FAQ

Most people have questions about acupuncture - here's a short list of questions I get asked most frequently.

How long does an acupuncture treatment take?

With community acupuncture, patients can rest with their needles in for up to one hour. Your first visit may take around 90 minutes because we'll spend extra time analyzing your needs and figuring out your treatment plan.

How many acupuncture treatments am I going to need before I start feeling better?

Some patients respond quickly to Balance Method Acupuncture and start feeling better almost immediately. Some patients respond slower and start feeling better after 3 or 4 treatments. It's almost impossible to predict how each person will respond to acupuncture. There are just to many variables to make an accurate prediction. I want you to start feeling better immediately but if that doesn't happen, just remember, I am always doing may best to get you closer to your health goals sooner than later.

Also keep in mind, acupuncture is a process. It is very rare for any acupuncturist to be able to fully resolve a problem with one treatment. For short-term issues, a handful of acupuncture treatments should do the job. For chronic or long-standing issues, a maintenance schedule of some sort typicallly is needed to keep systems running smoothly and steadily after the initial period of relief and change. On your first visit, I will analyze your needs and recommend a treatment plan based on experience from treating thousands of patients with a wide range of conditions. Then, it's up to you. The purpose of sliding scale pricing is to ensure that you feel confident in being able to make the commitment to acupuncture so you can feel better, see positive changes and enjoy a better quality of life.

Is it better to rest longer with the needles in?

Resting longer with the needles in may or may not help.  It is rare that one acupuncture treatment will resolve your condition, and so to get results, at the start be prepared to commit to frequent treatments.  It is more important to stick to your frequency of treatments than to rest longer with the needles in. That being said, if it feels relaxing and you have the time to rest, settle in and enjoy the break.

Can I combine acupuncture with other treatments such as massage, Physical Therapy, Chiropractic?

Absolutely. You can combine acupuncture with almost any other healthy treatment; that’s one of the lovely things about it - in fact acupuncture is likely to improve the effectiveness of the other treatments you are receiving. That is one of the reasons that so many doctors refer their patients to acupuncture.

What should I do after acupuncture?  Drink a lot of water? Rest? Should I avoid anything?

I recommend patients do mostly what they feel like doing after acupuncture. Drink water if you feel thirsty. Eat if you feel hungry. Rest if you feel tired. After receiving acupuncture a few times, people usually figure out what they feel like doing or feel like avoiding soon after treatment. Pay attention to how you feel after treatment and act accordingly.

What's up with your $25-$50 sliding, how does that work?

You decide how much to pay based on what you feel comfortable paying. It's that simple. Take into account how many treatments you will be receiving and for how long and decide for yourself how much you want to pay on the sliding scale. I discuss a treatment plan with you on your first visit, making recommendations about how often I'd like to see you. And you pay on a sliding scale so that your budget fits the treatment plan instead of the other way around. Your treatment is not based on how much you pay so you will have right amount of needles, the maximum rest time, and the best of care no matter what you pay. The goal of the sliding scale is to make it possible for you to come in often enough and long enough to really feel better.

Can I address more than one health issue at a time with acupuncture?

Yes! Acupuncture often acts like a reset button for the entire body. Often, people come in for one issue, like back pain, and then notice an improvement in something apparently unrelated, such as a chronic allergy.  This can happen even when the patient doesn’t tell me about the apparently unrelated problem. Acupuncture also seems to have the positive “side effect” of reducing stress and promoting better sleep and increasing your energy levels.

Are the acupuncture needles safe?

I use only sterile, disposable acupuncture needles. Each acupuncture needle is used once and then disposed of in approved biohazard containers according to federal laws and regulations. They are completely safe.

Does acupuncture hurt?

Acupuncture doesn't hurt much at all. That being said, getting an acupuncture treatment isn’t always pain-free. The needles are extremely small and while you may feel a quick pinch when the needle is tapped in, any sensation should ease almost immediately. More than anything a treatment should be a deeply relaxing and sleepy slice of time for you. If you feel a prolonged sharp stinging sensation at a needle site, let me know and I'll reposition it. If you feel a heavy sensation or slight ache around the needle site, that is usually a good sign - your body is reacting in a productive way to help you feel better and heal.

The bottom line is that as long as the feelings around the needles don’t keep you from closing your eyes and napping for a little while, I say let them be.

Friends and family are insisting I try acupuncture, but I’m afraid of needles.

While I never recommend that a patient try community acupuncture based on how much someone ELSE wants them to do it, most people who try it find it deeply relaxing. And that's important, because acupuncture isn't a one-time thing; you are probably going to have to do it a lot more than once. Community acupuncture patients also accept a certain level of responsibility for themselves, their health and their needs. Plus they are flexible with being treated in a setting with other patients.

So only you can decide if community acupuncture is right for you. You can tell your friends and family I said so!

Many people don't like needles, but you should understand something important: acupuncture needles are extremely tiny, not much thicker than a strand of hair and nothing like the hypodermic needles at the doctor's office. Plus, I want to make sure you are comfortable and want to help you through the process so you can close your eyes and relax.

Do I have to 'believe' in acupuncture for it to work?

Nope. You only have to show up a few times and give yourself the chance to see positive changes.

Do I have to take my clothes off for treatment?

Nope. Occasionally, we have to access areas just above the knee or up to the shoulder joint, in which case I would ask you to wear shorts and/or a tee shirt.  In most cases, all it takes is removing your shoes and socks, rolling up your sleeves and pant legs (and sometimes removing jewelry). Then, it's just sit back and relax. 

Why did you put a needle there?  How does a needle in my arm or leg help my back pain or my anxiety?

We all understand how to use a light switch and in the most simple terms, when I insert a needle, it is like "turning ON" or "turning OFF" a switch and your body reacts and provides you relief. I know, from treating thousands of patients, that sometimes, when you are in a lot of pain, the last thing you want is someone poking you where it hurts. It's more comfortable and effective to insert a needle where you don't have pain and switch your body functions "ON" or "OFF" to relieve pain, ease tension, relax the mind and bring about healing.

Do you treat pregnant women?

Yes. I get referrals from midwives and obstetricians because acupuncture is effective for many pregnancy-related conditions, including morning sickness and low back pain. Simply get permission from your obgyn.

Do you treat children and/or teens?

Yes. Acupuncture is often very effective for children and teens, and many of them love it. I only ask that the child be willing to try acupuncture; I don’t want to treat unwilling patients of any age.

Someone I know really needs acupuncture but they don't want to try it! Should I drag them in?

Nope. You can tell them how it works for you, but let them decide for themselves. Acupuncture is a process and so frequent treatment is often required. Sharing your acupuncture experiences and journey may help inspire someone you know to start the process. When someone is ready to start the process then invite them to come in with you.

Are there any harmful side effects to acupuncture?

One of the primary reasons that acupuncture has been so well embraced by many doctors and patients is because of its low rate of harmful side effects.

"For a medical procedure, you almost cannot get anything that is more benign," says James Dowden, Executive Administrator of the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture. "About the worst thing that can happen is you won’t get better."

?In its landmark, 1997 Consensus Statement on Acupuncture, the National Institutes of Health (NIH ) reported: "One of the advantages of acupuncture is that the incidence of adverse effects is substantially lower than that of many drugs or other accepted medical procedures used for the same conditions." (Acupuncture. NIH Consensus Statement 1997 Nov 3-5; 15 (5): 9.)

In 2001, the British Medical Journal (vol. 323, no.7311) published the results of two large-scale studies showing that the benefits of acupuncture far outweigh any negative side effects of treatment. The few post-treatment complaints were minor and short-lived, ranging from bruising to needle pain and lasting less than a week, with no serious adverse events noted.

As an Balance Method Acupuncturist, what are your specialties?  Where do you work?

I have 10 years of experience treating thousands of people with hundreds of different symptoms and medical conditions. As an acupuncturist working in a Community Acupuncture setting, I generally give between 50 to 60 treatments each week or an average of 3,000 treatments a year. With this amount of experience, I have found that Balance Method Acupuncture is helpful for most problems based on the patient's ability to get enough treatments (hence the sliding scale). Therefore, in my opinion, it is not necessary to see an acupuncturist that specilizes on one area of healthcare.

There are literally thousands of ways to do acupuncture, and no one way appears to work substantially better than another. There are no studies (that I know of) that prove acupuncturists who specialize in a particular area get better results than those who don’t specialize.

I currently treat patients at Downtown Community Acupuncture - feel free to schedule an appointment online at your convenience.

Can I address more than one health issue at a time with acupuncture?

Yes! Acupuncture often acts like a reset button for the entire body. Often, people come in for one issue, like back pain, and then notice an improvement in something apparently unrelated, such as a chronic allergy.  This can happen even when the patient doesn’t tell me about the apparently unrelated problem. Acupuncture also seems to have the positive “side effect” of reducing stress and promoting better sleep and increasing your energy levels.