DOES ACUPUNCTURE HURT?
When performed by a skilled practitioner it should not hurt. One may have a brief sensation like a mosquito bite - a quick pinch and then it's gone. During the treatment, where needles are placed, the area can feel achy, warm or tingly which are indications of the presence of "Qi". A typical treatment will consist of 10-15 needles.
WHAT CONDITIONS CAN BE TREATED WITH ACUPUNCTURE?
On the Acupuncture Services page is a link to a list of conditions published by the World Health Organization. It is important to note that acupuncture does so much more than just relieve symptoms associated with a particular condition. It is also a common misconception that acupuncture only treats pain. Acupuncture treats the whole person - body, mind and spirit and one can see a licensed acupuncturist for any condition for which they would consider seeing their general doctor. Many people also receive acupuncture for wellness and disease prevention.
HOW MANY TREATMENTS WILL I NEED?
Every condition is approached differently, but it is usually recommend that for physical conditions, clients have at least 3 treatments and then evaluate progress. Fertility clients should start treatments as soon as able and ideally, continue for 3 months as that is the amont of time necessary to see positive changes in follicles and sperm. Each session lasts for about an hour and the progress of each one builds upon the next so consistency is important to yield the greatest results.
I AM AFRAID OF NEEDLES. CAN I STILL BENEFIT?
Absolutely. Acupuncture is just one branch of Chinese Medicine and in practice more than just needles are frequently used. Examples include cupping, moxabustion, the use of essential oils and other linaments, electro-stimulation, gua sha, herbal therapy and other non-needle therapies to promote healing. Non-needle techniques are also great for children!
DOES ACUPUNCTURE HAVE SIDE EFFECTS?
Yes. Better sleep, more energy, mental clarity, less stress and better digestion among others. How does that sound?
Here is an example of a real client: A woman came for treatment for fertility. She reported significant constipation and a bowel movement occurring about once a week and that had been her experience for years. She presented as being very tense and had a difficult time relaxing during the treatment. At the next session she reported having a bowel movement almost every day that week!
While acupuncture has very few risks and negative side effects, one can experience a temporary small black and blue mark where the needle was placed. This does not happen often and when ot does, it might be on just one point out of all the different points needled during the session. I will ask you what medications you take, whether or not you are pregnant or have a pacemaker among other things to ensure your safety and will educate you about all potential risks, no matter how rare.
WHAT KIND OF TRAINING DO LICENSED ACUPUNCTURISTS HAVE?
After earning a minimum of 60 college credits, one can apply to an acupuncture school accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM). Depending on the course of study, one will graduate with either a Master's degree in Acupuncture (3 years) or a Master's degree in Oriental Medicine (4 years). So to receive a degree in Oriental Medicine will require 6 years of full time study during which not only is the history and practice of Traditional Chinese Medicine learned including herbal therapy, but also that of Western Medicine through many courses in biology, chemistry, anatomy and physiology among others. In addition, 400 hours of providing direct care to others is also required to graduate. After passing 3-4 national board exams one can then apply to their State for licensure as an Acupuncturist. Following an additional 22 credits of study post graduation focused on integrative medicine and evidence based practice, acupuncturists can now earn a Doctoral degree. Some programs have begun to combine the Master's and Doctoral programs so one can start acupuncture school and graduate with a Doctorate.
Some states allow for the use of acupuncture needles by medical doctors, chiropractors and physical therapists following a very short course of education. Sometimes just a weekend. The ability to use acupuncture needles does not imply licensure and the title "certified acupuncturist" does not exist. The only designation is "L.Ac." and that will let you know a practitioner is State licensed and has met all the rigourous educational and examination requirements in order to practice expertly, ethically and safely.