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What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture and Oriental MedicineSeveral thousand years ago, Chinese practitioners discovered that the body forms disharmonies as a result of the various physical and mental stresses of life. Chinese medical theory explains these disharmonies as an imbalance of opposing forces called yin and yang. This imbalance disrupts the movement of the body's vital energy (qi) along the meridian pathways, which are channels through which the body's energy flows. Acupuncture restores the smooth flow of qi and blood. By inserting and manipulating needles at specific points on the body, the body regains its natural balance and promotes the body's ability to heal itself.

How Does Acupuncture Work ?

Acupuncture Promotes blood flow. This is significant because everything the body needs is in the blood, including oxygen, nutrients absorbed from food, immune substances, hormones, analgesics (pain relieving substances) and anti-inflammatories. Restoring proper blood flow is vital for promoting and maintaining health. Blood flow decreases as we age and can be impacted by trauma and certain diseases. Acupuncture has been shown to increase blood flow and vasodilation.

Acupuncture stimulates the body's healing mechanisms. Acupuncture creates "micro traumas" that stimulate the body's ability to spontaneously heal injuries to the tissue through nervous, immune and endocrine system activation.

Acupuncture stimulates the release of natural analgesics. Inserting a needle signals the brain to release chemicals such as endorphins, norepinephrine and enkephalins into the blood. Some of these substances are up to 200 times more potent than morphine.

Acupuncture reduces the intensity and perception of chronic pain. This happens through a process of "descending control normalization" which involves the serotonergic nervous system.

Acupuncture relaxes muscle fibers. This in turn releases pressure on joint structures and nerves and promotes blood flow.

Acupuncture reduces stress. This is perhaps the most important systemic  effect of acupuncture. Research has shown that acupuncture stimulates release of oxytocin, a hormone and signaling substance that regulates the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest) which is the opposite of the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight). Impaired parasympathetic function is implicated in a wide range of auto-immune diseases and other disorders. 

What Does Acupuncture Feel Like?

Acupuncture and Oriental MedicineMany first-time patients are concerned that acupuncture needles will feel like hypodermic injections at the doctors office. They don't. Acupuncture needles are hair-thin, flexible needles that you will hardly feel when inserted. When gently stimulated, the needles may produce a unique sensation that Chinese medicine calls de qi. Patients often describe de qi as a heavy, achy pressure, or spreading, traveling feeling. You may also feel an "electrical" sensation moving down the meridian pathways, though this is less common. Most patients find these acupuncture sensations deeply satisfying and leave the treatment feeling relaxed both mentally and physically.

How Many Treatments Will I Need?

The benefits of acupuncture are cumulative, so more than one treatment is necessary. For acute conditions you can expect to have 4 to 8 treatments, but you will usually begin to feel relief after one or two. Chronic conditions may take longer to respond, depending on the type, severity, and duration of the condition. Preventative treatments and treatments for general well-being may also be scheduled on an as-needed basis. For IVF patients it's best to start your acupuncture treatments 2 - 3 months prior to your IVF procedures so that any underlying conditions may be addressed. If you have already started IVF, acupuncture can be started at any time during the cycle to enhance your chances of pregnancy.

Is Acupuncture Safe?

Acupuncture and Oriental MedicineYes. Acupuncture is used by millions of Americans every year. Acupuncturists are required to undergo extensive education, including detailed study of human anatomy and training in Clean Needle Technique. Acupuncturists must pass comprehensive national board examinations administered by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) and are licensed by the state. As required by law, only pre-sterilized, disposable, single-use needles are used to ensure your complete safety.

Your First Visit

Do eat a small meal one to two hours before your acupuncture treatment - you shouldn't have acupuncture straight after a heavy meal, nor when famished. Avoid strenuous activity and refrain from alcohol before and after treatment. Please do not wear perfume or cologne. When you arrive for your first acupuncture appointment, you will be asked to complete a comprehensive intake form. The acupuncture intake form has questions about your current state of health, past illnesses, and family history. These questions are important because the holistic approach of Oriental medicine takes everything into account. Your current symptoms may not seem related to past health issues, but our bodies are complex landscapes and everything that happens to them leaves its mark.

Acupuncture and Oriental MedicineAfter reviewing your intake form, we will discuss your condition, and your pulse and tongue will be examined which are two of the basic diagnostic methods of Chinese medicine. The acupuncture points chosen will depend on your condition, but you can expect 4 to 20 needles. Once the needles are inserted, you will lie comfortably for 30 to 40 minutes with the needles in place. Many people find acupuncture treatment deeply relaxing, and it is not uncommon for patients to fall asleep during this time.

What Can Acupuncture Treat?

Acupuncture works by activating the body's own healing powers, so it can be beneficial for many health conditions. The World Health Organization (WHO) has documented many symptoms, diseases, and conditions that have been shown in controlled clinical trials to be effectively treated with acupuncture. Below are some common conditions treated, but please feel free to contact me about your specific health condition.

Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine


  • Sports injuries
  • Muscle pain
  • Back, neck and shoulder pain
  • Leg, ankle and foot pain
  • Arm, wrist and hand pain
  • Knee pain
  • Hip pain
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Tennis Elbow
  • Repetitive strain injuries
  • Jaw pain (TMJ)
  • Dental pain
  • Sciatica
  • Arthritis
  • Tendonitis
  • Myofascial pain syndrome
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Postoperative pain

Digestive Issues & Nausea

  • Heartburn, Acid Reflux
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Chronic indigestion
  • Chronic loose stools or constipation
  • Peptic ulcer
  • Acute and chronic gastritis
  • Morning sickness
  • Nausea and vomiting

Mental and Emotional Wellbeing

  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Depression

Respiratory Complaints

  • Sinusitis
  • Allergies

Reproductive Issues

  • Infertility
  • Increased efficacy of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)

Women's Health Issues

  • Menopause
  • PMS
  • Fibroids
  • Endometriosis
  • Menstrual cycle irregularities
  • PCOS