Acupuncture FAQ

Chinese medicine dates back to thousands of years and is a broad range of practice that covers acupuncture, herbal therapy, tui-na (Chinese acupressure massage), moxibustion, cupping, and food therapy. The basic premise of TCM relates to how the body interacts with its environment, including the weather, seasons, time of day, our emotions and diet.

In the optimum state of health, the body, mind and spirit are maintained in a harmonious state of balance through the regulation of qi, also known as the “life force”. Dis-ease follows when this natural flow of qi is disrupted. Acupuncture involves the placement of fine, sterilized needles along specific points on the body to smooth out any obstructions and to bring the body back into balance.

Some practitioners may use other modalities in addition to acupuncture in their treatment plans depending on the diagnoses. Chinese herbal therapy is a common practice that may be used by many as an adjuvant therapy. These herbs are plant extracts that have therapeutic effects to last in between acupuncture sessions. Depending on the individual diagnoses, patients can be prescribed patented formulas in pill form, or even loose herbs to make into a tea at home.

Moxibustion is another modality often used by TCM practitioners. It involves the use of a cylindrical shaped moxa stick, which is made of mugwort. Some practitioners use cone shaped moxa. This is a form of heat therapy used on or near certain acupuncture points to provide stimulation and improve the flow of qi. This can be used to improve general health in cancer patients and also in certain digestive disorders.

Cupping is another form of heat therapy used amongst a lot of celebrities in Hollywood. The vacuum inside the cups creates a suction on the skin that improves the blood circulation to the specific area, and is used to treat pain as well as other conditions.

Tui-na is a combination of acupressure and massage that removes blockages in the meridians. This leads to improvement in mobility and is used mostly in musculoskeletal conditions.

Depending on the patient’s diagnoses, a TCM practitioner may also recommend some dietary and lifestyle changes. It is important to avoid certain foods that may aggravate certain conditions or addition of certain herbs and supplements to expedite the healing process.

Acupuncture is a recognized discipline under the National Institute of Health (NIH) and the World Health Organization (WHO), who have come up with extensive list of conditions that can be treated, some of which are:

  • Allergies
  • Asthma
  • Arthritis
  • Stress/Anxiety
  • Smoking/ Substance Abuse
  • Bronchitis
  • Cold/Cough/ Flus
  • Constipation/ Diarrhea/ Digestive Issues
  • Bloating/Gas
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Depression
  • Dental Pain
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Dizziness
  • Emotional Problems
  • Fatigue
  • Facial Palsy/Trigeminal Neuralgia
  • Fertility
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Headaches/ Migraines
  • Incontinence
  • IBS
  • Low Back Pain/ Shoulder and neck pain
  • Sciatica
  • Hypertension
  • Shingles
  • Insomnia
  • Low libido (male and female)
  • Malposition of fetus
  • Arthritis
  • Peptic ulcer
  • PCOS
  • Side Effects of Chemo and Radiation
  • PMS
  • Stroke
  • TMJ
  • Ulcerative Colitis
  • Nausea/ Vomiting
  • Dizziness/Vertigo

An extensive list can be found by clicking the link below:

Each individual’s health problems are unique, therefore, the number and frequency of treatments can vary. In order to see some results, it is recommended to have 2-4 treatments per week for 10-12 sessions. Some people may see immediate results within 4-6 treatments, while for others it may take longer and they may require regular spaced treatments for several months. The more chronic the condition being treated it, the longer it takes to see results.

The first sessions are always the longest, lasting anywhere from 60-90 minutes.  The acupuncturist will ask you to fill out paperwork which includes a detailed history about your health concerns present and past.  The more details you give your acupuncturist, the better able he/she will be in understanding your health issues and formulating a diagnosis.  Your diagnosis will also include taking your pulse and looking at your tongue, as this will give your acupuncturist added information in formulating a treatment plan. Your acupuncturist will also discuss diet, nutrition, any lifestyle changes if needed,  to help in treating your condition and bringing back the balance in your health.  Once the needles are inserted in specific acupuncture points, they will be left in for 20-30 minutes. Follow-up sessions usually last up to 45 minutes, depending on the patient’s conditions.

Your acupuncturist will also explain your treatment plan which will include:

  • an outline of your diagnosis and areas of concern
  • the duration of your treatments
  • the different modalities of treatments used if applicable

Acupuncture needles are fine, hair like needles, that are painless and flexible. Most people don’t feel anything, but some have reported a slight sensation of tingling or numbness.

Yes. The acupuncturist will use single use, pre packaged sterile needles, due to which, there is little to no risk of infection. While there are no side effects to acupuncture, It is important to find a licensed acupuncturist who has had proper and extensive training through an accredited school, as there are plenty of practitioners who perform acupuncture who have had short term trainings. It is important to find out if your acupuncturist is board certified by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, which involves passing national exams and meeting strict guidelines.

Qi ( pronounced as chi) is the subtle energy or what is known as the “life force”, which circulates via the specific pathways or meridians in the body, maintaining the equilibrium necessary for optimum health. Meridians are a highly complex, invisible network of intricate pathways that are distributed all over the body, including the head, arms, legs, chest, abdomen, legs and the different organ systems. It is by these meridians, that the qi is distributed to every organ, cell muscle and tissue. Any blockages in the smooth flow of qi may result in dis-ease, pain or ill health. Acupuncture can help by moving these blockages of Qi by improving its circulation and bringing the body back into harmony, via use of fine needles or other modalities through stimulation of certain acupuncture points.