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Acupuncture Questions

Does it hurt?

The answer is no. Acupuncture treatments feel as relaxing as a massage. Our acupuncturist stays in the room with you the majority of the time, using other modalities simultaneously such as acupressure, moxa, and cupping to create a maximally effective treatment.

Most people don’t even feel the initial needle insertions, which can occasionally feel like a pinch or light prick. After that, the brief sensation goes away and is replaced by a sense of relaxation and calm.

You may even feel a pleasant warmth, tingling, gentle pressure, or a sense of movement at the acupuncture point. Our acupuncturist Beth uses great care in order to create an enjoyable, responsive, comfortable treatment, during which you will feel relaxed enough to fall asleep (and often that happens!). We encourage you to think of acupuncture as an efficient and medically effective power nap.

How many treatments are needed to resolve a condition?

Most people receive five to ten treatments for a particular condition, but each person and condition is different so this number varies. For a chronic condition that may have begun several years ago, often a course of treatment over several months may be necessary to create a permanent change.

Your acupuncturist will discuss all of these considerations with you. Together, you and she will find the best treatment plan for your lifestyle, schedule, and long-term health.

What are acupuncture needles, and how are they used?

Modern acupuncture uses extremely fine, single-use needles, made of surgical stainless steel. Acupuncture needles are about the width of a cat whisker- solid, flexible and safe.

They are much smaller than a hypodermic needle, and they are solid rather than hollow, so skin will not tear or bleed on insertion.

The needles are inserted at a depth between 2 millimeters and a few inches, depending on the anatomical location and desired treatment effect. The majority of acupuncture points are within the 2-5 millimeter depth range.


Do you have to poke through the skin?

No. If you have a strong aversion to anything puncturing the skin, our acupuncturist can also use a non-insertion acupuncture needle.

This tool is called a “touch-needle” or Teishin, and is made of 100% silver. The tip is a a little smaller than the tip of a ball-point pen, and it is held at an acupuncture point with gentle pressure to activate the point. These are often used with children, with elders, and with anyone who has a highly sensitive or reactive nervous system.

Does acupuncture work?

Yes. An ever-increasing number of clinical studies and meta-reviews are confirming the therapeutic effectiveness as well as cost-effectiveness of acupuncture for a broad range of conditions.

How does acupuncture work?

The scientific answer is, “the mechanism of action is unknown,” in exactly the same sense that we don’t know the detailed mechanism of many pharmaceutical drugs. However, scientists are researching several pathways of action that are starting to become more clear as more acupuncture studies are completed.

Clinical practitioners have been tracking the clinical effects of acupuncture for over a thousand years.

How do I know if acupuncture is working for me?

If you have a pain condition, you may feel a change immediately (reduced pain or even zero pain after treatment). If you have a more complex internal condition, you can track the waning of disruptive symptoms over the next few days after treatment.

Overall, acupuncture has the ability to both reduce unwanted symptoms and increase your overall vitality. Learn more about what acupuncture can treat here: Conditions Treated by Acupuncture.

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