Frequently Asked Questions

How does acupuncture work?

The modern scientific explanation is that needling the acupuncture point stimulates the nervous system to release chemicals in the muscles, spinal cord, and brain. These chemicals will either change the experience of pain, or they will trigger the release of other chemicals and hormones which influence the body's own internal regulating system. 

Does acupuncture hurt?

While the experience will be different for everyone, the insertion of acupuncture needles usually doesn't cause much discomfort or pain. When the needle reaches the depth of the point, it may produce a sensation of soreness, heaviness, distention, or slight numbness. These are all considered normal and what we call the "arrival of Qi".  Points at the extremities, like toes and fingers can sometimes be a little sharp, but the sensation is usually brief.

Are there any side effects to acupuncture?

Usually not.  Occasionally the original symptoms worsen for a few days, or other general changes in appetite, sleep, bowel, or urination patterns, or emotional state may be triggered.  These should not cause concern, as they are simply indications that the acupuncture is starting to work.  

How many treatments will I need?

The effects of acupuncture varies from person to person. An average treatment plan involves 8 to 10 treatments, although improvements are generally noticed within a few treatments. For complex or long-standing conditions, one or two treatments a week for several months may be recommended.  For acute problems, usually fewer visits are required.