Does Acupuncture Hurt?  
Most people describe the sensation at the needles to be one of warmth, energy, pulsation, pressure, or tugging, followed by relaxation and an increase in circulation to the area. The needles used for acupuncture treatments bear little resemblance to the needles used to give shots. They are hair-thin, flexible, and can be precisely manipulated by a skilled practitioner to achieve the desired results. My needling technique is very gentle, tailored to be as painless as possible for even the most sensitive client.

How does Acupuncture work?

Acupuncture stimulates circulation and blood flow in pathways known as meridians. Meridians carry the “qi”, a concept which is complex to translate but is similar to electromagnetic energy, between the internal organs and the outside world.  The meridians have many tiny branches connecting to each other as well as to all the tissues in the muscles, tendons, nerves, and skin. The circulation of qi flows in a predictable path along the meridians, and acupuncture points can be strategically placed to increase the qi in areas where it has weakened and run low (like a river run dry) or to drain the qi in areas where it has clumped up and disrupted flow (like cars in a traffic jam).

A body in balance should have a smooth flow of qi, but strains of daily life often disrupt this smoothness and create symptoms.  For example, overuse or injury of muscles can impair circulation, creating spasms in small muscles, inflammation in surrounding tissues, and a buildup of waste products in the area.  Prolonged tension in the neck and shoulders can create recurring headaches.  These types of degenerative process may worsen over time if not properly cared for.  Acupuncture is an extremely effective therapeutic remedy for relieving these types of issues because of its invigorating effects on the circulation.  When treating aches, pains, inflammation, and stiffness, the practitioner may either place needles directly into the affected area, locally stimulating blood flow, or into distal points along the meridians which open up the area for increased blood flow.  Muscles relax, pain and inflammation are decreased, and circulation is improved, which helps the injured area to recover and heal.

Though it is most famous for its role in pain management, acupuncture has many other benefits. It can moderate the effects of stress, boost energy levels, improve digestion, enhance fertility, and balance moods, leading to an improved quality of life.

A unique characteristic of TCM theory is the paramount role of emotions in health.  Different emotions correspond directly to identifiable patterns of organ imbalance.  As emotional stresses impact different areas of the body, symptoms such as headaches, stomachaches, shallow breathing, and difficulty sleeping can develop.  Acupuncture along the appropriate meridians can be used to release the emotional stresses from the body and restore emotional and physical well-being.

Is Acupuncture Safe?

Acupuncture is extremely safe.  All needles are sterile, disposable and individually packaged, and rubbing alcohol is always used to clean the skin before needles are inserted.

What Conditions does Acupuncture Treat?

  • Chronic Pain/Stiffness:  Arthritis, Bursitis, Tendonitis, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Tennis Elbow, Knee Pain, Low Back Pain, Heel Pain, Ankle Pain, Shoulder Pain/Frozen Shoulder, Neck Pain, Hip Pain, Sciatica, Calf Cramps, Repetitive Strain Injuries
  • Headaches & Migraines
  • TMJ
  • Post-surgical Pain
  • Trauma pain from acute injuries, including post-concussion syndrome
  • Women’s Health: PMS,  Menstrual Cramps, Irregular Menstruation, PCOS, Uterine Fibroids, Endometriosis, Perimenopause, Post-menopause, Infertility, Pregnancy Support, Labor Induction, Low Milk Production
  • Sleep problems
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Anxiety & Depression
  • Stress
  • Asthma
  • Allergies & Sinusitis
  • Digestive Issues:  Nausea, Vomiting, Acid Reflux, Constipation, Diarrhea, IBS, Ulcerative Colitis, Peptic Ulcers, Gastritis
  • Quit Smoking
  • Addiction Recovery
  • Weight Loss
  • Skin Issues:  Eczema, Psoriasis, Acne
  • Bell’s Palsy
  • Sore Throat & Laryngitis
  • Cough
  • Cold & flu
  • Eye pain & twitching
  • Ear pain
  • Stroke Rehabilitation
  • Complementary care in cancer treatment to improve immunity and ameliorate side effects of chemotherapy & radiation
  • Pediatric issues, including ADHD
  • Wellness & preventative care, “tuneups” for seasonal transitions

What is Ear Acupuncture?  

Ear acupuncture, also known as auriculotherapy, is another method of accessing parts of the body through distal points.  Every area on the body maps out to a very precise spot on the ear.  Auriculotherapy is especially useful in helping people quit smoking, lose weight, and recover from addictions, using a combination of 5 auricular points known as the NADA protocol.    Auriculotherapy was developed and popularized in France in the 1950′s, but it is now used in China and worldwide.

What is Electroacupuncture?

Some types of muscle and joint injury respond more quickly to acupuncture when a fine electrical current is applied to the needles using a special stimulation unit.  It is also useful for stroke rehabilitation.

How Should I Prepare For My Treatment?

It’s best to wear comfortable, loose fitting clothes to an acupuncture session. It’s recommended to come within a few hours of a meal or a snack, as getting acupuncture on an empty stomach can make one more prone to dizziness.  If it’s cold outside, make sure you have adequate protection against the cold weather, such as a scarf and a hat, in order to keep yourself cozy and warm after the treatment.

How Many Visits Will I Need?

This depends on many factors.  Mild or newly present symptoms usually feel much better after just one or two treatments.  Longer-term, more chronic conditions may take a series of 5 to 10 treatments to see lasting results.  Fertility enhancement is a longer-term process which may take several months/cycles of treatment.  Generally speaking, conditions which took a longer time to develop will take longer to treat, but there is a lot of individual variation, and some people respond remarkably quickly.  Once a condition has subsided, it’s still recommended to come in for an occasional tuneup to prevent symptoms from recurring and to keep the systems functioning at their best.

Melissa checking a patient's tongue