What is Acupuncture and how does it work?
Acupuncture is a very safe, usually pain-free technique that uses very small single-use stainless steel needles to stimulate your body’s natural healing abilities.
Acupuncture treats all of you, not just a few symptoms. No other medicine in the world so effectively treats all of you at once. It’s common for patients to report “side-effects” like better sleep, less anxiety and stress, better moods, improved digestion and easier periods. Acupuncture can even treat the common cold. You will leave your appointment feeling better than when you came in.
Western Point of View:
Western science studies show that acupuncture stimulates responses in the Nervous System, Cardiovascular, Endocrine and Immune systems, telling your body to make electro-chemical changes. In a nutshell, acupuncture stimulates self-healing mechanisms within your body.
Eastern Point of View:
Acupuncture is used to move and balance energy (we call it Qi or Chi) in the body. It helps stimulate your body to strengthen itself, moves and redistributes what is stuck, and balances the flow of energy in your body
When it comes down to it, health and emotional problems come from being stuck (Stagnation), being depleted (Deficiency), or from too much (Excess) of something. Often, it’s a combination of these things.
This is true for everything from pain, to emotional imbalance or chronic health issues.
If your energy is stuck, or stagnant, it causes things like pain, constipation, and frustration. If you are depleted, you might have low energy, weak digestion, or get sick a lot. If you have an Excess problem, you might get really angry and not be able to control your temper, be hot and sweaty all the time, or have a lot of phlegm.
What does Acupuncture feel like?
Acupuncture needles are filiform (solid), not hollow like hypodermic needles used for shots. They are very slender, and usually have a painless insertion. We use an insertion/guide tube, which helps make it more comfortable. We are happy to show the needles to you first, or not, whichever makes you feel best!
For kids or very sensitive people, we use even thinner needles than usual.
You will feel the tube first, then a tapping. Sometimes you won’t feel anything other than the little tube and a tap. There might also be some pressure, and occasionally a small pinch. Any discomfort should be very brief. If it continues for more than a few seconds, we adjust the needle a bit, which usually fixes it. In some cases we may take the needle out (which is rarely needed).
Tell us if any needles are uncomfortable! While some mild aching or a sense of warmth or mild pressure is a good sign of Qi moving, any actual pain is unnecessary. You’ll get your best results when you’re able to relax.
Do you reuse needles?
Never. We use only sterile, single-use, disposable needles, which go immediately into the bio-hazard sharps container.
We take safety very seriously and follow OSHA protocols for everyone’s benefit.
What is Chinese herbal medicine?
Chinese herbal medicine has been in use for thousands of years. In China, herbal formulas are the true medicine. Acupuncture and the other therapies are additional therapies.
Chinese medicinals consist of plant, animal and mineral substances, with the vast majority from plant sources. Please let us know if you are vegan or about any allergies.
We usually use formulas made up of several herbs, rather than single herbs. By combining these potent medicinals, we are able to create formulas that are complex and tailored to your specific symptoms and constitution.
Why should I use herbal medicine?
Using herbal formulas enables us to continue your treatment on a daily basis. As always, the formulas are designed to treat the root and symptoms. In most cases, using herbs in conjunction with acupuncture and bodywork will dramatically improve results and shorten treatment.
What ages do you treat?
We work with all ages, and have a lot of experience with babies, kids and teens, too.
How do you treat kids?
Most kids do great with acupuncture! We make it our priority to make kids comfortable and relaxed.
- For kids that are feeling unsure, we have other techniques we can use, like acupressure, cold lasers or mild electrical stimulation, cupping or Gua Sha. We also may do massage or craniosacral therapy. We work with your child, their unique needs, and their comfort level.
- We treat babies and young children with a Japanese acupressure technique (no needles!) called Shonishin.
- Craniosacral therapy is also excellent for treating kids of all ages. It helps to calm anxiety, helps with ear infections, and concussion recovery, among other things.
- Our herbal medicines for kids include tinctures and powders that can be mixed into food or taken directly. We use formulas to treat acute issues like colds and cough, and also may use what we call Constitutional Formulas to address chronic issues like Asthma, ADHD or growth issues.
Is it safe?
Acupuncture is very safe when done by a fully trained and licensed practitioner. Licensed Acupuncturists have over 700 hours of supervised training in needling, as part of their 3000 hour degree. They are taught many styles and techniques, along with needle angle and safe depth of needling. There are also in-depth trainings on precautions and contra-indications of needling.
Make sure that you receive acupuncture from someone who is licensed as an acupuncturist in your state. This ensures they have a full education and are Board-Certified, as well.
Herbal Medicine is also very safe when prescribed by a fully trained and certified practitioner. Our herbalists are NCCAOM – board certified in Chinese Herbal Medicine, and have additional training in both western and Chinese nutritional therapy.
Always tell your practitioner about any changes in medications or supplements.
Are there side-effects?
It’s common for patients to report good “side-effects” like better sleep, less anxiety and stress, better moods, improved digestion and easier periods. Most people leave feeling better and more relaxed than when they came in.
Occasional side effects can include local tenderness, or light bruising at the needling site. With bodywork, you may be sore from the work the first visit, or if you haven’t been in for awhile.
What health benefits can I expect?
With regular acupuncture and/or bodywork, most people experience improved sleep, more even moods, more regular and easier periods, easier peri-menopause, better digestion, less pain and a calmer outlook on life.
Of course, every person is unique. Most importantly, follow the at-home advice of your provider to get the best results. If you are constantly doing the things that made you feel sick in the first place, it will be hard to completely recover.
I’m scared of needles-What other options are there?
We work hard to make you as comfortable as possible! We will show you the needles if you want, demonstrate on ourselves, and let you try just one to see how it feels. Then, we go at your pace. The needles are so thin you can fit 20 into the hole of a hypodermic (shot) needle. Most of the time you will barely feel them.
If you feel that needles just will not work for you, we can discuss other options like lasers, cupping, bodywork and herbal medicine. We have a lot of ways to work with you!
Is Acupuncture a good fit for me?
Acupuncture is good for everyone, and treats many health issues both chronic and acute. With the addition of bodywork, we can quickly and efficiently treat even more.
Acupuncture and bodywork (as well as chiropractic, physical therapy, etc) work most effectively when you get several treatments close together, and get enough treatments to actually address the issues you’re having. Not enough treatment leads to subpar results that do not last.
It may not be a good fit if you are not able to commit to a full series of treatments.
It also may not be a good fit if you aren’t committed to making some changes to your routine in, such as diet and exercise. What you do every day will have a major effect on your results.
If you are ready to commit to feeling good, and ready to do what it takes, then you are a perfect candidate for our practice!
How to prepare for your visit...
- First, make sure you take a few minutes to complete all your new patient forms in our online booking Patient Portal.
- Wear comfortable, loose fitting clothing. For acupuncture we will need access to legs below the knees and arms below the elbows. For bodywork, we will need access to the areas we are treating. We also have sheets and towels for draping if needed. You will be modestly covered at all times.
- Drink a lot of water, and make sure you’ve eaten before your appointment. Acupuncture and bodywork can make you woozy on an empty stomach.
- If possible, it’s best to avoid OTC pain relievers like Ibuprofen before your treatment. It can mask your symptoms, and make you less aware if pressure is too much.
- Give yourself a few extra minutes to get here. This gives you a few minutes to relax and have a cup of tea in the waiting area. This ensures you get the most out of of your time!
How to make it work for you!
- This is powerful medicine. It works. You can help it work best by taking care of yourself between your visits.
- A lot of it is common sense…..get enough sleep, drink enough water, minimize stress, eat healthy foods…
- Most important, follow the advice from your visit! That will be a little different for each of you. We may ask you to avoid certain foods, or add in other healthy foods.
- Also, make sure to take your herbs as prescribed! This keeps your treatment going daily, and we’ll see the best results when you’re taking your herbs.
- Remember, what you do every day will have a huge effect on your health. We’ll help you know what to do, and not do. But it’s up to you day to day.
What to Expect - New Patient Visit
Your first visit will be 90 minutes. It will include an in-depth health intake, and a full treatment with herbal recommendation.
It’s normal to feel nervous about your first visit. Let us know your questions and concerns. We want to make you comfortable.
Intake: The first half of the visit, about 45 minutes, we’ll talk about your symptoms and your health history. Questions include things like diet and lifestyle, digestion, periods and injuries. We go into a lot of detail to get the fullest picture of what’s happening with your body. We will probably take your pulses, and look at your tongue. Depending on your chief complaint, we may do a short physical exam if necessary for your symptoms.
From there, it will be like a Follow-Up visit…
What to Expect - Follow-up Visits
- All follow-up visits start with a 10-15 minute intake. We’ll go over what’s getting better, what isn’t, and how you’re doing overall.
- Then, you’ll get on our comfy treatment table. Generally, I need access to your arms and legs from elbows and knees down, at a minimum. I may have you undress and get under a towel or sheet while we step out of the room.
- Please, always let me know if you have questions, concerns, or are feeling unsure. I want you to be as comfortable as possible. You set the pace, and if something isn’t right, please tell us right away. We will answer as many questions as we can during your appointment time.
- If bodywork is indicated, I may do that first, or at the end. Then I swab the chosen acupuncture points with alcohol, and start your acupuncture treatment.
- Once the acupuncture is complete, you’ll relax on the table for 20-35 minutes. You will have a Call Button if you need me to come back during your rest time.
- At the end of the treatment, I will remove the needles (they go directly into the Sharps Container). Then, we may do some adjunct therapies, depending on your symptoms, such as cupping, or bodywork. I step out while you get dressed, once we’re done.
- Once you are dressed, I will come back into the room and go over treatment plan, herbal and lifestyle recommendations, get you rescheduled for your next appointment, and take care of payment for today’s visit.
How will I feel after a treatment?
Most people start to feel more calm and relaxed by the time we’ve finished putting the needles in. At the end, you’ll likely feel even more calm and relaxed! If we have treated for pain, you will likely feel some relief as soon as they get up (chronic and complicated case often take several treatments for relief).
Sometimes you may be a little sore if we worked on pain, usually only after the first visit.
Relief and relaxation usually last for a few days. This varies widely and is why we do treatments close together in the beginning. Treatments are cumulative, so you should feel better for longer periods as treatment progresses. We’ll know when you need to get back in based in part on how long you’re feeling better between treatments.
How many treatments will I need?
Acupuncture, herbal medicine and bodywork all are cumulative. You’ll see your best and fastest results beginning with several treatments close together (usually once a week), then tapering off as you feel better. Most people start to see a difference after 1-3 visits, and continue to improve.
Each person will be different in how many treatments they need, based on what we’re treating, how long it’s been a problem, and the degree of treatment they want.
Long-term issues will take longer to treat, as will very complex and complicated cases. This can range from 10-20 visits, and often do best with maintenance care once you’re in a good place to keep you healthy and maintain your best results. Maintenance care can range from every 2 weeks to quarterly.
Short-term issues, like recovering from a cold and cough, or a recent injury, often just need 3-5 visits.
We can give you a general idea about your particular case during a free 15-minute Initial Consultation, and a much more accurate projection after a full New Patient Visit.
What types of payment do you accept?
We accept HSA and FSA card payments, cash, credit cards (Visa, MasterCard and Discover) and checks.
We do not accept Health Insurance.
All Payments are due at the time of Service.
Returned checks will be charged a $25 fee.
What is your cancellation policy?
We have a 48-hour cancellation/No-Show policy.
Cancellations: Appointments cancelled with less than 48 hours notice, or no-shows, will be billed 50% of their appointment rate.
Late Arrivals: if you are 5-10 minutes late, you may have your time shortened, but I will accommodate you as much as possible. However, if being 5-10 minutes late becomes a habit, your time will be shortened. If you are more than 15 minutes late, I may not be able to treat you that day, and the appointment will be considered a late cancellation.
As always, exceptions will be taken into consideration for emergencies or major illness.
How much will it cost?
New Patient Intake (Via Telemedicine): $60
Acupuncture Follow-up: $90 + cost of herbs
Acupuncture + Manual Therapy + Herbal Consult: $140 + cost of herbs
New Patient Intake (Via Telemedicine): $60
Pediatric Therapy follow-up: $90 + cost of herbs
Treatment duration varies widely based on each case, but short-term fixes are often 5-10 treatments, and longer-term, complex cases may take months to years of treatment, depending on the condition. You can find all of our services and prices on our services page. Contact us to set up a Free 15-minute Initial Consultation to get a better idea of your particular case.
How do you decide what treatment to do?
Acupuncture and herbal medicine are the foundation of our treatments. Depending on what is going on with you and your symptoms, and taking your preference into account, we may incorporate some advanced bodywork into our treatments. Each treatment plan is unique, based on your issues, and your body.
We give you the added benefit of years of massage and bodywork experience. We can make a big difference, quickly, using our many years of experience and training in a several healing modalities.
What is the difference between Dry Needling and Acupuncture
Dry Needling, also known as Trigger Point Needling, is the use of acupuncture needle to release trigger points, motor points or tight muscles. The Western version of it began in the mid-1900s with Dr. Janet Travell, who mapped the effects of Trigger Points in the body. It’s called “dry” needling because it originally was the injection of either pain relievers or saline into the trigger points. They found good results without the use of injections, hence the term “dry.”
In Chinese Medicine, we use the term “Ashi” point to refer to trigger points. Ashi needling has been an integral part of acupuncture for centuries.
One main difference is in terminology. The same acupuncture needles are used, and the Ashi/Trigger points are the same in people, too.
The other difference is in training. Physical Therapists and Chiropractors have a lot of training in the mechanics and structure of the body and are very good at what they do. However, they have very few hours of training in needling. They are only required to have 48 hours in continuing education course to practice needling.
Acupuncturists have 700 hours of supervised training in needling, as part of their 3000 hour degree. They are taught how to do many styles and techniques, along with needle angle and safe depth of needling. There is also in-depth on precautions and contra-indications of needling. Not all acupuncturists have the depth of musculoskeletal training as PTs/Chiros, but many have taken additional course of study.
In addition to her 3000 hours of Acupuncture training, Jennie has nearly 2000 hours of training in manual therapy, including extensive training in Myofascial Release, Neuromuscular therapy, and trigger point work.
It is currently the subject of much debate in the U.S. Six states, as of 2017, do not allow Physical Therapists to perform Dry Needling. Several other states are in the process of debating whether to continue to allow it. All states allow acupuncturists to perform Ashi needling.
Do you do Dry Needling?
With training as both a massage therapist and acupuncturist, I often use it along with manual therapy to facilitate the fastest and most thorough healing.
In some cases, I will also do Electrical Stimulation on the needles.
Why do you take my pulse?
We take your pulse at the same place on your wrist as most western doctors, but we are looking for a lot more information than just the rate and strength.
We feel the pulse at three locations on each wrist, and 3 depths at each location. The three locations reflect the upper, middle and lower part of the body (organs). The depth reflects the strength of your energy, blood and what we call your Essence—your body’s inherent strength.
We feel for rate, strength, and texture. This tells us what is strong, weak, imbalanced or stagnant in your body. We use this along with your Tongue and our detailed intake to get the most complete picture of your body.
Why do you look at my tongue?
Your tongue is a map of your body and helps us get a more clear picture of what is happening in your body.
We look at color, size, shape, the coating and the veins underneath. The front of your tongue is the upper part of your body (heart and lungs), the middle is digestion (stomach, small intestine, liver, gallbladder), the back is the pelvic region (large intestine, bladder, kidneys, reproductive organs).