Frequently Asked Questions About Acupuncture
Q: What is Qi?
A: Qi (pronounced ‘chee’) is based on the ancient Chinese theory on the flow of energy. Basically, it is the vital energy, or life force that keeps us alive and makes us vibrant and healthy. Qi is what puts the sparkle in your eye, and helps you to have energy to go through your day. If you have low energy, or Qi, you will be lagging before the day is over. Illness and pain can also be attributed to Qi flow in the body. Qi and blood flow through vessels and pathways called meridians or channels in the body. These would be compared to blood vessels and nerves that run throughout the body.
Q: What is acupuncture and what does it do?
A: Acupuncture is the insertion of hair thin needles into your body. After a thorough intake, a diagnosis is made and a treatment plan is drawn up. Then your acupuncture physician will insert virtually painless needles into the skin at various acupuncture points along the body, allowing a free flow of Qi, or vital energy, to flow through the body. Since imbalances in the free flow of energy and blood can cause pain and disease, correcting the imbalance will help to restore health and function. Acupuncture helps the body to achieve optimum homeostasis and is quite safe. The needles are sterile one time use needles that are disposed of in hazardous waste containers.
Q: How deep do the needles go?
A: It depends on the specific acupuncture point, but most needle insertions are approximately ½ inch, with some points as little as .1 to .2 inch, and some points requiring a deeper insertion.
Q: How long do the needles stay in?
A: This will depend on the condition and the constitution of the patient, with most treatments taking 10 to 30 minutes. The average, for most situations, is about 20 minutes.
Q: Does acupuncture hurt?
A: Acupuncture needles are hair thin and virtually painless. At the time the needle is inserted some may feel a slight ache at some acupuncture points. This has been described as no more than pulling a single hair from your arm, or a mosquito bite. By the time it registers that it’s there, it’s usually gone. If there is any pain, you should tell your practitioner so the needles can be removed or adjusted. Our aim is to not inflict pain and to help you have a relaxed and enjoyable treatment. Most people, at most points, feel absolutely no pain, and may not even feel the needles being inserted. Because the purpose of acupuncture is to balance the body, relaxation and a sense of well-being often occur during or after the treatment. Some patients find it so relaxing that they fall asleep either during the treatment or during insertion of the needles.
Q: Should I eat or drink before an acupuncture treatment?
A: We recommend that you eat at your normal meal times and do not skip meals before coming in for a treatment. If your treatment is at a time when you have had no food for several hours, it is best to eat a little and/or have some juice. You should also empty your bladder before your treatment so that you will be comfortable and be able to lie still for the prescribed time.
Q: What kind of clothes should I wear to an acupuncture treatment?
A: Your normal clothes are fine, but it’s preferable that you do not wear clothes that are tight fitting in order to allow a free flow of Qi. This is especially important in the legs or arms, so that we can get to the acupuncture points located in those areas. Many of the acupuncture points used are located from the elbow down towards the hand, and from the knee down towards the feet, so if we can easily get to these points, then what you are wearing is fine. Loose and comfortable clothes are preferable.
Q: What can I expect with my first visit?
A: You will fill out some forms, primarily with your medical history and your current condition…and you will be asked a lot of questions. After a thorough diagnosis is made, by looking at your tongue, feeling your pulse, and by other means such as listening to your voice and looking at your complexion, a treatment plan will be drawn up specifically for you. You will then receive a treatment based on your needs. After you’ve paid and decided on an appropriate return visit, if needed, you are free to go on about your day. You can go back to work or school, go for a walk, go home, whatever your plans are. Some find that they feel more energetic, while others feel more relaxed after their treatment, and often find that they sleep very well that night.
Q: What forms of payment do you accept?
A: We accept cash and checks. At this time we’re unable to accept debit/credit cards, but we’re working on offering that in the very near future.