Traditional Acupuncture FAQ

How Does It Work?

A Traditional Chinese Medical Practitioner will examine a patient’s whole health history, their diet, life-style, emotional tendencies, as well as their specific areas of concern. The practitioner will also look at the patient’s tongue and take their pulses. With all this information, a practitioner can assess the main patterns of disharmony and begin to work on balancing the systems.

There are several theories as to why acupuncture is so effective. One popular theory is that when acupuncture is applied there is a chemical endorphin-like reaction of releasing enkephalins from the nervous system that helps the body relax by reducing pain sensations. Latest studies show a possible realignment of negative and positive ions in the fluid system along the meridian channels. It is believed that, while acupuncture influences the nervous system, it does not do so by directly contacting nerve endings, rather it communicates with receptor cells which transform energy in the language of nerve impulses.

What is Qi?

Qi (chee) is the life-force energy in our body that we are both born with and maintain throughout life. Qi has been referred to in classic texts as the energy that is on the verge of becoming matter. There are several different qualities of Qi; working with correct Chinese diagnosis of signs and symptoms directs the practitioner to specific meridians and point combinations to treat a problem. Along with blood and body fluids, Qi is considered major component to maintaining health.

Is Acupuncture Safe?

Acupuncture is extremely safe when performed by a competent trained, licensed professional. All licensed acupuncturists in the USA use sterile, individually packaged disposable needles. At the ASAOM Clinic, needles are used only once and disposed of immediately afterward.

Does Acupuncture Hurt?

Due to the solid hair-thin needles that are quickly inserted, the sensation is very mild and absolutely nothing like a hypodermic needle. Many times a needle is hardly felt at all. There is usually a mild sensation, like warmth, tingling or pressure. Some may feel energy moving up or down the channels.

Is There Anything I Should Or Should Not Do Before A Treatment?

The following guidelines will help you to receive maximum benefit from treatments:

  1. Do not come on an empty stomach or overly full one before a treatment. Make sure you have eaten a light meal.
  2. Avoid heavy exercise, deep massage, sweating or heat therapies and sex directly after a treatment. Wait at least 4-8 hours later, preferably the next day.

What Should I Do During A Treatment?

Relax! Ask any questions that concern you, so that you feel fully supported emotionally as well as making sure you are comfortable. By the very nature of how acupuncture works on the body’s central nervous system, you will relax even more as the treatment progresses.

What Happens During A Treatment?

You will be lying down on a comfortable massage table as the practitioner inserts the hair-thin needles. At the ASAOM Clinic, you will be listening to relaxing music under soft lighting. Many people fall asleep. The practitioner will usually leave the room and let you relax for 20-40 minutes. Sometimes a practitioner will do other adjunct therapies before, during, or after a treatment, such as warming moxibustion, cupping or electrostimulation. Your practitioner can explain how they help and why they have chosen them.

At the ASAOM Clinic, the treatment space is an open clinic type of setting. That is, each treatment room is sub-divided into four treatment areas. To provide a measure of visual privacy, each area is enclosed with standup screens. So as to respect patients receiving treatments in other areas of the treatment room, we ask that everyone keep conversations low and at a minimum.

What Expectations Should I Have After A Treatment?

Patients often experience significant results after their first treatment. Some may only feel slight improvement or a shift in how they feel energetically. A practitioner may tell you what you might feel or notice depending on what you are working on. For insomnia, the person might sleep great that night or slightly better overall for several nights. Sometimes pain can be completely relieved for several days and only gradually return. Acupuncture is a cumulative process and each treatment builds upon the last one, especially if they are spaced closely enough together in a regular pattern. Most people experience an immediate sense of well-being and relaxation.

How Often Do I Need To Come Back And For How Long?

This depends on the severity and depth of your condition. Occasionally a patient is “cured” in one treatment, but for most chronic problems there is more than one system out of balance which may require several treatments over a period of time to correct the base imbalances, as well as the symptoms. In Chinese Medicine, this is referred to as treating the “Root” along with the “Branch”. Often a practitioner suggests acupuncture treatment weekly for 4-6 weeks, or bi-weekly to get old patterns to shift, then reevaluate the situation and see what remains to be corrected. Some degenerative conditions require a number of treatments over time, often with suggestions for dietary changes, specific exercise routines, herbal therapy, or self-massage to bring things back into balance.

What Can Be Treated With Acupuncture?

The World Health Organization has recognized over 40 disorders that Acupuncture has proved to be effective for:

  • Musculoskeletal & Neurological: Arthritis, Fibromyalgia, Peripheral Neuropathies Back pain, Sciatica pain, Cerebral Palsy, Postoperative pain, Bell’s Palsy, TMJ, Facial paralysis, All kinds of structural and muscular pain
  • Upper Respiratory & Heart: Asthma, Bronchitis, Colds, Flu, Chronic cough, Dizziness Pleurisy, Stroke Recovery, Hypertension, Angina Pectoris
  • Ear, Nose & Throat: Migraines, Headaches, Sinusitis, Rhinitis, Laryngitis, Swollen Glands, Toothache, Ear ringing
  • Immune System Dysfunction: Allergies, Chronic Fatigue, HIV, Candida, Lupus, MS
  • Cancer therapy symptoms
  • Gastrointestinal & Metabolism: Gastritis, Irritable Bowl Syndrome, Duodenal Ulcers, Colitis, Constipation, Diarrhea, Abdominal pain, Nausea, Food sensitivities, Spastic Colon, Diabetes
  • Gynecological & Genitourinary: Menstruation problems, PMS, Endometriosis, Uterine Fibroids, Infertility, Chronic Bladder Infections, Cystitis, Incontinence, Menopause symptoms
  • Psychological: Insomnia, Depression, Anxiety, Posttraumatic Stress
  • Addictions: Smoking cessation, Detoxification from alcohol and drugs

Herbal Consultation Services:

It should be noted that seeing a Chinese Medical practitioner does not mean one must have acupuncture. Although both together are often the most optimum treatment, we also do separate Chinese Herbal consultations without acupuncture. Many disorders can be greatly alleviated just by proper Chinese herbal therapy, including menopausal symptoms, cold and flu symptoms, some gastrointestinal problems and other chronic internal illnesses. (Read more about Chinese Herbs…)


There are various fees for consultations and acupuncture treatments for adults, students and children. Some limited sliding scale fees may be available for those in need. Call for more information.