Frequently Asked Questions
Do the needles hurt?
For the most part, no. Acupuncture needles are very thin, not much thicker than a human hair, flexible, and solid. They are very different from hypodermic needles. Patients sometimes feel a slight prick when the needle is being inserted, and often feel no sensation at all. Once the needles are in, some people may feel a warm or tingly sensation for a short amount of time. Most people also get very relaxed and may fall asleep during the treatment.
What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a medical system developed over 2,500 years ago in China that has continually developed since. Its primary mechanism is to restore health by balancing your internal regulating systems. This is used to treat a wide range of conditions, both emotional and physical. Though developed traditionally in China as a complete system, it has become a popular and effective complement to many conventional medical treatments.
How many treatments will I need?
It depends on your condition. We suggest that each patient come for a minimum of 5-6 consecutive visits to fully benefit from the treatments. However, we also consider each patient’s condition carefully and will make suggestions that we feel are right for you.
One way to estimate the amount of visits is to allow one month of treatments for every year you have had your condition. For example, if you recently injured yourself exercising, you may only need a couple treatments if the injury is not severe. If you have had a chronic condition for the past 10 years, it may take 10 months of treatments for your body to balance itself. We will review your progress and adjust your treatment plan on a regular basis. Also keep in mind that you will start experiencing certain benefits from acupuncture immediately, such as better sleep and reduced stress, even as we work on your chief complaint.
How long are the appointment times?
Your first appointment will be 75 minutes because we want to spend the time to get to know you properly, and fully understand what you would like to achieve from your time with us. Subsequent appointments will be 60 minutes long.
Is acupuncture safe?
Acupuncture is very safe and has minimal side effects when performed by a licensed acupuncturist. The needles are single use and disposable and will be placed in a sharps container after use. The most common side effects are minor bleeding or bruising around the site of insertion. We work with you to address any concerns you might have, and do a complete health history to make sure you are a good candidate for acupuncture before you begin your treatment.
Do I need to believe in acupuncture in order for it to work?
No. Acupuncture is not a belief system, nor is Chinese medicine a religion. There are many processes going on in our bodies every second that we don’t completely understand, yet they still work. Acupuncture is practiced on all types of people from all walks of life, and anyone can benefit from the treatments. It also has a therapeutic effect on animals, who likely do not have the same categorizations of healing practices as we humans do.
What does L.Ac. and Dipl. Ac mean?
L.Ac means Licensed Acupuncturist. In the state of Pennsylvania, licensed acupuncturists have to complete a 3-year master’s degree program, which includes over 600 clinical hours and 250 treatments performed during the course of study. In addition to that, we are required to pass two board exams in order to apply for the license.
Dipl.Ac means Diplomate in Acupuncture. There is an additional national board certified credential given to those who pass the Bio-medicine board exam. This exam is particular to how western medicine is applied in acupuncture.