Frequently Asked Questions

What is acupuncture and how does it work?

Acupuncture is an ancient Oriental medical technique that is more than 3,000 years old. Acupuncture points themselves are little wells of energy, found along meridians or pathways that flow through the body. This energy, called Chi, or Qi, helps move our blood, helps our cells to heal and regenerate, and our minds to stay clear and focused. Chi moves in these pathways to and from all of our major organs. It feeds and nourishes them, and the rest of our body. With the gentle insertion of fine, sterilized needles your practitioner accesses this Chi and unblocks, moves, and balances it as needed for your treatment. Acupuncture also releases endorphins, the bodyʼs natural pain killer, and serotonin, which helps emotional disorders and the effects of stress.

How many treatments will I need?

The number and frequency of treatments depends on how your body responds to acupuncture. In the beginning, weekly treatments are recommended with intervals between treatments lengthening as your condition resolves. Six to twelve treatments is the average for the majority of ailments.  If you have a long standing, chronic condition, a rule of thumb is that a month of treatment is needed for every year you have suffered from your condition. Resolution rates differ for everyone, and acupuncture can help you reach a place of on going care that will manage your symptoms and/or pain, and allow you to consider a reduction in your medication.  Acupuncture is, at the heart of the medicine, wellness care.  Ideally, in the 5-Element Tradition, a healthy patient need only come in four times a year for a "tune-up", as the seasons change.

Does it hurt? 

The needles are very fine, about the size of a hair, and create little or no discomfort. Some may feel a slight pinching sensation, a dull ache, or a moving and tingling as the Chi moves into or out of the point. It only lasts for a moment. Tell your practitioner if you are uncomfortable. The needles can be adjusted or even removed if any discomfort continues, although this is not usually necessary. In fact, the treatments are relaxing, and, many patients fall asleep soon after the needles are inserted.

What is my role in the healing process?

Acupuncture is a well choreographed "dance" between patient and practitioner.  Your actions are a key component of your treatment plan. Focusing on your health and committing to a healthy lifestyle are the best steps you can take for your well-being and successful acupuncture treatments. Together, you and your acupuncturist can heal your imbalances and help you achieve harmony and balance.  Even after your symptoms are resolved, acupuncture can assist you in maintaining your health, and possibly prevent future imbalances. 

How will I feel after acupuncture?

Most patients feel very relaxed after acupuncture. Many feel a sense of openness and well being. The mind becomes more present and more clear. The emotions become more grounded, and you may have a feeling of having come home, or back to your center. Some experience immediate relief from their pain or other symptoms. Others will need time for the treatment to integrate, so they may feel better the day after treatment. Again, long standing conditions require time to resolve.  The treatments are cumulative, and you will have to give your body time to accept the changes produced by your acupuncture sessions. To get the most from your session, it is best to avoid alcohol, heavy labor, or a strenuous workout immediately after acupuncture.

What can acupuncture help?

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends it's use in over 40 medical conditions. Some of them include:

  • Asthma and Allergies
  • Eye Disorders
  • Colds & Flu
  • Fibromyalgia
  • PMS
  • Chronic Pain
  • Depression
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome 
  • Migraines


The National Institute of Health (NIH) also lists:

  • Tennis Elbow
  • Low Back Pain
  • Stroke Rehabilitation
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Myofascial Pain

These are just a few of the conditions that are cited, but acupuncture is also known to help with digestive disorders, anxiety and depression, skin disorders, such as acne, psoriasis, and eczema, womenʼs health problems such as menopause, endometriosis, infertility, and much more. 

Will Insurance cover Acupuncture? 

Acupuncture is a tax deductible medical expense and many people pay their fee through their Flex Spending accounts at work. Insurance companies are finding it cost effective to cover acupuncture, although some insurance companies want a referral or a prescription from your medical doctor for acupuncture before they will pay for your treatment.  Call your insurance company for more information regarding your policy.

What to expect

Your initial visit, or Traditional Diagnosis in the 5-Element Acupuncture Tradition, generally lasts 90 minutes.  It is important that you complete your acupuncture intake form before you are seen for your T.D., as having to complete it during the service severely cuts into your treatment time.  The form can be found on our website by clicking on the "Patient Resources" page.  The form is also available for pick-up in the office.  

During your first appointment, your acupuncturist will spend time getting to know you and your health concerns. Katie, your acupuncturist, will speak to you in depth about your health history.  You may be asked a wide range of questions about your symptoms, eating, exercise, sleep habits, emotional states and anything that may offer insight into your health.  Please try and answer all questions as candidly as possible.  We aren't here to judge you, we are sussing out the root cause of an issue in order to help create the best treatment plan for you!

During the visit, Katie will also perform a physical exam, and provide you with your unique treatment plan.  Your practitioner will employ diagnostic tools that are unique to acupuncture and TCM such as tongue and pulse diagnosis.  It is important that your refrain from wearing any makeup, deodorants, and/or perfumes to your acupuncture treatments.  5-Element diagnosis is based on 4 key criteria - color, sound, odor, and emotion.   Blocking these "clues to the real you" will severely inhibit your practitioner's ability to make a proper diagnosis.  

Once the interview and exam are complete, you will receive an acupuncture treatment.  It's important that you wear loose, comfortable clothing to your treatments.  Sometimes, acupuncture points require the removal of clothing.  Your practitioner will step out of the treatment room, allow you to undress and slide between the sheets on the massage table.  Your practitioner will move the drape only to access a particular point or series of points and the rest of your body will remain draped.   

Your Treatment Plan

Once your acupuncturist has gathered enough information, you’ll receive a comprehensive diagnosis and a treatment plan that will explain:

  • Your underlying imbalances
  • Your time line of care
  • What types of treatment you will receive

Getting The Most Out Of Treatment

For the best treatment results, keep a few things in mind:

  • Please show up on time
  • Don’t eat a large meal before your visit
  • Refrain from caffeine intake prior to your appointment, as it can disrupt pulse taking
  • Wear loose, comfortable clothes
  • Be sure to discuss any questions or concerns with your acupuncturist
  • Refrain from overexertion, drugs or alcohol for at least six hours after treatment
  • Follow your treatment plan between visits
  • Keep all of your appointments, as each visit builds upon the previous ones