What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is based on the idea that all living beings have Qi, which is your inner energy. Any interruption in the flow of Qi - causes illness and disease. Acupuncture therapy rebalances the flow of Qi by inserting a single-use tiny needle into the skin at an acupoint; then the patient rests for 20 to 30 minutes while the Qi circulates throughout the organs. Using Acupuncture needles, the practitioner redirects the flow of Qi to get things running smoothly again.
In this way - Acupuncture may help ease acute and chronic pain in any part of the body, including osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, carpal tunnel syndrome, sprain or strain. It also may help reduce the frequency of tension headaches and prevent migraines. Many patients also find relief from anxiety, depression and addiction, and find it a useful adjunct therapy to any weight loss program. Also, post Covid-19 patients seek Acupuncture therapy to relieve chest tightness, shortness of breath and fatigue amongst other symptoms - see question specific to Covid-19 below.
Rebalancing Qi on a regular basis and activating the parasympathetic nervous system (engaging the body’s innate rest/digest/heal practice) prior to having noticeable symptoms is a preventative self-care measure you can take to help prevent the onset of disease. Don’t wait for symptoms of disease to occur to take care of yourself.
Is Acupuncture evidence-based?
The science of Acupuncture that has been integrated into modern medical science through the principles of biomedicine, scientific clinical trials and Evidence-Based Medicine.
As described on the https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/acupuncture-in-depth webpage, more evidence-based information can be found:
The NCCIH Clearinghouse provides information on NCCIH and complementary and integrative health approaches, including publications and searches of Federal databases of scientific and medical literature. The Clearinghouse does not provide medical advice, treatment recommendations, or referrals to practitioners.
A service of the National Library of Medicine, PubMed® contains publication information and (in most cases) brief summaries of articles from scientific and medical journals. For guidance from NCCIH on using PubMed, see How To Find Information About Complementary Health Approaches on PubMed.
NIH Clinical Research Trials and You
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has created a website, NIH Clinical Research Trials and You, to help people learn about clinical trials, why they matter, and how to participate. The site includes questions and answers about clinical trials, guidance on how to find clinical trials through ClinicalTrials.gov and other resources, and stories about the personal experiences of clinical trial participants. Clinical trials are necessary to find better ways to prevent, diagnose, and treat diseases.
Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools Expenditures & Results (RePORTER)
RePORTER is a database of information on federally funded scientific and medical research projects being conducted at research institutions.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
The FDA oversees the safety of many products, such as foods, medicines, dietary supplements, medical devices, and cosmetics. See its webpage on Dietary Supplements.
Does Acupuncture hurt?
Everyone’s response to needles is different. Even the same person’s response to insertion of the same needles into the same Acupuncture points can vary from visit to visit. Some people report no sensation at all when needles are inserted- Chinese Medicine literature would say that it’s not a good sign since the Qi is not grasped. Some describe the feeling like a mosquito bite, and it goes away in a second. And others would say that it can feel like a brief static-electric shock. It is common to feel something- warm, cold, tingling, numbing, sharp or any other sensation. If that sensation lasts longer than a few seconds, let your practitioner know so that the needle can be adjusted.
Will I experience side effects during or after an Acupuncture treatment?
Acupuncture is safe, and side effects that arise from this practice are generally slight. Side effects may include bruising, redness, pain, numbness or tingling near the needling sites that may last a few days, and dizziness or fainting.
See the descriptions of Gua Sha and cupping under “services” for the potential and expected side effects of those specific treatments.
Do you accept insurance?
In some cases, yes. Your insurance may offer out-of-network benefits that cover Acupuncture. Coverage must be verified by the provider. Flexible spending accounts (FSA's) and Health Savings accounts (HSA's) cover Acupuncture treatments. I am happy to bill your insurance benefit with the understanding that you are responsible for all charges not covered by your insurance company.
How long are Acupuncture treatments?
The initial appointment is 80 mins and includes a full holistic assessment and treatment, which may include Acupuncture, Gua Sha, cupping, moxibustion, Tui-Na massage, and an herbal/supplement recommendation if deemed necessary. You will receive a health history questionnaire via email to complete and return before your initial treatment.
Follow-up appointment are 60 mins and include a brief holistic assessment and treatment as described above.
If you have a major “life-event”, this is an indication for another initial assessment appointment/80 mins. Examples of major life events include: Pregnancy & childbirth, surgery/medical procedure, physical trauma/accident/injury, or emotional trauma/loss. This is a time for re-evaluation of your physical/emotional presentation and for creating a new treatment plan. Also, for chronic conditions, we will meet together for a 80-minute re-evaluation at your 8th appointment to discuss your treatment plan, how you’ve been fairing with Acupuncture, and together decide what will work best for you going forward.
What do I need to bring with me?
You may bring any information that contributes to a thorough understanding of your health condition. For example your most recent lab work, documentation from any recent CT/MRI scan and/or prescriptions/herbs/supplements that you take. Also, if you come in shorts/tank top or bring them, this promotes easier access to Acupuncture points on your chest/legs.
How many treatments do I need?
Treatment plans vary depending upon the severity of symptoms and whether the condition has been present a few days (acute) or a few years (chronic). When patients can maintain a consistent Acupuncture regimen and work with me as a team by following through with agreed upon homework such as lifestyle modification and dietary changes tend to heal more quickly. The homework is critical if you are managing chronic health complaints, including auto-immune disorders, infertility, insomnia, anxiety/depression, lymphoma, etc.
For any chronic condition, we will meet together for a 80-minute re-evaluation at your 8th appointment to discuss your treatment plan, how you’ve been fairing with Acupuncture, and together decide what will work best for you going forward.
Your ideal approach for illness is to begin treatment as soon as you can. The sooner you seek help, the easier any condition is to treat. Rebalancing Qi on a regular basis and activating the parasympathetic nervous system (engaging the body’s innate rest/digest/heal practice) prior to having noticeable symptoms is a preventative self-care measure you can take to help prevent the onset of disease. Don’t wait for symptoms of a disease to occur to take care of yourself.
What education is required for licensed acupuncturists in the state of Utah?
All Licensed Acupuncturists (L.Ac.) in the state of Utah are required to undertake a course involving 4,050 hours of study, including classroom instruction, supervised clinical experiences, and out-of-class/clinic study assignments. This equates to four years of full-time study in addition to undergraduate achievements. This is a Master’s Degree of Science in Acupuncture.
I had the privilege to attend the program offered at the Pacific College of Health and Science, NY (former name- Pacific College of Oriental Medicine).
In order to obtain a Utah license from the Division of Occupational and Professional Licensure (DOPL), acupuncturists must also successfully complete three board exams by the National Commission for the Certification of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM).
In Utah, other practitioners such as chiropractors and physical therapists (P.T.) are permitted to practice needling with less supervised clinical experience in Acupuncture. These individuals are Certified Acupuncturists (C.Ac.). The designation indicates a lesser degree of training in Traditional Chinese Medicine they can receive along with their Medical Degree. For example, P.T.’s are required to have 54 hours in-person instructions to be certified in dry needling Acupuncture.
How am I keeping current and furthering my Acupuncture education?
I’m beyond excited to have completed my Doctorate of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine degree at the Pacific College of Health and Science. A relatively small number of practitioners have chosen to pursue a Transitional Doctoral Degree in Acupuncture based on Evidence-Informed Practice, Advance Integrative Diagnostics, and hands-on clinical training with allopathic practitioners. I am proud to be one of the few practitioners in the state of Utah with this advanced level of education.
I am enrolled in The Tao of Trauma: Integrating Five Element Theory and Trauma Healing training. This 12-month program is offered by Alaine Duncan, an amazing acupuncturist and somatic experiencing practitioner. Her innovative “east meets west” approach supports balance and regulation in trauma survivors. So far, it’s been such an interesting experience among other acupuncturists, bodyworkers, medical providers, and somatically oriented mental health clinicians.
I completed the Mentorship Training & Certificate Program through the Academy of Advanced Cosmetic Facial Acupuncture™ in August 2021. This unique modality empowers and encourages people to reconsider how they think about beauty and aging. It is a preventative treatment that offers an alternative to cosmetic surgery and other invasive procedures, takes an integrative approach to health, and addresses the individual’s totality to enhance both beauty and longevity while simultaneously promoting quality of life and youthful vigor.