How Does Acupuncture Work?

Acupuncture involves the insertion of fine, sterile, disposable needles into specific sites along the body’s meridians to clear energy blockages and encourage normal flow of qi and blood throughout the individual. It can cause multiple biological responses that occur locally or distally within the central nervous system. This can lead to activation of pathways affecting various physiological systems in the brain as well as in the periphery. Stimulation of acupuncture points may also activate the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland, resulting in a broad spectrum of systemic effects. Alteration in the secretion of neurotransmitters and neurohormones and changes in the regulation of blood flow, both centrally and peripherally, have been documented. There is also evidence that there are alterations in immune functions produced by acupuncture.

Are There Side Effects?

Done properly, acupuncture rarely causes serious side effects. Many people feel a brief stinging sensation, like a pinprick, during insertion of the needles. Others experience a dull ache around the needle after it goes in. This is sometimes referred to as a “Qi Sensation.” Acupuncture is a very safe method of encouraging the body to promote natural healing and improve function.

One side effect that can occur is that the original symptoms worsening for a few days after an acupuncture treatment.  Sometimes 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 also common with the first one or two treatments to have a sensation of deep relaxation or even mild disorientation immediately following the treatment. These effects should wear off within 24-48 hours.–Acufinder.com, Diane Joswick, L.Ac., MSOM

What are the Risks?


  • bruising
  • muscle spasms
  • bleeding


  • nerve damage
  • fainting
  • pneomothorax(punctured lung)
  • accidental injury to vital organs(spleen, liver, kidney, stomach, etc)

What Is The Average Treatment Like?

Upon arriving at my office, you will be asked to fill out New Patient forms including confidential personal information and medical history. We will the  discuss and chief complaints you may have and any other issues/goals you want to address in your treatments.  I will then take your pulses and look at your tongue, which are tools used for diagnosis in Chinese Medicine. If there is any pertinent biomedical issue, such as high blood pressure or a head cold, I will also take your temperature, pulse rate, and a blood pressure reading for reference. Once I complete the intake, the treatment will begin. You will lie on an acupuncture table and then I swab your skin with alcohol over the points I have chosen to use in your treatment. The alcohol disinfects the area so that there is no chance of infection. I then insert the needles into various points on your body. Once all of the needles are inserted, I leave you in the room for approximately 20-30 minutes with a heat lamp over your feet, or preferred area of your body, to keep you warm. After 20-30 minutes have gone by, I return and remove all the needles. If there are any adjunctive therapies we have discussed doing, such as cupping, I will usually do them after all of the needles have been removed. If not, the treatment is over. The entire initial treatment, from the beginning of the intake until needle removal, usually takes one hour, give or take. Follow-up treatments usually take less time because the intake is much shorter

Are The Acupuncture Needles Disposable?

Yes, I use only disposable, sterile, single-use filiform acupuncture needles. They are individually packaged and sealed, and thrown away after each treatment into a regulated medical waste, or biohazard, sharps container.

How Will I Feel After a Treatment?

Many people getting acupuncture for the first time experience a deep relaxation, drowsiness, or even a euphoric stupor afterwards. Others don’t feel anything at first, and then feel either tired and need to take a nap, or feel very energized. Sometimes for pain treatment, the pain will be gone after a treatment, sometimes it feels like nothing has happened for a few hours, and then the pain dissipates. In my experience, people generally feel relaxed and slightly foggy, so I recommend not scheduling anything important like a business meeting immediately after a treatment. People usually feel completely normal again, if not much better, in one to 3 hours.

Do Chinese Herba Taste bad?

Honestly, yes, some Chinese herbs do taste bad. Some taste bland. Some taste sour. And some taste sweet. It really depends on which formula is prescribed for you, and which individual herbs comprise the formula. However, only the raw and powder herbs, as well as decoctions (which are prepared with alcohol in liquid form) have the potential to taste bad. Capsules and tablets do not. So, if you are worried about the taste of the herbs, then taking herbs in capsule or tablet form would be the way to go.

Do You Sell Chinese Herbs At Your Clinic?

I carry a small pharmacy of tinctures by Far East Summit and patent herbal formulas from various suppliers at my office.  I can also write a custom formula specific to your needs through Qualiherb.  Other pharmacies I order from are The Crane Herb Company and Evergreen Herbs. I only purchase top quality herbal extracts that use advanced testing for safety and effectiveness, as well as eco-sensitive farming to protect our environment.

How Often Do I Need To Come?

It depends on the condition being treated and how severe it is, but usually I recommend coming in for treatments once a week. If the condition is very acute, painful, or severe, I recommend coming in at least twice per week. And if it is less painful, chronic, or not severe, I recommend coming every two weeks. Most importantly, it depends on how effective the first treatment is for the patient and how long the results last. I always encourage an open dialogue with the patient so that we can decide together what is best for them to achieve optimum results.

Do I Need To Eat Before My Treatment?

I always recommend having a full stomach when you come in for an acupuncture treatment. This helps prevent fainting, nausea, and unpleasant side effects that occur when someone’s blood sugar is low with the introduction of needles.

Can I fill Out My Paperwork Before Coming in?

Yes, you can fill out paperwork before coming in. Please click on the link below to go to the Forms page. If you do not want to fill out paperwork before coming in, please come 15 minutes before your scheduled appointment time to fill it out in my office.

Download Forms

What Should I Wear To My Appointment?

I recommend wearing comfortable, baggy clothing for acupuncture treatments. This way, not only will you will be comfortable during your treatment, but I can also access most points on your body without you having to remove all of your clothes.