Acupuncture is a traditional and holistic medicine that began in Eurasia. It uses small needles to effect change in the body. As anything, the long history of acupuncture (TCM) & herbal medicine is filled with many twists. For ourselves & many like minded colleagues we focus on the modern insights & applications of these time tested therapies. We primarily utilize methods supported by current research which target pain & the musculosketal body (muscles, fascia, nerves, conductivity, etc.). We specialize in stress & energy, back & neck pain. We then use herbal medicines to supplement. Investigations have proven acupuncture to be effective for pain, stress & a variety of chronic issues such as digestive disorders. The World Health Organization & many nationalized programs around the globe support its use. Most recently the American Medical Association has (finally!) acknowledged acupuncture for back pain--while also grudgingly admitting that their methods, including opioids & surgery, have not been very successful.
Ongoing research continues to demonstrate the various ways these needling procedures work scientifically thereby opening more doors into the medical community & mainstream medicine. In some respects it need not be so complicated! If you have ever rubbed a sore spot on your arm, in a very simplistic sense you demonstrate some of acupuncture's efficacy.
Does it hurt?
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Acupuncture modulates the nervous system. To that end it is possible to utilize other tools to initiate a therapeutic response. However, usually an acupuncture needle is still the first, best option. Most people quite normally do not like the idea of something poking them! But most picture a sharp, wide phlebotomy needle or syringe, like at a hospital. When they think of acupuncture, then, they are not only thinking of a metal type object--that draws blood!--but they also probably have a memory of being in a weird place. While some needles are thicker or longer than others, traditional acupuncture needles are not only extremely small but they are not usually stiff. You can feel them a little bit but it is most often like a small pinch. Most people once they are familiar with the experience do not think acupuncture is even uncomfortable.
For all therapies our goal is to be as painless as possible. Many times there is little sensation. We prep or massage the area or use heat or ice packs or TENS electrical stimulation beforehand & or afterwards. We can use some topical analgesics. We let you know what is going on until you get comfortable.
How does it work?
Traditional healers knew nothing about nerves or electrical conductivity or neurotransmitters yet acupuncture works in all such ways. The old Masters called these "activities" qi. Acupuncture can loosen muscles. It can decrease pain. It can increase circulation. It can increase immunity. Our bodies are extremely interconnected.
When needles are put into certain specific points they can induce calm or reduce nausea, to list a few effects. They do this in large part by triggering the body's innate ability, whether via nerves or hormones or both. This activity communicates along energetic channels internally. These "channels" or avenues themselves may be in poor health or blocked, or at minimum may indicate internal dysfunction which we address externally.
Acupuncture is not a cure all. From our perspective & given the growing aging population as well as our relative lack of success in addressing pain, it behooves us to focus almost exclusively on that need. We are not aiming to replace your family MD or your hospital or whomever cares for you. We are just part of the puzzle.
Like any medicine, some people find treatments less effective for them at times. This could be due to infrequent or missed treatments or inconsistent herbal supplementation. Sometimes the same issue comes back. This might be due to occupational hazards: stress, busy work schedule, poor shoes. At such moments it is important for all of us to reassess the situation together. Occasionally some individuals are not quite as receptive to pain reduction. Yet most people will see improvements.
Acupuncture is the de-facto name of our field as well as the name of our primary method, so it can be confusing to some when they learn that in addition to our small needles we use herbs, sports tape, electricity, etc. Acupuncturists are trained in traditional Chinese methods of nutrition, herbal applications & body work techniques in addition to being trained in western styled assessments. Obviously acupuncture is not just needles, especially in our clinic where we offer naturopathic therapies, nutritional guidance, postural and weight analysis as well as medications. We can help order blood work too!
Acupuncture is very safe. It is not without risk but on the whole you are unlikely to receive any serious injury either with needles, herbal therapies or body work. Acupuncture exposes patients to fewer dangers than with care received in big box medical settings. However, all needles carry the risk of some occasional bleeding or bruising or possible infection. It is technically possible to receive a pneumothorax via acupuncture needle though extremely uncommon. Needles can aggravate or damage nerves if utilized incorrectly, but this is also unusual. One can feel dizzy or nauseous during needling or after. One should always proceed with caution while pregnant.
Herbs are very natural products. This does NOT mean they should be used exactly like food--or candy. Many natural things are bad for you! We take herbal medicines extremely seriously and expect patients to do the same. However, unlike allopathic pharmaceuticals, the ingredients of traditional herbal remedies are not broken down to just the active or concentrated elements. They are more naturally occurring plant and animal parts. Within the herbal pharmacopeia, while we can more or less concentrate the active potentials, this is still not usually nearly as potent as those drugs fabricated in labs. As a consequence, while herbs can often act a little more slowly they also are typically far less dangerous.
We use herbal medicinal companies with strict regulatory practices and quality controls.
When should I use herbs?
We have herbal opportunities not only for adults, but a special line for kids! We recommend that all patients take either a supplement or a multi-vitamin or an herbal formula for their constitution. We live in a fast paced world that is a little less clean & that harbors some powerful microbes & which nurtures somewhat less potent food components than the past. We believe supplementing is a necessary & helpful practice. When it comes to taking herbs for specific issues, we can address headaches, stomach aches, energy, colds, allergies, sleep, and so on. Herbs add to the needle therapy. They fill in the gaps between treatments. They address chronic maladies. They help you recover faster.
What to expect:
Eat something lite 30 minutes before a session. Go to the bathroom beforehand since moving with needles in place can be bothersome! All patients should arrive early by 10-15 minutes. This allows time for paperwork, especially if this is your first visit. We will find you in the lobby or our staff will direct you back when ready. If the appointment has not been paid for online we will charge you.
It is important to wear loose fitting, comfortable clothing. We need to be able to access both the area that hurts & often the spine.
Acupuncture needling feels fun & interesting. People do not like needles but this is NOT like drawing blood! This is very different. We will even let you needle us! It is easy. It is not scary. Sometimes you do not feel anything. Most of the time your feel a little "zing" & or a sensation of heaviness & it goes away. It will depend on the needles used. Most are quite small but either way we can use heat, cold & or electrical stimulation to make it even more comfortable.
If we need to treat the muscles directly there may be more of an ache or even a twitch. That is a good thing. Sometimes it is necessary to be a little uncomfortable to start that healing response.
It is completely normal to feel a little sore sometimes for a day or so in the area treated, particularly for severe issues. There may be bruising, though not typically. Please notify us of any coagulation issues or if you are anemic, or if there is a seizure history.
It is not unusual to feel quite sleepy during & afterwards. This is a good thing. Yet sometimes people fee very energized, particularly when the issue has progressed & improved. Like any therapy, hydrating is important after the treatment. You will be given water, tea and or snacks before leaving.
What Does it Cost?
We have the best prices in the business. We aim to make acupuncture, & all our therapies, accessible for everyone. While we do not take insurance--excluding FSA & HSA--we have several tiers. We also have several ways to save. If you are needing specific work targeting an injury or a condition, this is $69. Treatments last an hour. If you are here for maintenance (between physical injuries for example) or you are here for Community Acupuncture, treatments for stress & sleep, these are just $39. At any of these Community Acupuncture sessions you can purchase upgrades for a percussion massage or foot reflexology, or an herbal mask, for $20. We also offer specific programs such as Metabolic Balance Nutrition Plans as well as Cosmetic Acupuncture for anti-aging.
You can save substantially buy purchasing packages. We also barter for services or goods that we need. Discounts include $5 off for seniors, students, military & for farmers. These cannot be used for out Community Acupuncture services nor for supplements. Discounts cannot be combined.
Disclaimer of Liability:
Any details contained herein do not constitute medical advice nor substitute for assessments by professionals in person. Guidance and information within is expressed for educational wellness purposes. If this is an emergency consult a physician or dial 911.