Frequently Asked Questions About Acupuncture & Our Clinic
What is acupuncture?
Acupuncturists use thin, sterile disposable needles inserted superficially into specific areas of the body in order to help the body’s ability to heal itself. Over the three decades or so in which acupuncture has developed in the U.S., it has been proven to be not only exceptionally safe when performed by licensed acupuncturists, but statistically effective in an increasing body of scientific studies.
Why do people get acupuncture?
to help you relax
to help you feel more energized
to help you avoid illness/injury
to help alleviate physical pain
to help you think more clearly
to help you stop thinking (especially around bedtime)
to help with digestive issues (including GERD and IBS)
to use alongside many conventional therapies/medications for the purpose of augmenting their effect and lowering doses
to add legitimate choices for your health care assistance.
What does acupuncture treat?
The World Health Organization (WHO) has recognized acupuncture as a valuable healing modality for over 40 specific health conditions, including:
Anxiety & stress
Allergies & Asthma
Coughs & colds (including sinus congestions, sore throat, fever, body aches)
Digestive issues (including constipation, bloating, gas, diarrhea, heartburn)
Headaches or migraines
High blood pressure
Lower back pain
Menopausal symptoms (including hot flashes, night sweats)
Menstrual problems (including PMS, painful / heavy periods, absence of periods)
Muscle or joint pain
Side-effects of medications (e.g. chemotherapy)
What’s the difference between a visit to a typical acupuncture practice and a community acupuncture practice?
Our clinic uses recliners, clustered in groups, in a quiet, soothing space. A healthy group setting creates a dynamic that can be used for all of our benefit in an acupuncture clinic. Receiving treatment in a community setting has other tangible benefits, as well: it’s easier for friends and family members to come in for treatment together and many patients find it comforting to be surrounded by others rather then left alone during their treatment and a collective healing environment occurs.
In addition, the community setting allows patients to decide how long their treatment will take, as the ‘right’ amount of time resting with needles varies from person to person, visit to visit. This can take anywhere from thirty minutes to an hour. You can stay as long as you feel comfortable doing so – or until an hour is up! When you are feeling as though you are ready to end your visit, or need to get our attention, just give us a wink, nod or smile, and we will remove your needles or be available otherwise. If you need to leave by a certain time, please let us know in case we need to wake you up.
Lastly, our clinic employs a sliding scale fee schedule to help make acupuncture available to the whole community.
Do the needles hurt?
Not really much at all. However, getting an acupuncture treatment isn’t always painless or sensationless. More than anything a treatment should be a deeply relaxing and sleepy slice of time for you. In fact, most people who come for acupuncture fall asleep within the first 15 minutes. That’s why we use the tagline, ‘Naptime for Grownups’!
Here’s what we’d like our patients to know: You may feel a bit of a pinch when the needles are tapped in (like a mild mosquito bite), but this should ease right away. If you continue to feel a pinching or a burning sensation at the needle site any longer than this, let us know. It means we haven’t placed that needle real well. If on the other hand you are feeling a slight ache or heavy feeling near the needle, this is usually a good sign – a clue that the body is reacting in a productive way.
We all experience acupuncture in different ways, and every acupuncture point feels a bit different. Some treatments involve almost no sensation. Other treatments are designed to be stimulating and moving. People have described sensations as “dull,” “achy,” “moving,” “crampy,” “electric,” and sometimes “sharp.” Whatever the sensation may be, it only lasts a split second and is generally followed by a sense of relaxation.
The bottom line is that as long as the feelings around the needled areas don’t keep you from closing your eyes and napping for a little while, we say let them be.
For more information about what acupuncture can feel like, click here.
Do you sterilize needles?
Sterile package opened, needle in, needle out and put into a bio-hazard box to dispose of responsibly and that’s it.
Why do I feel sleepy once the needles are in?
This may explain why acupuncture is so effective at helping people overcome the many troubles associated with high stress levels- a state we find ourselves in which is characterized by our nervous systems staying in a ‘fight or flight mode’ (sympathetic) for extended periods of time.
Remaining in this state for long periods of time can keep us from recovering in an ideal way, leading to nagging injuries, sleeplessness or illness.
We can tell you, helping people into a sleepy state is one of the most predictable and best effects acupuncture has to offer.
What are you injecting through the needles to make this work?
In fact, a standard-sized hypodermic syringe can hold about a dozen averaged-sized acupuncture needles inside of it.
What should I expect for my first treatment?
You’ll need to fill out forms, which can take a few minutes to finish, so please come 15-20 minutes early to complete them. Or, you can download these forms here and have them filled out as best you can for your visit ahead of time. This helps support us, since it reduces the amount of paper shuffling on our end. The forms are in PDF format.
There is a $15 one-time consultation fee due at your first visit.
After paperwork is done, you’ll then consult with your acupuncturist to discuss your health concern(s) after which time a treatment plan will be recommended for you. Your acupuncture treatment comes next.
Please wear loose, comfortable clothing. You’ll just have to roll your sleeves and pant legs up, in order to get ready for your treatment, as we use a distal style of acupuncture which allows us to select points primarily on the arms and legs. We will also ask you to remove your socks and shoes. From here on out, your job is to kick back and enjoy a good rest.
What happens during a typical follow-up treatment?
So…how does all this work?
From a biomedical perspective, acupuncture has three primary effects:
- It relieves pain.
- It reduces inflammation.
- It restores homeostasis.
For more on this, please see here.
Am I missing out on good acupuncture points while in Community Acupuncture?
We think your best bet is to leave the point selections to your acupuncturist, while giving them feedback about how treatments are helping to change patterns of illness or injury for you.
What can I expect after a treatment?
For information on how to take care of yourself after an acupuncture treatment, click here.
For information about infrequent but possible side effects of acupuncture, please click here. None are life-threatening and all are typically fleeting. Still, they are good to be aware of so that if you do experience them, you know they’re normal and nothing to be too concerned about!
How many treatments will I need?
Click here to read more about treatment planning.
How soon will I start to see changes?
This is a question that should be addressed with your acupuncturist during your first or second visit.
Will I have to come get acupuncture forever to keep feeling good?
For example, patient Melissa comes in for help with pain and swelling from a new ankle sprain less than 24 hours old. This type of injury responds best with acupuncture treatments two out of three days, which would probably be plenty to help Melissa’s body sort out her injury.
On the other hand, David gets acupuncture treatments to work toward better management of long-term anxiety and insomnia that he’s struggled with for five years. Chances are good he’ll start to see clear changes in the pattern and intensity of his symptoms with steady treatments over four weeks or so. After this time, his acupuncturist will likely recommend regular but less frequent treatments for another stretch of time to help make sure the process of change continues moving forward. Once David finds himself in a place where he’s consistently happy with his sleep and anxiety levels, he’ll know it’s time to dial back the frequency of his treatments even further. The aim here is to provide as few acupuncture treatments as possible while maintaining gains made.
How can you afford to charge so little?
Plainly said, we want acupuncture to be readily available as a means to help take care of the health of our neighbors and communities.
Can I just walk-in or do I need an appointment?
Many of our patients appreciate being able to make same-day appointments. We get it- you don’t always know ahead of time when you will want acupuncture, and if you suddenly get a free hour, you might want to fill it with a treatment! But we also really hate to turn anybody away. So, in order for us to accommodate same-day requests, we ask that you please make an appointment, by scheduling yourself online or calling ahead to make sure there’s room in the schedule before you leave your house. If you show up without calling, you are taking the chance that we might be 100% booked for the next few hours or even the whole day (or closed as schedule changes do occur) – it doesn’t happen often, but it does happen. If you walk in without an appointment, we need to treat the people who have appointments before we treat you, so you might have to wait a lot longer than we’d like.
We really want to make getting acupuncture as convenient as possible for you, but we do ask that you help us out by calling ahead or scheduling yourself online.
*Please give us a call if the schedule is full online. We have a waiting list for appointments
What else do I need to know about my first treatment?
Remember that our community works best when everyone is reasonably flexible. One of the things we love best about our clinic is how many different kinds of people enjoy coming here for acupuncture – but some of them do snore, it’s true.
Do I have to take my clothes off for treatment?
But by and large all it takes to get ready for treatment is to roll up pant legs and shirt sleeves, as points on the lower arms and legs are the most commonly used in community clinics. No need to take any other clothes off.
I am pregnant – can I still get acupuncture?
In addition, after the baby’s birth acupuncture can assist new Moms to recover strength and build back reserves while helping to manage common post-partum problems like: depression, insufficient lactation, mastitis, night sweats, fatigue, and persistent uterine bleeding.
Can acupuncture help me quit smoking?
While acupuncture is not a quick fix, meaning it will not make you quit smoking, it can help minimize cravings and help take the edge off of withdrawal. Because of its proven effectiveness, the National Acupuncture Detox Association (NADA) has developed a simple acupuncture protocol to assist in the detoxification from addiction, including quitting smoking. This protocol is widely used in detox clinics and withdrawal management centers. (read more…)
Acupuncture is a useful tool, but it is only useful to the extent you use it. For smoking cessation, frequent treatments are recommended (i.e. 3 or more times per week for at least 3 weeks). Patients typically start off coming every day for 1 week and then gradually reduce the frequency as withdrawal symptoms subside. It is important to be committed to quitting smoking when you start your smoking cessation program, as this will increase your chances of success.
At your first visit your practitioner will discuss with you frequency recommendations and payment options.
My pain went away and then came back again…is that normal?
Do I have to believe in this for it to work?
Why Don’t You Put Needles Where I Feel Pain?
There are 12+ channels of energy, which are comprised of nerve bundles and blood vessels and have been mapped out anatomically thousands of years ago. Simply put, a channel is an ‘energy highway’ in the human body. Energy flows through this highway, accessing all party of the body.
We have the knowledge to tap into one channel and have it ‘talk’ to another channel and/or location in the body. Tapping into the channel unblocks the channel(s) and revitalizes the flow of neurological and circulatory function. The location of the needle and the channel selection is important for the success of the treatment.
There are 2 main benefits to distal needling:
1) The site of pain will not potentially get further injured by needles: You will be able to give feedback if the pain has minimized because you will be able to move, if necessary, to feel the effectiveness.
2) Faster results: Because the nerves are denser below the elbows and knees, the central nervous system has more stimulation to release endogenous opioids such as enkephalins, beta-endorphins, norepinephrine, and acetylcholine, and to stimulate blood flow to the site of pain.
Ever feel lightheaded or euphoric after acupuncture? This is why. This is also why there is more pain relief when using distal needles. More brain stimulation causes a larger shift in these aforementioned chemicals. Because of this ability to tap into the body’s natural healing system, acupuncture can do more than just treat pain. Acupuncture can and does help bring the body’s organ systems back into balance and reduce stress. YOUR body is capable of healing itself and we simply provide the stimulation for it to do so. We provide effective, gentle and efficient acupuncture treatments for everyone.
Do you consider your clinic a safe space?
Rochester Community Acupuncture is dedicated to nurturing the health of our patients and our community. We strive to make our clinic a place of respite. We do not tolerate hate speech, bullying, or discrimination. We welcome people of all races, genders, colors, income levels, national origins, ages, religions, sizes, and sexual orientations. Your care will never be based on any of these factors.