Acupuncture FAQ's

Do acupuncture needles hurt?

Most people barely feel a thing when needles are inserted. Some people feel a slight pinch, and others ask “Is it in yet?” The reason acupuncture needles don’t give the painful sensation you might expect is because they’re very thin in comparison to the hypodermic needles used to give injections. Hypodermic needles are necessarily hollow so that the shot can be injected. They also have a very blunt point (actually a wedge shape) in comparison to an acupuncture needle. Forty acupuncture needles can fit into the tip of one standard 18 gauge hypodermic needle.  At AWF Clinic we use the smallest needle possible to make the experience comfortable for the patient while still being able to achieve good results.

There are certain sensations associated with the therapeutic effects of acupuncture, which are known as de qi (pronounced “da-chee”). These may include slight cramping, heaviness, distention, tingling or electric sensation traveling along a meridian. If any discomfort is experienced, it is usually mild.


Is acupuncture safe?

Acupuncture is very safe when performed by a well trained licensed acupuncturist.  Especially with the type of style we utilize at Acupuncture Wellness & Fertility clinic which entails very small needles at shallow depths in locations that pose no major risks beyond a small bruise and even this is rare.

Acupuncture needles are extremely safe, because they are pre-sterilized, individually packaged, and disposable. Every practitioner gets extensive training in anatomy to avoid inserting a needle in any place that can cause damage.


Do I have to believe in it for it to work? Does acupuncture always work?

Luckily, herbs, needles, and your nervous system are indifferent whether you believe in them or not.  While there are energetic components to this medicine, its historic origins are very physically rooted and therefore it produces true physical changes in the body.  Good results are seen in the majority of cases.  Often acupuncture and herbs excel in cases where conventional treatments have failed.


How does acupuncture work?

In Chinese medical theory, acupuncture works by balancing the body’s Qi.  Qi is translated as “vital essence” or “vital air”, almost comparable to oxygen in a western sense, and it runs along 12 major meridians.  If the Qi is blocked, it shows up as an imbalance or illness.   Chinese medical theory allows us to diagnose the imbalance and utilize the body’s own natural healing mechanism to balance it.

In Western medical theory, acupuncture appears to work by stimulating parts of the brain via the nervous system.  It causes the  body to release natural biomolecules such as neurotransmitters, vasodilators, and hormones. The exact mechanisms which bring this about are unknown, but the effects are measurable and often can be experienced quiet quickly.

A good example of this is the use of acupuncture to induce labor. One of the first things that Oriental medical students learn is that there are a few points that are absolutely forbidden to use with pregnant women. These points cause the release of oxytocin, which is the hormone that naturally induces labor. Studies have shown that using acupuncture to induce labor reduces the active (painful) phase of labor by an average of 3.6 hours.


Does insurance cover acupuncture?

Many insurance companies cover acupuncture. We are currently in network with Cigna & United Healthcare but also accept out of network coverage for any other insurance companies that may apply.  If your insurance plan provides coverage for acupuncture out of network we will provide you with all of the documentation needed to submit to your carrier for reimbursement.