How does acupuncture work?

Acupuncture/acupressure works on a model of energy systems which allow Qi/Chi to flow through the body similar to the circulatory system, or the nervous system. These energy systems, or meridians, cross through the other systems and may parallel certain systems in different places, but are not a part of one system or another. Chinese medicine believes that when these energy meridians are blocked or have weak Qi flow the body becomes ill or feels pain. Acupuncture/acupressure stimulate points on these energy meridians to either break up the blockages or promote better energy flow.

Is acupuncture safe?

Acupuncture is very safe. The needles are fine (about the width of a human hair) stainless steel filiform disposable needles, so there is no risk of infection from reuse. There are chances that a needle may puncture a blood vessel or capillary, but the blood is usually a drop or two and at most causes a small bruise. Rarely, a nerve may be nicked and the needle can be readjusted so there is no pain. In very rare cases, there has been pneumothorax (puncture of the lung). This is rather rare because most of the commonly used points are on the arms and legs. This clinic also does ear acupuncture which is very safe and effective.

Is acupuncture painful?

Most people do not feel the needles at all, but they might feel a small prick like a bug bite, much lighter than a vaccination shot or a blood draw. Sometimes, when the needles are in place, they may feel an aching sensation, warmth or coolness, a spreading sensation or an electrical zing, or relaxation.

What does acupuncture treat?

Acupuncture/acupressure is a safe and effective treatment for many common disorders:

  • carpal tunnel syndrome

  • headache/migraine

  • pain management: neck, shoulder, back, hip, knee and foot pain

  • sports injuries: tendinitis, tennis elbow

  • TMJ

  • sciatica

  • asthma, allergies

  • digestive disorders: IBS, Crohn's, reflux

  • Women's health: PMS, menopause -- night sweats, hot flashes, irritability, irregular menses, cramping, insomnia

  • Aneuropathy: nerve pain or numbness of the limbs

  • Raynaud's syndrome: extremely cold hands and feet

  • Fibromyalgia: muscle pain all over

  • alleviates or reduces the symptoms of Lupus, Parkinson's, psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, rheumatoid and osteo arthritis, sickle cell anemia

How long does it take to see results?

In general acupuncture takes less time than acupressure for an ailment to be completely resolved. Usually clients feel some relief immediately. The symptoms tend to come back in a few days or a week until the muscles are retrained not to return to their original incorrect orientation. Initially, the patient should come more often in the early acute stage of the problem. In some cases the patient feels worse immediately after the treatment and the symptoms clear in a day or two. As the symptoms get better, the length of time between treatments can be extended. The longer a person has had the symptoms or the more severe the ailment is, determines how long it takes to resolve a problem completely. For very severe ailments acupuncture/acupressure is used to enhance quality of life of the patient. A cancer patient would not be cured using acupuncture but they may have less nausea and vomiting from chemotherapy, more energy, a better appetite, and better sleep.

Is acupuncture just for problems?

Acupuncture is not just for relief from pain and illness, it can also be used for health maintenance to build up the immune system to help fight off common illnesses. Acupuncture/acupressure also helps keep muscles relaxed for optimum performance and help prevent muscle injury during sports activities.

What is the difference between acupuncture and acupressure massage?

In acupuncture, fine filiform disposable needles are used to stimulate the different acupuncture points.  In acupressure, finger pressure is used to stimulate the acupuncture points. In general, the effectiveness of acupuncture vs. acupressure is the speed in which the problem area is resolved. Acupuncture is usually faster, and for more internal ailments such as digestive disorders, or asthma, the needles are more effective. For muscular skeletal disorders, acupressure can be just as effective as acupuncture because the muscles release more readily with manipulation. Acupuncture is fairly painless, but if the patient has a phobia of needles, acupressure is another alternative.

How is an acupressure massage different from a spa massage?

Acupressure massage is done with the clothes on. Range of motion and percussion, a type of Chinese massage called Tui Na, is used in acupressure. Acupuncture points are selected for stimulation depending on the type of ailment or symptoms the individual is experiencing that day. This enables the massage to be more therapeutic and have longer lasting effects. Most clients feel a deep relaxation and fall asleep. Each session takes between 1-1½ hours.