Acupuncture FAQs

What is acupuncture

Acupuncture is an Ancient Chinese Medical therapy involving the painless insertion of very fine needles into the body in order to generate the movement of energy or Qi.

What is medical acupuncture?

Medical Acupuncture is acupuncture performed by a physician trained and licensed in Western medicine, who in addition has completed training in acupuncture as a specialty practice. This training enables the physician to combine these two approaches to best understand and improve your health issues. Many people feel more comfortable being treated by someone who has training in both Western medicine and Acupuncture.

Does acupuncture work?

Yes. The NIH (National Institute of Health) and WHO (World Health Organization) recognize acupuncture benefits for many conditions. Well-respected, evidence-based studies have indicated that acupuncture is an effective treatment for a range of conditions including headache, arthritis, low back pain, neck pain and shoulder pain.

Acupuncture has been practiced mostly in Asia and Europe. However, it is now being used more and more in the United States by physicians for their patients. It is routinely used at such prestigious places as the Mayo and the Cleveland Clinics.

How does acupuncture work?

The Traditional Chinese Medicine explanation is that channels of energy called Qi run in regular patterns throughout the body. These channels or meridians are like rivers flowing through the body; they irrigate and nourish the tissues. An obstruction in this energy contributes to poor health and causes pain and illness. Acupuncture needles unblock the obstruction and re-establish the regular flow, thus aiding in pain cessation and healing.

The modern scientific explanation is that needling the acupuncture points stimulates the nervous system to release chemicals in the body. These chemicals can decrease pain, or trigger the release of other chemicals and hormones which then influence the body’s own internal regulating system.

Does the medical field approve of acupuncture?

Yes. In the US physicians use acupuncture as part of their medical practice. Information about this is available on the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture website. The World Health Organization currently recognizes more than 40 medical problems, including pain, gastro-intestinal, gynecological and respiratory conditions as well as sports injuries, that can be helped by acupuncture.

Does acupuncture take the place of traditional Western medicine?

No. Acupuncture is not a substitute for conventional medical diagnosis and treatment. However, it can complement a traditional medical plan.

Does acupuncture hurt?

Acupuncture is relatively painless. The needles used for acupuncture are hair-thin, flexible and solid, rather than hollow like hypodermic needles used for injection and drawing blood. Acupuncture needles are high-quality, sterile, and single-use/disposable.

How many treatments will I need?

The number of treatments differs from person to person. It depends on the complexity of your illness, if it is a chronic or recent condition, and also on your general health. Some people feel dramatic relief after the first treatment. For complex chronic conditions, 1 to 2 treatments/week for several months may be recommended. Fewer visits are usually required for acute problems, typically 8 to 10 visits total. An individualized treatment plan that includes the anticipated number of treatments will be discussed during your initial visit.

Are there any side effects?

It is common to be very relaxed and sleepy after the first 1-2 treatments. On occasion, the original symptoms may worsen after a day or two. This is an indication that acupuncture is starting to work. Acupunture is usually well tolerated, with minor bleeding and bruising being the most common side effects.

Can I benefit from acupuncture even if I am not sick?

Yes. Acupuncture can be helpful in maintaining good health and preventing illness.

Should I inform my regular doctor that I am undergoing acupuncture?

In general, it is helpful for you and your doctor to be aware of all the therapies you are having. Dr. Manrique will be happy to talk with your doctor, if you like.

How should I prepare for an acupuncture session?

Keep comfortable on the day of treatment. Wear loose clothing. Eat lightly and drink water or fruit juice. Don’t drink alcohol. Continue to take all your medication. Do not plan an intense physical work-out or have any surgery including dental work. Most people feel very relaxed after treatment. Allow yourself to enjoy the sense of relaxation and wellbeing.