Frequently Asked Questions About Acupuncture
1. Does it hurt?
This is the number one question acupuncturists are asked, because people think about getting an injection, and how much that hurts. Acupuncture feels completely different, because the needles are solid and so thin. Many times, how much you feel the needles depends on the practitioner and style of treatment they use. At Goldman Wellness Center, we use very fine needles, and aim for painless needle insertion. However, no matter how good a practitioner’s technique, if there’s a big energy blockage in an area, you many feel a pinch or slight sharpness when the needle goes in. Once the problem in the area improves, the needle insertion is usually painless.
2. Does it work?
Yes! Acupuncture is one of the oldest healing practices in the world. It’s been used continuously in China and throughout Asia for thousands of years. If it didn’t work, people wouldn’t keep using it.
And, acupuncture is a fast-growing profession in the western world, because it works in many cases where modern medicine doesn’t have good answers.
3. Can acupuncture help my pain?
Most likely, yes. In fact, most people know that acupuncture is a good treatment for pain, and they’re unaware of all of the other conditions we treat! Acupuncture is usually very effective for treating pain, and in many cases can relieve and/or eliminate pain, even when modern medical treatments have failed. Many people that get acupuncture are able to reduce or even eliminate their pain medications because acupuncture is so effective.
4. I’m afraid of needles, but I’ve heard acupuncture can help me and I’d like to try it. What should I do?
This is also a commonly asked question. Call and speak with the acupuncturist and discuss your fears. There are several techniques in Oriental Medicine that can help you, without the use of any needles. There’s even a very special Japanese treatment style we use here at Goldman Wellness Center that uses rounded-end, blunt needles only on the surface of the skin. No sharp pointy needles, and it’s so effective, some of our regular patients prefer this style of treatment.
5. How long does it take for acupuncture to work?
That’s an individual situation. Many people feel some improvement immediately, and for some people it takes longer. It also depends on what you’re being treated for. Pain often responds quickly to acupuncture treatment, but if you’ve had it for a long time, it might take a bit longer to start getting relief. Again, it’s individual. Some people with severe chronic pain start to feel better after their first treatment.
If you have a serious chronic internal medicine condition, acupuncture and Chinese medicine may still be very helpful. Just be aware that it may take longer to start seeing results. The good news is that acupuncture treatment is very relaxing, so most people feel more relaxed even on their very first treatment.
6. Can acupuncture help me?
Probably! Chinese Medicine is a completely different, and comprehensive system of medicine. We treat most acute and chronic health conditions, from common colds, headaches, pain, insomnia, digestive problems, gynecological issues, to serious chronic diseases like Parkinson’s disease. If you’d like to know if acupuncture and Chinese Medicine can help you, call and speak to an acupuncturist. We love what we do, and we’re here to help (and we really like talking about what we do and how we can help people)!
7. How big are the needles?
Most people hear the word needle and immediately think of getting a getting a “shot”, or injection from the doctor. The needles your doctor uses are much bigger than an acupuncture needle, because they’re hollow, so fluids can pas into or out of the body through them. Acupuncture needles are fine, sterile, solid stainless steel needles. Because they’re not hollow, they’re much, much thinner than injection needles. Many are finer than a hair, or thinner than a cat’s whisker.
8. How does one become an acupuncturist? How much education does an acupuncturist have?
To become an acupuncturist, one must attend Oriental Medical school and pass state licensing exams. In California, Oriental Medical education is four years of graduate schooling, which includes acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, diagnosis, treatment, as well as some biomedicine training. Schooling also includes several hundred hours of patient contact and treatments as an intern. Once education is completed, one must pass the state licensing examination in order to practice, and then is given the designation of L.Ac., Licensed Acupuncturist.
9. My M.D., chiropractor, or other practitioner has taken an acupuncture training class. Why see a Licensed Acupuncturist instead?
In most of those cases, the practitioner has only taken a 200 hour training class. Compare that with over 3,000 hours of training over four years of specialized medical school to become a licensed acupuncturist. Would you go see any other doctor or practitioner of medicine that only had 200 hours of training?
And please note, that in California, only Licensed Acupuncturists and those with a medical license from the state that allows the insertion of needles, injections and/or surgical procedures can legally practice acupuncture.