Physicians in ancient China developed a complete medical system that has survived virtually unchanged for 4,000 years. Chinese Medicine is based on the idea that health comes from creating homeostasis in the body, mind and spirit. As a system of medicine, many modalities are used including acupuncture, herbal medicine, tui-na (medical massage), nutrition, exercise, meditation and stress management tools.

Acupuncture is the insertion of fine, disposable needles in the body at specific points on the body to balance, strengthen and relieve symptoms of disease. Acupuncture theory states that there are energy channels (also known as meridians) that run throughout the body, which when balanced and flowing smoothly give rise to health and vitality. It is only when there is an obstruction or imbalance in the flow of energy that symptoms and disease manifest.

Acupuncture points found along these energy channels have been shown to have a higher electrical conductance than non acupuncture points and a larger concentration of nerves and blood vessels.

Acupuncture points have the ability to alter biochemical and physiological conditions in the body. Scientific research has shown that needling these points works in the following ways:

Reduces stress by stimulating the Parasympathetic Nervous System
Stress has been linked to inflammation, and nearly all health conditions and chronic diseases. Acupuncture helps to mitigate the negative effects of stress on the body by stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system. This part of our central nervous system is the opposite of the ‘fight, flight or freeze’ sympathetic nervous system that is activated during stress. By restoring balance between the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous system, we are able to manage stress better with fewer negative physiological effects.

In addition acupuncture helps regulate many involuntary functions of the parasympathetic nervous system that occur when the body is at rest. These include digestion, elimination, urination, salivation, lacrimation (release of tears) and sexual arousal.

Changes in the endocrine system and brain chemistry
Acupuncture regulates the HPA axis (Hypothalamus- Pituitary- Adrenal) and changes the way that neurotransmitters and neurohormones are released. Stimulation of the HPA axis helps regulate hormones in a number of different health conditions such as infertility, menopausal symptoms, insomnia, thyroid disorders, adrenal fatigue, depression, anxiety and other stress related disorders.

Neurotransmitters like serotonin, and neurohormones like endorphins released during acupuncture relieve pain, regulate emotions and help promote a general sense of well being.

Changes in blood flow
Acupuncture increases circulation and can stimulate blood flow to a particular area, which explains how it helps to reduce pain, promote healing and restore normal function.

Release of opioids
Opioids are chemicals naturally released by the body that reduce the sensation of pain. Research has found that during acupuncture several types of opioids are released.

Additional documented effects of acupuncture include decreased inflammation, increased T cell and NK (Natural Killer) cells to benefit the immune system.

Acupuncture is extremely relaxing. Most patients report resting deeply during their treatment.

No. Acupuncture stimulates physiological self-healing mechanisms in the body and will work whether you believe it will or not. For example, the benefits of acupuncture have been proven for animals like horses, dogs, cats that probably don’t believe in acupuncture.

Acupuncture is a highly safe form of medicine. Risks are very rare, but may include bruising, fainting, muscle spasms, bleeding, nerve damage (extremely rare) and punctured organs (extremely rare).

Most common side effects include improved energy levels and sleep, less colds and flus, and better ability to deal with stress and emotions.

Most patients report feeling very little to no discomfort upon insertion of the needle. I am gentle in my approach and tend to use as few as needles possible. When the needle has reached the correct stimulus, the patient might feel some slight pressure, distension, tingling or cramping either around the needle or anywhere along the stimulated channel. If any sensation occurs it generally only lasts a few seconds.

Absolutely. Acupuncture is so different than any other needle experience you’ve had it’s likely that your fear will quickly dissipate. I will help you breathe deep through any needle-phobia you may have.

It depends upon the nature of the problem, the location of the point selected, the patient’s size, age, and constitution. Depth is determined by the acupuncturtist’s expertise. Generally needles are inserted from ¼ to 1 inch deep and left in place for 20-30 minutes.

Yes. Licensed acupuncturists are required by law to use only sterilized, individually packaged, disposable needles.

For your initial consultation, your acupuncturist will first talk with you about your general health. You will be asked not only about the condition you are coming in for, but also about other areas of your health. Since acupuncture is a holistic medicine, we will talk comprehensively about your health including you medical history, diet, lifestyle, sleeping patterns, stress levels, and emotional state.

After your consultation, you will be given an acupuncture treatment. Most people find acupuncture extremely relaxing. Once the needles have been inserted, you will rest for 25 -30 minutes.

It is helpful if you wear loose, comfortable clothing for acupuncture. This enables your acupuncturist to easily reach acupuncture points on your body. Have a small meal or snack before you arrive so that you don’t arrive hungry.

Depending on the condition, results from acupuncture can come immediately after treatment, within a few days of treatment or after a few successive treatments.

Most people feel relaxed during and after acupuncture. Since acupuncture restores the body to promote healing, it is best to not do strenuous exercise within a few hours of your treatment.

Number and frequency of treatments varies with each patient. For most conditions, a series of several treatments is necessary to achieve maximum result. After your initial consultation, your acupuncturist will provide you with treatment plan including frequency and duration of treatment

Appointment times may vary depending on your condition. For your first visit, plan for 75-90 minutes. For subsequent treatments, plan for 60-75 minutes.