Most patients report a feeling of little to no pain upon insertion of an acupuncture needle. Acupuncture needles are hair-thin needles used to elicit your body’s natural healing process. This is much different than what you may have experienced when getting a shot at the doctor’s office. My gentle needling style will leave you feeling relaxed during the treatment. So much so, that many patients are able to doze off during the treatment.
There are many ways to stimulate the acupuncture points and channels that do not involve the traditional acupuncture needle. This can be done using a contact needle with a blunt end that is not inserted, heat (moxibustion technique), Tui Na massage techniques, acupressure, gua sha stimulation, cupping, magnets, or electrical stimulation. Don’t know what all those techniques are? Don’t worry, we can talk through what they are and how they may be able to help you when crafting a treatment plan for you.
Studies have shown that acupuncture is effective for many conditions. This is because the diagnostic tools used in Chinese Medicine rely on a complete review of your symptoms, not an isolated look at your chief complaint. Chinese Medicine uses diagnostic principles unique from western medicine. This allows the practitioner to evaluate the patient using repeatable patterns across different western diagnoses. It’s important to note that for all conditions treated, progress is monitored to identify if treatments are right for you.

I also want to mention that acupuncture is promoted as wellness and preventative medicine because it treats conditions that are not considered serious or even problems in Western Medicine. Let’s say you’re an adult who started having nightmares. That’s your body telling you that something is wrong, but you aren’t going to schedule a doctor appointment to tell them that you’re having scary dreams. Instead of dealing with these inconveniences and accepting them as normal, seek help with Chinese Medicine. These small problems are your body asking for help and warning of a potentially larger problem arising with your health.

Modern research is starting to recognize the benefits as well. National Institutes of Health (NIH) studies have demonstrated effectiveness in treating: Addiction, Asthma, Carpal tunnel syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Headaches, Low back pain, Menstrual cramps, Nausea (chemotherapy or surgical anesthesia-induced), Osteoarthritis, and Stroke rehabilitation. Just to name a few.
The big question! This can get very complex looking at the different mechanisms affected by the simple insertion of acupuncture needles. The simple way I prefer to answer the question is that acupuncture helps stimulate the natural healing process using the body’s own resilience. Treatments focus on balancing, harmonizing, and regulating different systems in the body.

Acupuncture is one of the oldest, and most commonly used healing systems in the world. It is over 2,000 years old and was based largely on observational research. We now have more advanced tools to break down the mechanisms of healing using a new lens, which is very exciting and has fostered acceptance with insurance payers and integrated medicine into health systems all over the world. Leveraging the scientific method, we are always expanding our knowledge of the human body, providing new insights into treatment. This is all good! Having said that, I think it’s important to remember the important lesson of intellectual humility. There is mysticism in life and health that cannot always be explained. This remains true even with a scientific approach and appreciation for research.

With that said, modern research has been able to demonstrate many of the mechanisms of this ancient healing method showing increased blood flow and circulation using doppler ultrasound, noting observable changes in the brain using fMRI scans, and revealing reduced inflammation using thermal imaging technology. It specifically activates the nervous system to release endorphins and endogenous opiates and increases blood circulation making it a beneficial treatment for a wide range of health conditions.
The first step, relax. Complete the new patient paperwork from the secure link provided in your email. Feel free to write down any questions you may have, as I want to put your mind at ease regarding the treatment plan. Wear loose comfortable clothing or bring them with you to change. Finally, between visits, try to make note of any changes that may have occurred.
Your initial acupuncture appointment will be scheduled for 90 minutes. Much of that time we will be discussing your health history and better understanding your health goals and preferences for treatment. Treatment will be administered once intake is complete. Follow-up treatments are also scheduled for 45-60 minutes with more of the time dedicated to the treatment.
The number of treatments will vary for each patient. I will give some general information since everyone responds a little differently. We will talk more specifically when crafting your individual treatment plan.

If you have an acute injury, it will likely take 4-6 weeks for recovery with weekly treatments. You may feel better sooner, but it’s important to give the body proper time to heal before going back to high-impact activities. However, if you have had chronic sleep issues or for a decade, the recovery will likely take longer. We may create a 6-week plan, re-evaluate progress, and then create a subsequent plan. I want you to always feel comfortable with the process and have short-term and long-term goals articulated.
Treatment frequency depends on many factors; including, your constitution, severity of the problem, duration of the problem, and even your schedule. The best analogy I’ve heard is comparing treatments to pushing a swing. Meaning, you may need more treatments initially, prior to reaching a healthy baseline, and then the frequency can be tapered to monthly, or whenever another issue arises.