How does acupuncture work?

Systemic balance (homeostasis) is critical to one’s health and wellness, and any imbalance can result in complications such as pain, illness, injury or stress. Acupuncture helps restore one’s nature balance so organ and body systems can work together in harmony. A harmonious system sets the stage for the body to repair itself and maintain its own optimal health.

From a Western medicine perspective, research has shown that acupuncture treatment triggers different physiological responses, such as:

  • Stimulating the immune system and increasing white blood cells, which defend the body against infection.
  • Regulating blood sugar metabolism, which helps the body use energy more efficiently.
  • Increasing blood circulation and producing beneficial changes in blood pressure; Decreasing cholesterol and triglycerides.
  • Increasing stomach peristaltic activity and regulating digestive fluids, thereby improving digestion.
  • Regulating and stimulating serotonin, a neurotransmitter that is directly related to sleep, appetite, and moods.
  • Increasing the availability of receptors in the brain that process and weaken pain signals.
  • Affecting both the brain’s short- and long-term ability to reduce pain sensation.

What conditions can acupuncture help?

Acupuncture is extremely successful in the treatment of a multitude of conditions. The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified approximately 40 diseases that are effectively treated with acupuncture. However Chinese Medicine is a complete medical system that is capable of diagnosing and effectively treating a wide range of conditions including but certainly not limited to:

Pain: Lower back/neck pain, sciatica, migraines and headaches in general, TMJ, joint pain.

Respiratory: Colds/ flu, asthma, bronchitis, sinus infections/headaches, allergies, earaches.

Gynecological: Infertility, PMS, PID, vaginitis, irregular menstruation, cramps, irregular uterine bleeding, menopausal syndrome, morning sickness, difficult labor, urinary difficulties, impotence.

Digestive: Nausea and vomiting, ulcers, irritable bowels/colitis, hemorrhoids, diabetes, acute and chronic gastritis, bloating constipation and diarrhea.

Mental/Emotional: Anxiety, stress, depression, insomnia, heart palpitations, panic attacks.

In addition, acupuncture can safely treat side effects of chemotherapy, be used as an immune support and help with imbalances such as chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia.

Does acupuncture hurt?

On the contrary, an acupuncture treatment is generally very relaxing. Acupuncture needles are hair-like thin and fine, unlike the more familiar hypodermic needles. While there can be a particular sensation after the needles are inserted, few would call it pain. Due to the acupuncture needles being so fine and the swiftness of the insertion, the pain reflexes on the nerve endings are not even stimulated. There are some areas of the body that will always be more sensitive including the fingers, toes and palms, but it’s generally nothing more than a quick little prick. By the time all the needles are inserted, you generally do not feel any of them and are consumed with a sense of calm relaxation.

What can I expect during my first visit?

For your first appointment, be sure to wear loose comfortable clothing, and wear minimal scents or makeup. It’s a good idea to eat something, at least one hour before-hand. During your first visit, we will discuss the main reasons for your visit, discuss your health history, lifestyle, diet, health and habits. I will take your pulse and look at your tongue, two tools I use for diagnostic purposes. The more information I know about your health, the more I can help you. The first visit usually lasts about 90 minutes and the follow-ups are about 60 minutes. Needles are retained for about 25-30 minutes. There’s a heat lamp, music and dim lighting. It’s very relaxing and many people fall asleep for a restorative power nap. The benefits of acupuncture start immediately. After your first treatment, many report they experience an excellent night of sleep, higher energy, more focus, less stress and a reduction in pain.

How often will I need treatment?

Most people see an acupuncturist once or twice a week in the beginning depending upon their circumstance. The exact duration of treatment varies on a case-by-case basis, and depends on the condition, your basic level of health and how well you respond to acupuncture. Usually more frequent treatments are needed for the first few weeks. After that, the frequency of treatment may be reduced as wellness is restored. Average cases take around 6-10 treatments to resolve, while more challenging chronic cases can take 10+. Most of my clients find acupuncture is very useful as a preventive maintenance, and receive treatment on a monthly basis to keep and maintain optimal health.

Are the needles safe?

All the needles that I use are solid, single use, sterilized and disposable stainless steel in accordance with the national standard for Clean Needle Technique.

Do you have to be certified to practice acupuncture?

Yes. The state of Georgia has guidelines for the practice of acupuncture. It requires completion of an accredited graduate degree program and passing of the NCCAOM national board examination. The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine is a not-for-profit organization that establishes, assesses, and promotes recognized standards of competence and safety in the field of acupuncture and Oriental medicine for the protection and benefit of the public. The M.Ac., L.Ac., Dipl.Ac. after my name stands for Masters of Acupuncture, Licensed Acupuncturist and Diplomat of Acupuncture. My Georgia license number is 333.