Frequently Asked Questions
How does Acupuncture Work?
The classical Chinese explanation is that channels of energy run in regular
patterns through the body and over its surface. These energy channels, called
meridians, are like rivers flowing through the body to irrigate and nourish the
tissues. An obstruction in the movement of these energy rivers is like a dam that
backs up in others.
The meridians can be influenced by needling the acupuncture points; the
acupuncture needles unblock the obstructions at the dams, and reestablish the
regular flow through the meridians. Acupuncture treatments can therefore help
the body's internal organs to correct imbalances in their digestion, absorption,
and energy production activities, and in the circulation of their energy through the
The modern scientific explanation is that needling the acupuncture points
stimulates the nervous system to release chemicals in the muscles, spinal cord,
and brain. These chemicals will either change the experience of pain, or they will
trigger the release of other chemicals and hormones which influence the body's
own internal regulating system.
The improved energy and biochemical balance produced by acupuncture results
in stimulating the body's natural healing abilities, and in promoting physical and
emotional well-being. It is a safe, painless and effective way to treat a wide array
of medical problems.
How does Acupuncture work, scientifically speaking?
Several processes have been proposed to explain acupuncture's effects,
primarily those on pain. Acupuncture points are believed to stimulate the central
nervous system (the brain and spinal cord) to release chemicals into the
muscles, spinal cord, and brain. These chemicals either change the experience
of pain or release other chemicals, such as hormones, that influence the body's
self-regulating systems. The biochemical changes may stimulate the body's
natural healing abilities and promote physical and emotional well-being. There
are three main mechanisms:
• Conduction of Electromagnetic Signals: Western scientists have found
evidence that acupuncture points an strategic conductors of
electromagnetic signals. Stimulating points along these pathways through
acupuncture enables electromagnetic signals to be relayed at it greater
rate than under normal conditions. These signals may start the flow of
pain-killing biochemicals such as endorphins and of immune system cells
to specific sites that are injured or vulnerable to disease.
• Activation of opioid systems: research has found that several types
of opioids may be released into the central nervous system
during acupuncture treatment, thereby reducing pain.
• Changes in brain chemistry sensation, and Involuntary body
functions: studies have shown that acupuncture may alter brain
chemistry by changing the release of neurotransmitters and
neurohormones in a good way. Acupuncture also has been
documented to affect the parts of the central nervous system
related to sensation and involuntary body functions, such as
immune reactions and processes whereby a person's blood
pressure, blood flow, and body temperature are regulated.
Are there any side effects?
Usually not. As energy is redirected in the body, internal chemicals and
hormones are stimulated and healing begins to take place. Occasionally the
original symptoms worsen for a few days, or other general changes in appetite,
sleep, bowel or urination patterns, or emotional state may be triggered. These
should not cause concern, as they are simply indications that the acupuncture is
starting to work. It is quite common with the first one or two treatments to have a
sensation of deep relaxation or even mild disorientation immediately following the
treatment. These pass within a short time, and typically do not require anything
more than a bit of rest to overcome.
Are there any “Do’s & Don’ts” for me on the day of treatment?
Yes. For optimal treatment results, please keep a few things in mind:
• Do show up on time.
• Do wear loose comfortable clothing.
• Do not eat a large meal immediately before or after your treatment, but do be
sure to have had something to eat within two hours of your appointment.
• Do plan your activities so that after the treatment you can get some rest,
perhaps spend some time at the beach, or at least not have to be working at
top performance. This is especially important the first few visits.
• Do refrain from overexertion/over-exercise, engaging in sexual activity for
consuming alcoholic beverages within 6 hours before or after treatment.
• Do follow your treatment plan between visits.
• Do take notes of any changes that may have occurred, such as alleviation of
pain, pain moving to other areas, or changes in frequency and type of other
• Do keep all of your appointments as each visit builds upon the previous ones.
What can I expect during my first visit?
During the initial exam a full health history is taken. Questions will be
asked regarding symptoms, health, and lifestyle. You may be asked a wide
range of questions about your symptoms, eating, exercise, sleep habits
and emotional states just to name a few. Your Acupuncture Physician may
also check your pulses and your tongue and may conduct a physical
exam. This information is compiled and analyzed to create a complete,
differential, and comprehensive diagnosis of where the Qi has become
blocked or imbalanced, along with your timeline of care and what types of
treatment would best suit you. After the initial consultation and evaluation
process is completed, you may receive an acupuncture treatment at that
visit. Visits with your Acupuncture Physician may last from 30 to 90
minutes, depending on level of complication and treatment plan designed.
How many treatments will I need?
As each person is different, so too are their treatment plans and timelines.
There are those that experience immediate relief; others may take months
or even years to achieve desired results. Typically chronic conditions
usually take longer to resolve than acute ones. Plan on a minimum of one
month to see significant changes.
The frequency of treatments also plays an important role in the timeliness
of amelioration of pain or correction of other imbalances affecting your
health. Other factors that may effect how often you need to be seen may
be your constitution as well as the severity and length of time your
symptoms have bothered you. Depending on those factors and your
overall diagnosis you may be suggested to come in more frequently in the
beginning of treatment until balance and health is restored, then moving to
monthly or seasonal “tune-ups” to maintain optimal health.
What should I expect during an Acupuncture treatment?
You may experience a vague numbness, tingling, heaviness or dull ache
where the Acupuncture needle has been placed. Sometimes people notice
a sensation of energy spreading and moving around the needle. This is
called the “Qi sensation”. All of the reactions are fine and indicate the Qi is
moving and the treatment is working. The sensation caused by the needle
itself varies as some people notice a little pain as they are inserted (often
described as a slight pinch) to the more typical response of no pain at all.
The needles are in fact tiny, just a little larger than a cat’s whisker or a
human hair. After the treatment, you may feel either energized or you may
experience a sense of relaxation and peace.
How safe is Acupuncture?
It is extremely safe. Acupuncture is an all natural, drug-free therapy,
yielding little to no side effects except feelings of well being and relaxation.
How does the acupuncturist manage infection control?
There is little danger of infection from acupuncture needles because they sterile,
used once then discarded.
Because blood loss and bleeding are minimal with acupuncture, there is no
current requirement for gloves to be used.
If one receives acupuncture from a licensed practitioner in North America the risk
of a serious infection is drastically less than the risk of a serious accident while
traveling to the acupuncturist's office. The exception to this might be acupuncture
being delivered in a hospital setting.
What type of schooling do acupuncturists get?
Today, Acupuncture Physicians receive 3 to 4 years of extensive and
comprehensive graduate training at nationally certified schools. Over 3000
hours of training in both Eastern and Western fields of medicine to give the
practitioner a more integrative approach to their patient’s care. All
acupuncturists must pass a national exam and meet strict guidelines to
practice in most states, including Florida.
Why did my Acupuncture Physician recommend herbs?
Herbs can be a remarkable aid to acupuncture care. They are used
as an adjunct to strengthen, build, and support the body or to clear it
of excess problems like a cold, fever or acute pain. There are times
when it is suggested to take herbs to build up your internal strength in
order to realize the full benefits acupuncture has to offer. The
Chinese herbs must be prescribed by a practitioner that has had
extensive training in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).
How much does it cost?
For individual sessions the initial consult including intake and diagnostics is $90.00 and generally last 45-60 minutes (Initial intake, consult and treatment together run around an hour and a half).
For individual treatments that may include Acupuncture, Moxabustion, Cupping, Tuina, Lifestyle counseling or other various treatment adjuncts the cost is $60 and lasts around 30-45 minutes.
Facial Rejuvenation Consultation and Evaluation: $100 and lasts about 60 minutes.
Facial Rejuvenation Treatments are incredibly individualized and thus the price can range from $75 to $300, but typically fall into the $150-$200 range per treatment. Discounts available for tailored packages.
Stress Release Treatment: $30 for a 30 minute abbreviated treatment designed to help you relax and melt stress away. $5 off if you bring a friend.
5 Pack: $250 for 5 treatments (after initial treatment). A savings of $50!
Pediatrics: $30. Please refer to pediatric information page for more details.