F.A.Q. on Acupuncture

What Is Acupuncture?

Originated in China more than 3,000 years ago, acupuncture is a complete medical system that is used to diagnose and treat illness, prevent disease and improve well-being. It is effective for physical, psychological and emotional problems. Acupuncture, due to its proven effectiveness, has been embraced throughout the world.

How Does Acupuncture Work?

Recent development in science has determined that human beings are complex bioelectric systems. Remarkably, this understanding has been the foundation of acupuncture practice for several thousand years.

Energy (often called "Chi" in Traditional Chinese Medicine) circulates throughout the body along well-defined pathways. Points on the skin along these pathways are energetically connected to specific organs, body structures, and systems. If this energy circulation is disrupted, optimum function is affected and this results in pain or illness. Acupuncture points are stimulated to balance the circulation of energy, which influences the health of the entire being.

Types of Treatment

The most commonly used technique is the treatment with acupuncture needle. However, other forms of treatment such as moxibustion (a form of heat therapy) and a variety of massage and movement techniques might be used as well. Acupuncturists may also recommend dietary modifications, herbal prescriptions and specific therapeutic exercises.

What Are the Benefits?

Acupuncture promotes the body's natural healing ability, most conditions can be corrected or improved without any side-effects commonly caused by chemical drugs. Also, acupuncture is a comprehensive system of preventive health care and health maintenance. The effectiveness of acupuncture is well documented and extends far beyond the conception that it is only useful for chronic pain management or as an analgesic. Many athletes have discovered that acupuncture treatment helps them to achieve optimum performance levels. Recently, acupuncture detoxification treatments have been recognized as a valid form of therapy for chemical dependency problems. Throughout its long history, acupuncture has established a solid reputation as a system of health that works.

How Does Acupuncture Feel?

Prior to their first treatment, many people do not believe that acupuncture can be painless. Different sensations such as warmth or pressure may be felt, but the energetic sensation differs from pain. People often comment that the feeling is unfamiliar but pleasant and relaxing.

Acupuncture needles are solid, and nothing is injected through them. They are also very fine, about the size of a thick hair. Over the centuries, refined needle insertion techniques have been developed which enable the skilled acupuncture practitioner to place a needle with little or no sensation.

In some cases it is not necessary to use needles at all. For example, when treating young children, infants, or sensitive adults, there are other techniques which are equally as effective. If you have a real fear of needles, discuss it with your acupuncturist. An appropriate treatment strategy can always be agreed upon.

Number of Treatment

The number of treatments needed will vary because each person is unique. Among the determining factors are the type of condition, whether the condition is chronic or acute, and the vitality of the individual.

Licensing, Registration and Certification

National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (
NCCAOM) has established standards to practice acupuncture safely and effectively. In New York State, state government uses the NCCAOM examination and certification for meeting its licensing or registration requirements. In addition to NCCAOM examinations, formal education and clinic training are also required for licensing.

Is Acupuncture Safe?

Very strict procedures for needle sterilization have been established by state and federal agencies. Knowledge and proper utilization of these procedures are part of licensing, registration of certification requirements. In order to assure your complete confidence, we use presterilized, disposable needles only.

Insurance Coverage

Some health insurance policies cover acupuncture treatment. Please consult your insurance company. See also
Bulletin Board.