How does acupuncture work?
Acupuncture is the stimulation, by insertion of needles, of specific points on the body which have the ability to alter various biochemical and physiological conditions. Acupuncture stimulates the release of endorphins, which are the body’s natural pain-relieving neurohormones. Acupuncture affects the functioning of the hormonal system which reduces inflammation, increases circulation and reduces pain.
Is Acupuncture Safe?
One of the most striking aspects of acupuncture is the almost complete absence of adverse effects. Acupuncture is a safe technique and most patients find that the treatments are relaxing. The York Acupuncture Safety Study*, a prospective study of 34,407 acupuncture treatments found no serious adverse effects and only 43 cases of minor adverse effects, the most common of which were nausea and fainting.
It is important to inform the practitioner of your medical history, medications and if you are pregnant or could possibly be pregnant, as acupuncture treatment may have to be modified or may not be appropriate.
* MacPherson, H., Thomas, K., Walters, S., Fitter, M., The York acupuncture safety study: prospective survey of 34 000 treatments by traditional acupuncturists. BMJ. 2001 Sep 1; 323(7311): 486–487.
How many sessions of treatment will I need?
Many people start to see a significant difference within one to two treatments but some take longer to respond depending on the condition being treated and how long the patient has been experiencing the issue. If no difference is felt by the end of the fifth or sixth treatment, the diagnosis of the condition should be reconsidered and further medical investigations may be needed.
Acute injuries are best treated as soon as possible and often initially. Chronic conditions may need repeat maintenance treatments to maintain the momentum after an initial period of frequent treatments. Post treatment exercise and discipline in diet is extremely important for continued improvement and recovery.
Generally you would be seen 1-2 times a week initially depending on the condition. Maintenance treatments could range from weekly to monthly or when symptoms begin to recur.
What conditions can be helped with acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a gentle and safe treatment that’s suitable for all ages—children to seniors. The World Health Organization has identified over 100 conditions that acupuncture has been proven to be an effective treatment or therapy for including:
Addiction (such as Alcoholism, Smoking, Drug Abuse)
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Low Back Pain
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Urinary Problems (such as Incontinence)
Women's Health Issues
This is not a comprehensive list. If you don’t see your condition listed here, contact me to see if acupuncture may help you.
What does acupuncture feel like?
Acupuncture is usually a very comfortable treatment. Needles are very fine, metallic and as thin as a hair, making them quite painless upon insertion. Everyone experiences acupuncture differently, but most feel no pain or very minimal pain as the needles are inserted. You may experience a mild aching sensation or warmth around the needle site.
What should I do before and after an acupuncture treatment?
Arrive 15 minutes early to fill out your paperwork. Eat a light meal and drink some water prior to treatment. Refrain from drinking alcoholic beverages before your appointment.
You should continue to take any prescribed medications on schedule.
Will my insurance plan cover acupuncture?
Many insurance plans do offer coverage for acupuncture treatment. Currently I'm in network with major providers including BlueCross/Blue Shield/Carefirst , United, Aetna and Cigna. Contact me with questions regarding your insurance. I'm happy to verify your benefits for you.