Oriental Medicine and Health Services

Acupuncture

Acupuncture—Frequently Asked Questions

Does Acupuncture really work?

  • Yes, it does
  • Documented successes for over 2000 years
  • The World Health Organization officially recognizes Acupuncture as a genuine healing modality and suitable treatment method for over 200 common clinical disorders

Is Acupuncture safe?

  • Yes, and serious injury is extremely rare
  • Normal risks:
    • Local pain, bruising, bleeding, or hematoma formation
    • Syncope or presyncope - aka needle sickness
  • Risks due to incompetency:
    • Pneumothorax, cardiac trauma, damage to neural and vascular structures, and infection

When should Acupuncture not be used?

  • Needle phobic or uncooperative
  • Positional intolerance
  • Septic or extremely weakened
  • Intoxication, delusions, hallucinations, or extreme paranoia
  • Cellulitis, burns, ulcerations - locally
  • Hemophilia or other severe bleeding disorders

Does Acupuncture hurt?

  • Little or no discomfort with insertion
    • A small pinch-like feeling
    • Free-hand or with a guide tube
  • Qi reaction (deqi arrival of qi)
    • Pressure, ache, distention, tingling, itch, warmth, coolness - local, referred, or radiating
    • Some people feel nothing
    • It is important that the practitioner feel the qi

How do I prepare for a treatment?

  • Be neither on an empty nor a full stomach
  • Do not be intoxicated
  • Try to be relaxed
  • If you have a long or stressful drive, arrive early enough to give yourself time to wind down
  • Schedule minimal mental and physical stress for after the treatment

How many needles do I need?

  • That depends on both the style / experience of the practitioner, and the type of condition
    • Musculoskeletal treatments tend to require more needles, maybe 15-30 depending on the area(s) treated
    • Something like a headache, insomnia, or diarrhea might take 6-12 needles
    • Certain types of treatments only use 1 or 2 needles

How many treatments do I need?

  • That depends on both the type of condition and how well you respond to treatment
  • Acute conditions usually require less treatments, but they should be closer together, sometimes several in one week
  • Chronic conditions usually require more treatments and can be scheduled further apart, such as a week or even more providing progress is still being maintained
  • Some conditions can be "cured" and would require no treatments after the initial course
  • Other conditions may require regular occasional maintenance treatments after the initial course(s) of treatment get the condition under control and out of the acute or severe stage