General Acupuncture FAQ
What is acupuncture?
Let's first define the terms. 'Acupuncture' comes from the Latin 'acus' (point) and 'punctura' (to prick)
From Webster's online dictionary:
Main Entry: acu·punc·ture
An originally Chinese practice of inserting fine needles through the skin at specific points especially to cure disease or relieve pain.
This seems as good a quick definition as any. We'll offer up another with a little more detail:
Acupuncture is one of the oldest, most common and dependable medical therapies used in the world. It is by nature simple, safe and effective health care. Acupuncture practitioners use thin, sterile disposable needles inserted superficially into specific areas of the body in order to help the body's ability to heal itself.
Over the three decades or so in which acupuncture has gained popularity in the United States, it has been proven by an increasing body of scientific evidence to be not only exceptionally safe, but statistically effective as well.
Why would I want to get acupuncture?
People get acupuncture for many different reasons. For our purposes, we'll offer two main answers to this question.
B) In addition, we'll offer up a list of 'no-brainer' conditions – that is, situations that should absolutely be treated with acupuncture without hesitation:
Athletic sprain/strain, acute back and/or neck strain, temporal mandibular disorder (TMJ), Bell's palsy, headaches (including migraines), palpitations, early stages of cold/flu, asthma, tendinitis, arthritis, insomnia (poor sleep), Raynaud's, anxiety, high levels of stress, addictions, irritable bowel syndrome, reflux, hemorrhoids, many gynecological issues (including PMS), herpes zoster (shingles) and pre-/post-surgery for accelerated healing.
Do I have to believe in this for it to work?
Absolutely not. You only have to believe enough to show up a few times in order to give yourself the chance to see positive changes.
Do acupuncturists have to hold to some religious beliefs that I don't know about?
No. Acupuncturists come from as many varied traditions of faith as your local banker, car mechanic or hair dresser. Acupuncture is born of philosophical traditions, not religious. It is given and received many thousands of times every day by Christians, Buddhists, Jews, Hindus, Muslims and atheists among others.
Do the needles hurt?
Not really much at all. However, getting an acupuncture treatment isn't always painless. More than anything a treatment should be a deeply relaxing and sleepy slice of time for you.
Will I have to come get acupuncture forever to keep feeling good?
Likely not, but this also depends on the reason(s) you're getting treated in the first place.
Do you sterilize your needles?
When people ask this, we think there may be an assumption that we are re-using needles. This is not the case at all. For the last 15-20 years, acupuncturists have used one-time use, sterilized, disposable needles as the industry standard. So there is no re-using of needles even from one part of the body to another.
Why do I feel sleepy once the needles are in?
To be honest, we're not sure. There have been many attempts at explaining why this happens and why acupuncture works in general. Our sense is, the presence of the needles causes our central nervous system to move into a clear pattern of rest (parasympathetic), allowing for our quickest healing and recovery to take place. Not unlike when we sleep at night.
What are you injecting through the needles to make this work?
Nothing. And we couldn't if we tried. Needles that acupuncturists use are a filiform type, which means they are solid, not hollow like the type of needles 'shots' are given through (hypodermic syringe).