Does acupuncture hurt? No. The needles are very thin and flexible and there is usually no discomfort. Most people find that acupuncture is a relaxing and pleasant experience, and it's common to fall asleep during the treatment.
How many treatments will I need? It depends. Acute conditions are typically resolved in 1-4 visits. Chronic conditions may require regular treatments over a period of a few months to see the best results, but we expect to see some kind of symptomatic relief within the first 3-4 treatments. Acupuncture has a cumulative effect, which means that the benefits last longer after repeated treatments, allowing us to reduce treatment frequency over time. If the cause of the illness or injury remains active in your life, you may have to come in for maintenance treatments periodically. The pain relief and stress relief that acupuncture provides can help you to (re)start and sustain nutrition/exercise/lifestyle habits that will speed your recovery.
Is acupuncture safe? Yes. The needles are sterilized, single-use disposable needles, and there are virtually no side effects with acupuncture treatment when administered by a properly trained and licensed practitioner.
Can I use Western medicine and acupuncture together? Yes. Acupuncture can be combined with conventional medicine when acupuncture alone is not sufficient or appropriate to effectively treat your condition.
What happens during the treatment? We talk for awhile and review your health history and get the current report on your symptoms, and then we insert acupuncture needles and leave them in place for 30-40 minutes. Sometimes we use additional tools like heat, essential oils or cupping to make your treatment more effective.
What should I do to prepare for my first treatment? Make sure you've eaten within a few hours of coming to the treatment (if you get treated on an empty stomach, you may be sleepy or lightheaded afterwards). Wear loose fitting comfortable clothes that can roll up to your knees and elbows.
Do I have to believe in acupuncture for it to work? No. It works on babies, animals, and comatose patients independent of belief and placebo effect, and there are measurable physiological effects that occur regardless of patient expectations.
Do you prescribe Chinese herbs or other supplements? No. If you are looking for Chinese herbs, I would recommend the practitioners at West Seattle Acupuncture or Soundview Acupuncture; they are experienced herbalists, and they also practice acupuncture. If you are looking for supplements, Western herbs, bio-identical hormones etc., I would highly recommend seeing one of the naturopathic doctors at Neighborhood Naturopathic; they are excellent, and have a wide breadth of experience and specialties.