San Diego Healing Arts Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is Acupuncture?

A: Acupuncture is a complex branch of ancient Chinese Medicine, but its practical principles are easily understood.

– There are fourteen energy channels called meridians that course through the human body including the head, arms, legs, feet, torso, and internal organs.

– Throughout our bodies there is a vital force that keeps us living and breathing known as Qi (pronounced chee) or in ayuverdic medicine it is known as Prana. Qi is the circulating life energy that in Chinese philosophy is thought to be inherent in all things; in traditional Chinese medicine the balance of negative and positive forms in the body is believed to be essential for good health. The smooth uninhibited flow of qi in our bodies keeps us healthy. Any misdirection, blockage, or other derangement of the amount, flow, or balance of qi may result in pain, dysfunction and ill health.

– With the use of acupuncture needles, herbs, moxa, tuina, cupping, and other techniques the acupuncturist is able to restore normal balance and flow in the meridians. This balancing of circulation allows the body to heal naturally.

Q: What should I expect on my first acupuncture visit?

A: During our first session I will get an overall sense of your current medical condition and ask several questions pertaining to your current health. I will also ask information about your past medical history and any prescriptions drugs you may be taking. This helps me determine the proper course of treatment for your individual needs.

Q: How should I prepare for my first treatment?

A: Wear loose clothing, hydrate and have a meal or snack before acupuncture sessions.

Q: How many treatments do I need?

A: This depends on the severity of your condition, the amount of time you have been suffering, and your current state of health. For example, if you have had chronic back pain for 10 years it may take 15 to 20 treatments to become pain free or have dramatically less pain. If you strained or pulled a muscle in your back and it was very recent then receiving acupuncture 1 to 4 times within a two week period should be enough to alleviate your symptoms.

Q: Will I need acupuncture forever to stay pain free?

A: When someone has pain my main goal is to set up a treatment plan that will allow for the greatest reduction in pain in the shortest amount of time. I will give my recommendation usually of 1 or 2 treatments per week. As the pain recedes the treatments become separated to 1 treatment every 2 weeks, 3 weeks, and so on. When the pain is gone there is no need for further treatment. I do recommend general maintenance sessions 4 times a year as the seasons change to keep your body balanced and healthy. Keep in mind that with chronic conditions of pain it has taken your body sometimes many years to get to the amount of pain your in today. In order for you to get rid of this pain your body has to heal itself with the assistance of acupuncture and herbal medicine. In other words don’t be discouraged if your first treatment doesn’t give you the amount of relief you had in mind. Instead keep a positive attitude and have faith in your innate healing capabilities and move forward with treatment.

Q: Does acupuncture hurt?

A: In general acupuncture is not associated with pain. When the needles have been placed in strategic acupoints the body will react in different ways. Often people will describe a feeling of dull achiness, twitching of muscles, releasing of muscles in areas of the body where needles may or may not be, vibration in various areas of the body, and warmth radiating into various areas. In Chinese medicine this is known as the arrival of De Qi and signifies that your body is responding to treatment.

Q: Is acupuncture safe?

A: Yes, acupuncture is safe and effective. The needles are not reused. They are for one time use only and are individually packaged and sterile. Most needles are made from stainless steel and vary in length and diameter. I use various types of needles based on patients needs. For extremely sensitive patients I use very thin needles coated with silicone for an extra smooth insertion.