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  • What is Acupuncture?
    Acupuncture is an ancient form of holistic, natural healing that originated in China over 2000 years ago. Acupuncture involves the insertion and manipulation of hair-thin needles into specific points in the body, known as acupuncture points. By needling the acupuncture points, the practitioner is able to access and manipulate the body’s acupuncture channels. By detecting and treating imbalances in the channels, an acupuncturist is able to treat and prevent disease. Contrary to recent Western misconceptions, the acupuncture channels are not simply “energetic” or “imaginary” lines in the body. Recent medical investigation has revealed that acupuncture channels may in fact be located in the connective tissue that holds the body together, the fascia. For more on this see “How does acupuncture work?” below. Acupuncture is a real, physical medicine. But then how can it treat things like depression and anxiety? Chinese philosophy, like most philosophies prior to Descartes (d. 1649), viewed the mind and body as existing on a continuum. This means that, by treating imbalances in the body, we automatically treat the mind, and, by extension, our whole human experience. Acupuncture is an individualized medicine. Every person is unique, even if they have the same diagnosis as someone else. Acupuncture hones in on the details about you, your condition, and your life; it’s always tailored to your needs. Everyone gets different points, specially chosen for them. Acupuncture is a dynamic and evolving medicine. On a different day, you might even get different points. Because people are dynamic and changing, and medicine needs to change with them. Acupuncture is both ancient and modern. Acupuncture has gone through many changes in the thousands of years it's been around, and takes many shapes in the modern age. Acupuncture is an ancient medicine that changes to meet our modern lifestyle, our modern diseases, and our modern world. Try acupuncture today.
  • Does Acupuncture hurt?
    The short answer is: No, acupuncture does not hurt! But the long answer is: it depends. Here’s the thing: during the course of an acupuncture session, you’re going to experience a lot of things that you’ve never experienced before. And, depending on what your health goals are, the treatments will feel different, since different conditions need different treatments. For example, if you have really tight, sore muscles, then we can use acupuncture needles to release those muscles. But, just like when you get a really deep massage for those tight muscles, and it feels strong, intense, and (some might say) painful - but in a good way? An acupuncture treatment can cause some of those same feelings. That said: we can always tailor the amount of stimulation to your needs as a patient. At our clinic, we offer many styles of acupuncture and many approaches, and we can even avoid using needles entirely. For needle-sensitive patients or those averse to needle sensations, we use Japanese acupuncture, which is incredibly gentle, subtle, and pain-free. We are flexible, responsive, and our goal is to meet you where you’re at. So, don’t let fear of needles stop you from achieving your health goals. Try acupuncture today!
  • Is Acupuncture safe? Are the needles sterile?
    Acupuncture is an extremely safe form of medicine when practiced by a properly educated, experienced, and licensed practitioner. Compared to conventional Western medicine, where adverse events, allergic reactions, and other similar issues are commonplace, acupuncture has very few documented injuries and other adverse events. Many of the documented adverse events occur as a result of untrained or undertrained individuals practicing acupuncture. We only use single-use acupuncture needles made out of surgical steel, pre-sterilized at the factory prior to packaging, and disposed of immediately after use. A mandatory part of acupuncture education and licensure is becoming nationally certified by the Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (CCAOM) in Clean Needle Technique (CNT). CNT is the gold standard for preventing the spread of infections in the practice of acupuncture. In short, when acupuncture is performed by a trained, licensed acupuncturist, there’s nothing to worry about!
  • Does Acupuncture work?
    Acupuncture works by using needles, massage, moxibustion, and other therapies at specifically chosen points on the body (acupuncture points) to affect the acupuncture channels. The classical literature refers to the manipulation of Qi (pronounced “chee”) and Blood at these acupuncture points. The Chinese medical idea of Blood encompasses what you usually think of as blood, but encompasses a lot more. Qi is an untranslatable concept that is often poorly rendered as “energy” or “life-force,” but really encompasses a lot more. The idea of Qi is the idea of a relationship between two things. The lungs, in the act of breathing, draw in air. But it isn’t the air that nourishes our cells, it is the relationship between the air and our body, our lungs (Da Qi). Everything in the world is in relationship to everything else. By closely examining and understanding these relationships, in nature and in our own body, we can then diagnose and treat the imbalances in these relationships that cause sickness and disease. Acupuncture works by altering the way we relate to ourselves and our world. Of course, this idea doesn’t fit neatly into Western medical terms. There are a variety of theories about how acupuncture works in Western medicine. The oldest theory, that acupuncture is simply the stimulation of nerves, fails to explain most of acupuncture’s action, and falls apart when we realize that most of the acupuncture points aren’t near major nerves. The Gate control theory is a variation on the nerve theory, that states that when acupuncture stimulates non-pain nerves in a local area, it inhibits the transmission of pain signals to the brain. This explains acupuncture’s powerful effects on pain, but has trouble explaining its well-researched effects on nausea and other conditions. The Microtrauma theory states that, when a needle is inserted into a injured area, it causes microscopic damage that triggers the body’s natural healing mechanisms, allowing old injuries to heal. This theory, again, only explains acupuncture’s effect on pain. The Neurotransmitter theory states that acupuncture stimulates the release of neurotransmitters like endorphins that relieve pain and enhance one’s sense of overall well-being. However, deeper research reveals that only certain acupuncture points cause the body to release endorphins. Further, acupuncture’s effects are much more specific and controllable than the general release of neurotransmitters. There are a variety of other theories of how acupuncture works, including the vascular interstitial theory, the blood chemistry theory, the autonomic nervous system theory. However, none are as compelling as the Fascial theory of acupuncture. The Fascial theory is unique because it examines acupuncture on its own terms. Rather than trying to explain away the channels, it searches for them in the body; and it finds them! The acupuncture channels are found as continuous areas of reduced electrical resistivity and increased conductivity in the connective tissue. The dynamic piezo-electric properties of fascia explain why massage and especially needling are so effective at manipulating the fascia, and thus, the whole body. This means that, when a point is needled on your leg to affect your stomach, it is likely that the connective tissue at that seemingly random point on your leg is directly connected to the connective tissue around your stomach. But whatever theory you subscribe to, and however you look at it, Acupuncture works!
  • Is there any scientific evidence for acupuncture?
    Yes! There is a mounting body of scientific evidence that proves that acupuncture works, and often works better than anything else available. The World Health Organization (WHO), an agency of the United Nations, released a monumental position statement in 2003 on acupuncture. Having reviewed the evidence available, the WHO determined that acupuncture was effective for a number of conditions. For more on this, see “What conditions can acupuncture treat?” below. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recognizes acupuncture as effective for a number of conditions, including back pain, headache, migraines. A wide variety of studies from both Asia and Europe indicate that acupuncture is effective for a number of conditions, including depression, stroke rehabilitation, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and more. However, even though acupuncture works for a condition, that does not mean that acupuncture will be well-researched for that condition. As a result, evidence-based medicine is slow to catch on to how effective acupuncture is for conditions other than pain management. Just as with any other therapy, acupuncture needs to be adequately funded and researched in order to be accepted into mainstream scientific medicine. One of the difficulties with determining what conditions acupuncture is most effective for is that researching acupuncture is more difficult than it initially seems. Acupuncture is an individualized medicine, whereas Western medicine is a standardized medicine. In Western medicine, if someone has the same disease as someone else, they both get the same treatment. In Chinese medicine, we understand that no two people are perfectly alike, and that each person needs a unique, personalized treatment. This and other philosophical differences between the two medicines make it extremely difficult to create effective research studies on acupuncture.
  • What conditions does acupuncture treat?
    Acupuncture and Chinese medicine are a complete medical system. This means that they are capable of treating, relieving the symptoms of, or managing any disease. However, just like other types of medicine, Chinese medicine does not necessarily cure all disease. Sometimes, it helps us cope with the symptoms and emotions involved with terminal illness. Other times, Chinese medicine excels in a team-based approach, where multiple professionals from different medical backgrounds work together to offer you the best possible care. Regardless of your condition, acupuncture can play a major role in your healing process. Specifically, acupuncture is well-known for treating pain, headaches, nausea, side effects of cancer therapy, menstrual cramps, irregular cycles, infertility, auto-immune disease including Lyme, fibromyalgia, allergies, depression, anxiety, insomnia, hypertension, malposition of fetus (breech position), insufficient lactation, and more. The World Health Organization (WHO), an agency of the United Nations, after surveying all of the available research on acupuncture, released a position statement about all the various conditions that acupuncture has been found to be effective for. The British Acupuncture Council condensed this into a list that can be found here. Just because your condition is not on this list does not mean that acupuncture is not effective for it; it just means that at the time of the position statement, there was not yet sufficient research. If you have any questions about whether acupuncture can help you, please contact us.
  • Do I have to believe in Acupuncture for it to work?
    Acupuncture can work for you, whether you believe in it or not. Ask any veterinary acupuncturist—animals benefit tremendously from acupuncture without them having any knowledge of ancient Chinese philosophy! Many of our patients have been skeptical at first, only to become some of the most enthusiastic supporters.
  • Do you do cupping? Are there any needle free treatments available?
    Yes, we do cupping! Cupping is a great way to relax sore muscles, treat digestive issues, gynecological issues, respiratory issues, and more. Cupping has recently become quite famous due to athletes like Michael Phelps using cupping as part of how they maximize athletic performance. Cupping has been around for thousands of years in China, and plays an integral role in Chinese medical therapy. Cupping involves creating a vacuum inside of plastic or glass cups placed on the skin. This suction breaks up adhesions, relaxes connective tissue, and loosens muscles. Cupping brings nourishing blood flow to the area to speed healing and move stagnation, which results in temporary little purple circles on the area treated. Cupping feels great, and is one of our most requested services! Shonishin (“show-nee-shin”) is a Japanese pediatric specialty that is totally needle-free. Shonishin was developed to meet the unique needs of our most sensitive patients, infants and children. It also works great for teens! The practitioner gently strokes differently shaped tools along the acupuncture channels, tapping specific areas, and stimulating specific points. Shonishin is a gentle technique that has amazing results! Kids love it, and it works wonders for everything from ADHD to colic. Moxibustion is the practice of burning the refined leaves of Mugwort (Artemisia argyi), known as moxa, on top of or near the skin at specific acupuncture points. Moxibustion takes a variety of forms, including the very refined form of direct Japanese moxibustion (okyu), burning small balls on the head of acupuncture needles (kyutoshin), or burning moxa rolled into a cigar (“pole moxa”), or in convenient devices like the “tiger warmer”. Moxa is also available in smokeless varieties. Moxa can be used to support the immune system, improve digestion, treat pain, and more. Moxa is used as a warm, soothing adjunct technique. For needle-sensitive patients and where appropriate, moxibustion can be used as a sole treatment instead of acupuncture. We also offer a variety of other needle-free therapies including gua sha, massage, and essential oils.
  • Can I benefit from acupuncture without having any health problems, pain, or symptoms?
    Absolutely! Acupuncture and Chinese medicine work wonderfully as preventative medicine. In fact, the best time to seek treatment is before minor issues develop into chronic problems. Using our refined diagnostic methods, we can even detect and treat imbalances in your body before they become symptomatic. We would love to be part of your health and wellness routine; health is an active process, and the best time to start is now.
  • Does Acupuncture have any side effects?
    Most often, the side effects of acupuncture are positive: reduced stress, relaxation, and an overall sense of well-being. Acupuncture has very few negative side effects, and no serious side effects when performed properly. The most common negative side effect is a small bruise at the site of needle insertion, and even that is fairly rare.
  • How many treatments do I need?
    The required number and frequency of treatments varies dramatically based on each person’s condition, severity of symptoms, constitution, and a variety of other factors. Although some people experience complete relief from one treatment, it is much more common that people need a course of treatments. Unlike in China, Japan, and East Asian countries, where treatment for many conditions happens multiple times per week, the average US patient receives acupuncture on a once-weekly basis. In our clinical experience, this treatment is too infrequent to see the amazing kind of improvement that is possible with East Asian medicine, when applied frequently enough. In order to best serve our patients, we have put great effort into structuring our practice to make this schedule and type of treatment affordable. To find out more, see “How much will this cost me?” below. Depending on the specifics of your condition, we might recommend that you come in multiple times a week for a short period of time, or we might recommend that you come in less frequently for a longer period of time. To find out about your condition, please contact us. Our goal is to help you resolve your condition in as few treatments as possible. Unlike some other healthcare modalities, acupuncture does not require lifelong “maintenance care”—we want you to be completely healed. After we have successfully resolved your condition, you may find that you enjoy regular acupuncture as part of your health and wellness routine. To learn more, see “Can I benefit from acupuncture without any symptoms…” above.
  • How much will this cost me?
    We recognize that different patients have different medical and financial needs. As a result, we accept select insurance plans in network, and can also accept your plan if you have out of network benefits for acupuncture. Our cash rate includes a time of service discount. You can verify your insurance benefits for Acupuncture by clicking here. The standard way that patients pay for acupuncture is by paying by the treatment. This means that the cost will vary with the number of treatments required for your condition. See “How many treatments do I need?” above.
  • Is there anything you should do before your Acupuncture appointment?
    You should wear comfortable, loose fitting clothing for your acupuncture appointment. This will allow us best access to your acupuncture points, and will allow you to relax during treatment. We use the pulse and tongue as diagnostic tools during your appointment. Please don't brush your tongue the morning of your appointment. Similarly, drinking or eating brightly colored foods like matcha, spirulina and turmeric are also best done after your appointment. Please make sure to eat something before your appointment.
  • What to Expect from your Appointment
    Initial Acupuncture Evaluation A 75-90 minute appointment is booked for your first treatment. Our time together will include: ​ A thorough health history In-depth discussion on 1-3 focus areas Acupuncture treatment (may include cupping / gua-sha / e-stim / massage) An herbal prescription may be recommended to the patient A review of current lifestyle, nutrition and supplements as needed Supportive home care and exercises to facilitate healing and lasting relief from symptoms. Repeat Acupuncture Treatments Established patients receive a focused follow-up to address developments in their top areas of concern. ​ A focused health follow-up Acupuncture treatment (may include cupping / gua-sha / e-stim / massage) An herbal prescription may be recommended to the patient ​ You may choose to either pay per session, or opt in to our Monthly Membership for unlimited acupuncture. Please click here for more details.

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