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How old is Chinese medicine?
Chinese medicine goes back over 3,000 years.

How does it work?
Chinese medicine uses tiny needles to access and activate qi (pronounced “chee” – most closely translated into Western thought as “vital energy”), which helps nurture the body back to health by helping resolve energy imbalances.  A simplistic explanation of how acupuncture works is that our immune system responds to the insertion of the needle, bringing its attention to the points beings stimulated, to provoke a response by the body.

What are the needles like?
Acupuncture needles are solid, not hollowlike the needles used by doctors.  They are small and hair-tin and can literally be bent with your pinky.
Only sterile, single-use, disposable needles are used, so there is no risk of infection.  We use a needle once, then dispose of it.
US FDA Regulation of Acupuncture Needles
In 1996, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) removed the experimental status tag on acupuncture needles.  The FDA reclassified acupuncture needles, regulating them as it does medical devices such as surgical scalpels and hypodermic syringes.  Acupuncture needles must now be manufactured according to single-use standards of sterility.

Does it hurt?
People experience the needling sensation differently.  Acupuncture needles are rarely described as painful, though some points are more sensitive than others.  If a needle insertion is painful, the needle can be quickly adjusted.  If any unpleasant sensation is experienced during insertion, it is often compared to a mosquito bite and disappears very quickly.  Once the needles are inserted, they may be manipulated to obtain a mild “Qi” sensation.  This is how an acupuncturist engages the energy and biochemical responses in your body in order to balance it.  Often people describe their sensations as warming, heavy, numb or tingling.  We take great care to make our patients very comfortable so that they can relax while the needles are in place.  The more you can relax during an acupuncture treatment, the better the results.  Many people even fall asleep during treatment.
Following treatment, it is common to feel a tremendous sense of relaxation and calm.

Do I have to believe in it for it to work?
No.  Acupuncture works whether or not you think it will.  Acupuncture is even used successfully on animals and children.  They do not understand or believe in the process, yet they get better anyway.  Of course a positive attitude helps with any type of therapy, but it is not necessary to believe in acupuncture (or to feel it working) for it to work.
Since positive expectations and belief in a particular therapy help to increase therapeutic results, we encourage you to raise any concerns or doubts you may have about acupuncture and Chinese Medicine.  We’d like to help you to better understand acupuncture and Chinese Medicine so that you may have the most positive healing experience possible.  You are invited to contact our office and we will respond to any questions or comments promptly.

How quickly can I expect to feel better?
In general, we tell our patients they should start to feel the benefits from acupuncture in 2-3 treatments.  If the problem is acute, sometimes improvement is felt after 1 treatment, and may one need 3-5 treatments to resolve.  If the problem is chronic and long term, it may take many treatments to help resolve.
When asking this question, you might consider your overall goal for your health.  Are you primarily interested in alleviating your symptoms?  Do you want to resolve the root cause of the symptoms?  And once the condition for which you sought treatment is resolved, do you want to continue treatment to further improve your health and prevent some of the conditions that are so common in our modern society.

How often should I be treated?
Typically we treat patients once or twice a week in the beginning of therapy.  If the condition is acute and painful, we may want to do treatments 2-3 times per week for the first couple of weeks.  The benefits of acupuncture treatments tend to hold longer as you receive treatments, and what typically happens is that our patients start to need to see me less and less, so after a while they come periodically for maintenance.

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