Why do you only use four needles?

The four needle acupuncture method, called Sa’am, is from Korea. Like all acupuncture styles, it works by recruiting the body’s innate healing resources. You could say that using only four needles is good resource management. Instead of asking your body to do many little things, Sa’am practitioners seek a powerful, focused response. 

Of course, there are times when we use more than four needles; and sometimes we use completely different kinds of acupuncture with more needles. 

How do you find a good acupuncturist?

This medicine is vast, and none of us knows everything. Still, quality matters, and it’s not always obvious who can really help you. Here are a couple of ideas to whittle down the options:

  1. Avoid chains and other fancy operations with high overhead. There are good practitioners in such places, but they are conflicted. For example, new patient appointments that are 30 minutes long are poor practice at a high price.
  2. Avoid those without relevant training. There are medical providers getting acupuncture (and dry needling) certificates in a weekend. No matter the level of training in their specialty, that is not so good. Stick with Licensed Acupuncturists with the title “L.Ac.”
  3. Trust, rapport, and communication are key. 

Finally, it does need to be said, after many inquiries over the years, there is no race or nationality that is better at acupuncture (or anything else) than another. (Please do not call to ask. Sheesh!)

What kind of training do you have?

Licensed acupuncturists (L.Ac.) complete a 4 year master’s degree. The training includes physiology and pathophysiology; acupuncture theory and technique, Chinese medicine theory, clinical training and internships, herbal medicine, and other modalities such as qi gong and massage.

What should I expect?

Expect results. Give it a few visits, then assess your progress. 

Expect a different point of view. One of the hidden benefits of having a different kind of medicine in your life is that it comes with a different perspective. In Traditional East Asian medicine, this generally means an emphasis on the ways our bodies reflect the environment. 

Expect a collaborative process. Your participation goes a long way to determining the outcome. It takes some trust and commitment to show up multiple times, answer lots of questions, and allow yourself to be examined. 

How does acupuncture work?

Extensive research into the physiological mechanisms of acupuncture show a wide range of effects on the nervous system, biochemical and mechanical pathways, and through the  purinergic signaling system via adenosine and ATP. Other findings show interesting possibilities in fascial neuromodulation, mast cell-nerve cell interaction, and regulation of blood flow in the brain, organs and other tissues of the body. Citations and more details can be found here.

Does Acupuncture Work?

Based on current standards of medical evidence, there is no doubt that acupuncture is effective for treating a wide range of conditions. 

In 2016, a bibliometric analysis found 13,320 published research articles on acupuncture. A 2017 in-depth review found strong evidence for acupuncture’s efficacy for 8 conditions, moderate evidence for 38 conditions, and incomplete evidence for 76 conditions. Compare this to the general field of medical practices, of which about half do not have any positive evidence. Simply put, blanket skepticism of acupuncture has been scientifically invalid for many years.

How many treatments do I need?

This depends on your challenges and goals. Allow at least three treatments before deciding if it’s working. Many chronic conditions respond well to 6-12 treatments. After serious symptoms are reduced or eliminated, many people find monthly or quarterly visits to be worth while.

What is Chinese herbal medicine and what does it have to do with acupuncture?

Chinese herbal medicine is the oldest literate medicine in the world with an unbroken chain of practice and scholarship going back more than 2,000 years. It is complex, powerful, affordable, and safe when performed by trained and experienced providers. 

Like acupuncture, it works by supporting your body’s innate healing mechanisms and normal functioning. The art of this medicine is in understanding exactly how to combine herbs to help the body in just the right way at just the right time. Chinese herbal medicine comprises hundreds of herbs and thousands of herb combinations.

Have more questions? Get in touch!