Does acupuncture hurt?

I’m not going to lie.  There are times it can be a bit uncomfortable but most of the time it doesn’t hurt or the sensations are just interesting and very different!  The majority of the time you’ll feel very little or the sensations you will experience are heaviness at the needling site, achiness, warmth, or a sense of movement radiating away from the acupuncture point.  These are all good feels!!  Every once and a while a needle will feel 'sharp’ in which case it will be readjusted and the sensation should fade.  

During your first visit we’ll talk about all the feels, the good and the not-so-good and how to communicate effectively so that you are comfortable during the entire course of treatment!  And, I promise to let you know if I will be using any technique that I expect to be not so fun.

does it work?

Acupuncture and Chinese medicine have been around for thousands of years and has been shown to be effective for treating a wide variety of health conditions.  Every patient is different and every practitioner has their strengths and weaknesses. 

We will go through a thorough health history evaluation so I can learn about your story and what your body is likely to respond the best to so you get the most benefit from each treatment.  I promise to be upfront and honest about our work together and when I don’t know something I’ll spend some time researching it so I have a better picture of how to move forward next time we meet.

What is acupuncture good for?

What a great question.  

The World Health Organization (WHO) lists the following symptoms, diseases and conditions which can be effectively managed by acupuncture (I didn't even list them all, just the biggies):

Musculoskeletal

  • Arthritis
  • Back pain, neck pain, muscle pain (pain!)
  • Muscle weakness
  • Muscle cramping
  • Sciatica
  • Sprains and strains

Digestive

  • Abdominal pain
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Indigestion
  • Nausea and vomiting

Gynecological

  • PMS
  • Menopausal symptoms
  • Infertility
  • Morning sickness
  • Dysmenorrhea
  • Labor induction
  • Insufficient lactation
  • PCOS

Emotional

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Nervousness
  • Stress
  • Schizophrenia

Eye, Ear, Nose, Throat

  • Cataracts, poor vision
  • Tinnitus
  • Rhinitis
  • Gingivitis
  • Toothache

Respiratory

  • Asthma, bronchitis
  • Common cold
  • Sinusitis
  • Tonsillitis
  • Smoking cessation

Neurological

  • Headaches, migraines
  • Parkinsons disease
  • Stroke
  • Post-operative pain
  • Bell’s Palsy

Miscellaneous

  • Addiction control
  • Blood pressure regulation
  • Stress reduction
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Symptoms from chemo or radiation therapy

is acupuncture safe?

Licensed acupuncturists are trained extensively in safe techniques and use the latest hygienic techniques as outlined in the Clean Needle Technique handbook.  Needles are single use and disposable, the table is wiped down after each patient and my hands are fastidiously washed before needle insertion, after insertion and between patients. 

What kind of training do you need to be an acupuncturist?

In the state of Iowa to receive your license you must graduate from an approved and accredited school and have completed at least a 3-year program with successful graduation.  The state of Iowa does not require acupuncturists to study Chinese herbalism in order to practice and every practitioner must pass at least 3 board exams administered by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) in Acupuncture, Fundamentals of Chinese medicine, Western medicine and Chinese herbalism (optional in some states).  

is there anything I should do to prepare for my treatment?

Yes!!  Thanks for asking!  

  • It's great if you're able to wear loose clothing: pants that pull above your knees and shirts that have easy access to your arms.  I also have lots of sheets and cozy blankets for modesty coverage.
  • Eat!!  Please have a snack if your appointment falls between meals or you haven't eaten for a while.  
  • Pay attention to your body the day or two before your treatment.  I'll be asking all kinds of questions!
  • If you're on medications please bring a list with you.  It's helpful for me to know what you're taking, especially if we are doing herbs together as well.
  • If your main concern is related to your digestive system, please begin a food journal and bring it with you to your appointment.  
  • Get curious.  Bring questions.  

is there anything I shouldn't do before my treatment?

Just a couple things, really.

  • Please DO NOT scrape your tongue if you're a tongue scraper!!  The surface of your tongue (the color, coating, bumps and cracks) and all it's glory give me a lot of information about the inner workings of your body.  Leave it all there please!! 
  • If possible, please do not arrive for your treatment intoxicated.  I am certified in the NADA protocol which can be very helpful if you are seeking treatment for addiction and want to use acupuncture in conjunction with other things you're doing.  Acupuncture can be really helpful in helping reduce cravings, reducing the side effects of withdrawal, helping you sleep better, reducing body aches and pains and can be an awesome support system in conjunction with other treatments & therapies.  No shame.  I will not judge you and am here if this is a service you need.