, including, but not limited to, disorders in the following areas: gynecological, gastrointestinal, respiratory, circulatory, urogenital, musculoskeletal, immunity, and emotional/psychological. For a more extensive list of what I treat, click here. (Link to “Other Health Concerns”)

Q: Does acupuncture hurt?

Acupuncture needles are ultra-thin and flexible, thereby permitting painless insertion. In fact, acupuncture needles are 25 to 50 times thinner than hypodermic needles and they are inserted only superficially. It’s a totally different experience from getting a “shot.” The treatment is so painless that patients often don’t even know when the needle has been applied. Many people feel so relaxed during their acupuncture session that they fall asleep and get a much needed rest.

Q: Is there anything I should know for my first appointment?

The first appointment, which includes the initial consultation and an acupuncture treatment, lasts an hour and a half. Follow-up appointments are one hour. Eat lightly around an hour before your appointment to avoid being hungry or too full during the session. There are heat lamps, dim lighting and soothing sounds to lull you into deep relaxation. The benefits of acupuncture begin as soon as the needles are inserted. After your treatment, you may experience better sleep, more energy, reduced pain, and less stress, depression and anxiety.

Q: How often do I need to come in for treatment?

Because each person is unique and health conditions differ, the frequency and number of treatments will vary. Treatments can be given 1 to 3 times per week for the first 2 to 3 weeks, and then reduced as wellness is restored. Average cases take around 6 treatments to resolve, while more challenging cases need 10 or more treatments. However, some patients respond favorably after only 1 or 2 treatments. In general, acute conditions require fewer treatments than chronic conditions. Many patients also choose to come in monthly or bimonthly for “balancing tune-ups” or “immune boosting sessions.”

Q: Do you have to be licensed to practice acupuncture?

Yes. The state of California has the strictest guidelines in the country. Acupuncturists are required to have at least four years of study in a Master’s degree program, where we undergo extensive and rigorous training in both Eastern and Western medicine. We must also pass a very challenging licensing exam by the California State Board. I am also nationally board certified. The “L.Ac., Dipl.O.M.” credentials after my name stand for Licensed Acupuncturist and Diplomat of Oriental Medicine. I also earned an advanced degree, the Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (D.A.O.M.), the highest Chinese Medicine degree available in the U.S., which required an additional two years of schooling.

Q: Who can benefit from acupuncture?

Just about everyone can benefit from acupuncture, regardless of their health history and physical background. If you have a specific ailment, acupuncture can help relieve it. If you feel well, acupuncture can help you maintain wellness, boost energy and immunity, and manage stress.

Q: Do I need to “believe” in acupuncture for it to work?

No.  Acupuncture is not a faith based modality, and it does not conflict with any religious or spiritual beliefs. In fact, the highly successful use of acupuncture in veterinary medicine and with children demonstrates that “belief” plays no role in acupuncture healing. Chinese medicine is guided by a holistic concept of health that involves the inseparable relationship between body, mind, emotions and spirit. But you don’t have to believe anything to make that happen. All you have to do is show up and give it a chance.

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