FAQ - Acupuncture

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is the practice of inserting ultra fine needles into specific points of energy that are located along 14 Meridians or Channels that cover the entire body. There are 365 classical Acupuncture points associated with the 14 Meridians and 40 'extra' points that are not associated with any particular meridians. These points and meridians , mapped out millennia ago and confirmed by consistent practice have show that skillful insertion and manipulation of specific points will produce predictable results in the body.


I know Acupuncture involves needles. Does it hurt?

Generally speaking, Acupuncture should not be painful. When your practitioner inserts a needle, he looks for signs that Qi has arrived by any one of a number of signs. You may feel a dull ache, perhaps a feeling of electricity or tingling, a sensation of heat or cold, or it may just feel strange. Sometimes you can feel Qi running up or down the body or a limb. It is important that the sensation of Qi be felt. Occasionally you may like you've been stung by a bee. This can be somewhat uncomfortable, but should pass almost immediately. If it doesn't, tell your practitioner right away so he can adjust or remove the needle. Occasionally you may feel a throbbing ache, which may also be somewhat uncomfortable, especially if you are being treated for a chronic condition. At no time, though, should you have any sensation that is beyond your tolerance level. If you do, let your practitioner know right away. The fact is that the vast majority of clients report that, after a while, they begin to feel a real sense of well-being, almost euphoria.


I have heard Acupuncture can be dangerous. Is this true?

Younger people need to detoxify less often; however, as you grow older, detoxification becomes more essential. All adults should detoxify themselves at least once in 6 months, depending on their lifestyle, stress and pollution that they are exposed to.’ How do I know if I need a detox? If you constantly feel tired / lethargic, have difficulty in concentrating, catch colds easily, or suffer from allergies / indigestion/ bloating / bad breath / offensive sweat, then you surely need a detox, and quickly too. In addition, if stress is one of your close companions and you are a smoker, it’s high time you go in for a detoxification program soon. People who drink less of water and do not consume adequate fiber also need detox frequently.


What are the Benefits of Detoxification ?

In the hands of skilled practitioner, Acupuncture is perfectly safe. However, there are some things to be aware of. Since needles are being inserted into the body, cautions are recommended when working around major organs or around the face. It is possible to puncture a Lung (Pneumothorax), if one is not careful. The practitioner inserts needles in this area at an angle, uses shorter needles and avoids deep penetration especially in elderly and slender clients.

Needling particularly sensitive parts of the body such as the scrotum, vulva, anus, the navel, nipples, and eyeballs is strictly forbidden.
As well it is forbidden to needle into scar tissue, open wounds or open sores. Once needles are inserted, you should try to lie still and not make any large movements, especially if you have needles in your back or chest.
At Compassionate Dragon Healing we have specific protocols to deal with any possible situation.


I have heard that Acupuncture is good for pain. Is it good for anything else?

: The list of diseases and conditions for which Acupuncture would be an appropriate treatment is extensive. Acupuncture is a complete medical system in itself, and is also an excellent compliment to almost any other treatment, including Western pharmaceuticals & surgery, herbal therapies, massage or Chiropractic.

Acupuncture is not strictly speaking a miracle cure. It cannot, by itself, cure cancer, for example. It does not cure Autoimmune diseases such as Diabetes or Addison's Disease, or Lupus. If you break a leg, or are in a car accident, I would recommend you go to the local Emergency Room first, but come for Acupuncture treatments afterward for pain and to speed healing.

Acupuncture is, on the other hand, extremely effective, drug free, non-surgical treatment for the serious side effects of Cancer treatments and hormone replacement therapies for Autoimmune Diseases, post-operative pain, PMS and Menopause symptoms.. It should be noted that Acupuncture is not only good if you are sick or damaged. Even if you are not so sick, Acupuncture is good for balancing the body's systems and promoting good health and well-being. It is particularly effective at treating emotional disorders such as Phobias, Grief and Anger.

I've Heard that Acupuncture is Wholistic. What's that all about?

Holistic Medicine is a rather large area of study. Basically, it means treating a client, not as a collection of symptoms and body parts, but the whole person, body, emotions, mind, and spirit. Of these, only the body exists on the physical plane. It is said that the other aspects of a person exists at higher energetic planes.

In TCM, one of the important aspects of diagnosis is to evaluate a client's Shen or spirit. There are a few guidelines for evaluating 'Shen', but mainly it is an intuitive insight into how a particular client will respond to treatment. One may be said to have a strong Shen, and prognosis will be good. A weak 'Shen', means a poor prognosis.

Emotions have long thought to be at the root of many diseases and conditions. In Chinese Medicine, the 5 cardinal emotions of Joy, Anger, Worry, Grief, and Fear are thought to be primary causes of diseases. Strengthening the Liver for example has the effect of reducing Anger, the Liver's associated emotion.

There are also Acupuncture points for 'calming the mind' and 'strengthening the spirit.'

In Holistic thinking,disease and disharmony that take up residence in the body are symptomatic of much deeper emotional, mental and spiritual disharmonies. These energetic disharmonies may be treated rather easily in many cases, if it is thought to do so. Often, with early detection there is no need to wait for the disease to enter the body.

A part of Chinese Medicine is devoted to promoting wellness and longevity. Reinforcing the body's immune system and treating disharmonies while they are still energetic in nature by various methods is a basic tenet of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Will Acupuncture interfere with my medication? 

The short answer is no. A word of caution though. You may find your medication working more efficiently since Acupuncture has a tendency to remove blockages and balance the energetic pathways. If your medication is dosage sensitive, make sure you see your Doctor to monitor your dosages. Make sure you know what the signs of overdosing are, if any. It is never a good idea to stop taking medication without your Doctor's guidance. Western pharmaceuticals are potent. In many cases you need to reduce dosages gradually to avoid unpleasant reactions.

How Acupuncture Feels

Prior to their first treatment, many people do not believe that acupuncture can be painless. Different sensations such as soreness, numbness, distending, warmth and pressure may be felt, but the energetic sensation differs from pain. People often comment that the feeling is unfamiliar but pleasant and relaxing.

Acupuncture needles are very fine, about the size of a thick hair. They are solid and nothing is injected through them. Over the centuries, refined needle insertion techniques have been developed which enable the skilled acupuncture practitioner to place a needle with little or no sensation.

If you have a real fear of needles, discuss it with your acupuncturist. An appropriate treatment strategy can always be agreed upon.

there “Do’s and Don’ts” for a patient on a day of treatment? 

Yes, the following suggestions will help you get the maximum benefits from your treatment:

 Maintain good personal hygiene to reduce the possibility of bacterial infection.

 Wear loose clothing and if possible, avoid wearing tight stockings.

 Avoid treatment when excessively fatigued, hungry, full, emotionally upset, or shortly after sex.

 Avoid eating a big meal within one hour of your appointment (digestion alters the pattern of your pulse)

 Avoid alcohol, tobacco, food or drinks that color your tongue (such as coffee) immediately prior to treatment or just following a treatment

 Plan your activities so that after the treatment you can get some rest, or at least not have to be working at top performance. This is especially important for the first few visits

.  Remember to keep good mental or written notes of what your response is to the treatment. This is important for your doctor to know so that the follow-up treatments can be designed to best help you and your problem.

 Continue to take any prescription medicines as directed by your regular doctor.

 Please bring with you any information about your case you may have from your other doctors, including things like lab tests, blood work, reports of x-rays or MRI's, etc. To save time you may fill out our office forms before coming into the office.

 Relax; there is no need to be frightened. Ask your practitioner any questions you have along the way so that you can get the most benefit possible from the treatment.

 During the treatment, do not change your position or move suddenly. If you are uncomfortable, tell your practitioner.

 Very few people experience dizziness, nausea, cold sweat, shortness of breath, or faintness during treatment. This can occur if you are nervous. Inform your practitioner immediately so he or she can readjust or withdraw the needles. Also, let your practitioner know if you feel an increasing amount of pain or burning sensation during the treatment.

 If you find your treatment unbearable at any point, be sure to speak up so that your practitioner can make proper adjustments or stop the treatment. It also helps to be in a calm state. Try to arrive 10 or 15 minutes before your appointment to give yourself a chance to relax. Comfortable, loose clothing should be worn, and you should not wear any metallic jewelry, watches, or earrings. Makeup and nail polish should be minimized or eliminated.

Are There Any Effects Immediately After an Acupuncture Treatment?

Feeling relaxed or “light-headed” is quite common. If you suffer from a chronic pain of muscular-skeletal origin, the pain may temporarily become more pronouncing after the treatment before improvement takes place. The result can be immediate for some diseases like acute muscular pains, headaches or sinus disorders

Is acupuncture needle safe?

Yes! Because now acupuncture is carried out with sterile and disposable needles approved by FDA

How many sessions do I need for treatment?

Since each person is unique, the number of treatments needed will vary. Among the determining factors are the type of condition, whether the condition is chronic or acute, and the vitality of the individual. Again, you should discuss your treatment program with your acupuncturist.

How many needles should be used in each treatment?

According to my experience, six to eight needles are used during acupuncture treatment at most of times. If two or more symptoms or conditions are treated during one session, ten or more needles may be used. For instance, a patient has being suffered from both back pain and headache for a while. The patient can be treated for both in each session instead of treating only one symptom in one session. However, do not try to treat as many symptoms or conditions as possible.

If an acupuncturist does not have enough experience, he or she should just treat one symptom or condition in each treatment.

Some acupuncturists insert as many as thirty or more needles in one treatment. This may mean that by using many needles the chances of inserting some of needles precisely at acupoints may be increased. In fact, this approach may set the treatment effect out of control and cause fatigue that hinders treatment, rather than beneficial relaxation.

How often should I have acupuncture treatment?

I usually render it two to three sessions a week for the first two weeks. After reviewing the progress of treatment, I render it one to two sessions a week for the following weeks. However, it entirely depends on the physical condition of each individual.

How long each session takes?

Normally, each session takes 20 to 30 minutes. It depends on the sensitivity of each individual and the kind of diseases and conditions.

In general speaking, the quality of acupuncture treatment relies on the experience and skill of an acupuncturist. They are combination of diagnosis of symptom, accuracy of acupoints, timing, the depth and angle of insertion, techniques of manipulation, etc.

Should I stop other medications?

No. You should continue to follow your current physician's instructions. Please remember that acupuncture is used to complement and supplement your physician's treatments not to replace them. You should discuss this issue with your physician and acupuncturist.

In which cases, acupuncture is inadvisable?

A patient should never be needled under the following conditions:

When the patient is too hot; when his or her pulse is greatly disturbed; when he or she is drunk or angry; when he or she is hungry or has eaten too much; when he or she is overtired, out of breath; or when he or she is full of great fear.

It is preferable not to have acupuncture treatment at all during pregnancy.

What if I don’t have any health problems? Can acupuncture enhance my health or prevent future problems?

Yes. Acupuncture has traditionally been used as a preventive medicine. Recent research has now verified that acupuncture stimulates immune function, which increases resistance to bacterial and viral infections. Acupuncture can dramatically increase overall vitality and energy. It treats underlying causes, resulting in a deeper kind of healing. It brings about profound changes in peoples¹ lives on the emotional level as well. Many people find that occasional acupuncture tune-ups are the best medicine to feel "in sync" and insure continuing health.

How quickly can I expect to feel better?

In general, I tell my patients they should start to feel the benefits from acupuncture in 2-3 treatments. If the problem is acute, sometimes improvement is felt after 1 treatment, and may only need 3-5 treatments to resolve. If the problem is chronic and long term, it may take many treatments to help resolve.

Does acupuncture always help?

No, but it usually does. If you do not feel any benefit after 3-5 treatments, then acupuncture may not work for you.

Does medical insurance cover acupuncture treatment?

That depends on which state you live, who is your medical insurance company and what type health insurance plan you have enrolled.

In some states like New Mexico, California, Maryland, etc., most of health insurance companies offer medical insurance programs that cover acupuncture treatment, even for Chinese herb formula.

A few insurance companies like Aetna U.S. Healthcare start to offer acupuncture treatment coverage in one of their medical insurance programs. Indepence Blue Cross is considering introducing an alternative healthcare program administrated by American Specialty Health Networks. However, you better contact your auto insurance or work insurance company to confirm the acupuncture treatment coverage.