More FAQs About Acupuncture


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What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is one of the branches of Traditional Oriental Medicine (TOM). Acupuncture involves the use of small, sterile needles (about as thick as a human hair) inserted shallowly into the skin at specific points on the body. Qi (pronounced: chee) is the universal life energy, it is carried throughout the body in channels called meridians and is accessed through the acupuncture points. This treatment can help to move, strengthen, or balance the Qi. Each acupuncture treatment is tailored to the body’s individual needs.

What is Oriental medicine?

Oriental medicine is a complete system of medicine including acupuncture, herbal medicine, tui na (therapeutic massage), moxibustion (use of an herb to warm the body), feng shui (the art of placement), tai qi (Chinese exercises), and meditation. Traditional Oriental Medicine is a complete system of medicine that has been practiced in for over 2500 years.

How does acupuncture work?

Clinical studies have documented acupuncture’s biomedical effects. It has been found that acupuncture regulates the nervous system, aiding the activity of endorphins and immune system cells at specific points throughout the body.

What does acupuncture feel like?

Acupuncture, when performed correctly, is pain-free. A small pinch may be felt upon insertion of the needle. Some people report feeling a tingling sensation or pressure at the location of the needle, others report feeling nothing.

Is acupuncture safe?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved acupuncture needles for use by licensed practitioners in 1996. The FDA requires that sterile, nontoxic needles be used and that they be labeled for single use by qualified practitioners only.

Can acupuncture help me to stay healthy?

Yes! Acupuncture is incredibly effective at bringing the body into balance and strengthening the immune system.

What should I look for in a qualified acupuncturist?

Because Traditional Oriental Medicine is such a complex medicine, be sure to seek treatment from a qualified professional. Your acupuncturist should have a Masters Degree in Traditional Oriental or Chinese Medicine, or Acupuncture which includes a minimum of 2,000 hours of training. They should be nationally certified by the NCCAOM (National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine) and they should be licensed in the state in which you are seeking treatment. The most commonly used abbreviations are: L.Ac. (licensed acupuncturist) and Dip.L.Ac. (diplomat of acupuncture). As with any health care professional, if you do not feel that you are receiving the quality of care you deserve, seek treatment elsewhere.

What does a treatment involve?

A typical treatment will include a patient intake, placement of acupuncture needles, and possible application of adjunctive modalities such as moxibustion, cupping or gua sha. After the treatment, exercise or dietary recommendations are made and herbs are prescribed if indicated. (A qualified practitioner will know if herbs are contraindicated for use with specific medications)

How many treatments will I need?

A usual course of treatments is 5 to 10 treatments. While individual healing responses vary, acute conditions tend to resolve more quickly and chronic conditions need more time and patience. Most people feel some relief from symptoms after the first or second treatments. However a good rule of thumb for chronic conditions; it takes one month of treatments for every year you have had the condition. Please be patient with your body as it works to find health and balance.

What does acupuncture treat?

Acupuncture treats many things. At The Ridge we treat a lot of pain; back, neck, shoulder, knee as well as fertility, pregnancy, digestive complaints, computer related fatigue and allergies.

In a report, Acupuncture: Review and Analysis of Reports on Controlled Clinical Trials, the World Health Organization (WHO) has recognized the following conditions that have been shown, through clinical trials to be effectively treated by acupuncture:

  • low back pain, neck pain, knee pain
  • sciatica
  • tennis elbow
  • periarthritis of the shoulder
  • sprains
  • facial pain (including craniomandibular disorders)
  • headache
  • dental pain
  • tempromandibular (TMJ) dysfunction
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • induction of labor
  • correction of malposition of the fetus (breech presentation)
  • morning sickness
  • nausea and vomiting
  • postoperative pain
  • stroke
  • essential hypertension and primary hypotension
  • renal colic
  • leucopenia
  • adverse reactions to radiation or chemotherapy
  • allergic rhinitis, including hay fever
  • biliary colic
  • depression (including depressive neurosis and depression following stroke)
  • acute bacillary dysentery
  • primary dysmenorrhea (painful menses)
  • acute epigastralgia
  • peptic ulcer
  • acute and chronic gastritis