Acupuncture 101: Answers to Common Questions

After some years in practice, you start to hear some of the same questions pretty often. Here are a few of the top questions we get, with their answers. If you have questions, please give us a call or email us. We would love to get you some answers!

What are you doing with those needles? How do you know where to put them?
This is a really complex question! It took  your practitioners 4 years of acupuncture school, and a year of internships to figure it out. It’s hard to condense all that experience into a simple answer. Our main goal is to help you feel your best. We choose our points to do that. For a more complex answer, we recommend you check out a book we have in our waiting room, called  Why Did You Put That Needle There? by Andy Wegman. which answers a lot of commonly asked questions. It is a small book for a quick read. For those more interested in the deep intricacies of Acupuncture and Chinese medicine, check out Between Heaven and Earth: A Guide to Chinese Medicine by Harriet Beinfield and Efrem Korngold. Both books can be purchased on

How often do I need to come in for acupuncture?

Each individual has different needs, even if they have the same complaint. A 20 year-old and a 60 year-old who come in with back pain may need  a different frequency due to their overall health. At your initial visit, we will recommend a series of treatments. Frequency generally ranges from a few times a week for extreme pain or complaints to once a week for more moderate concerns. As you progress, the time between treatments will increase. After reaching a high level of wellness, many people choose to come in once every 3 weeks for a tune-up and some stress relief. We added treatment frequency info on our website so that you can use it as a guideline.

When will I start to feel better?

While it is difficult to put a number on it, most people will begin to feel better after 3-5 treatments. The  improvements are normally incremental. You may feel 20% better after your 3rd treatment, 30% after your fourth, and so on. The upward trajectory can have some glitches, but we are looking for a pattern of improvements. Chronic conditions, like 30 years of arthritis, tend to take longer to resolve. Acute conditions, like back pain that started 3 days ago, tend to resolve after a shorter series of treatments. Acupuncture works best when you get frequent treatments at the beginning of your treatment schedule. Again as you improve, treatments will be less frequent. We love Community Acupuncture because it is affordable and allows for more frequent treatments, which means more progress and sooner!

How does it work?

At it’s most elemental level, acupuncture attempts to create balance in the body. From a Chinese medical perspective, you can study the nuances of how to do this for a very long lifetime. From a western or bio-medical perspective, we still don’t know how acupuncture works. There are a lot of theories that try to understand acupuncture, from ideas on endorphins and the “gate theory” to concepts on fascia and the central nervous system. Some of the physiological effects observed throughout the body include increased circulation, decreased inflammation, relief from pain, relief of muscle spasms and increased T-cell count which stimulates the immune system. All of these reactions are most likely due to multiple mechanisms.

Will it help with my ___________  condition?

Acupuncture is helpful for a wide range of conditions and concerns. It is pretty amazing as a practitioner to see how it can create positive change in so many peoples lives with so many varying health concerns. Many times acupuncture can address a specific problem, like back pain. You come in with back pain, and after a series of treatments, your back feels much better. There are also other conditions like autism spectrum where acupuncture can be helpful in reducing some of the concerns that arise. Acupuncture may help to ease social anxiety, poor sleep or digestive patterns, and improve communication and linguistic abilities.

Because acupuncture treats the whole person, and helps reduce stress in almost all participants, most people gain benefit from treatments.


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