Acupuncture FAQs

At our Acupuncture clinic in New York City and the Hudson Valley we often get asked the same questions regarding acupuncture – what is it, how does it work – does it hurt? If your questions are not answered below, of course we’d be happy to answer more directly.

Does acupuncture hurt?

Different people have different perceptions of what constitutes “hurt”. That being said, the feedback I receive from patients, including ones that went to other acupuncturists, is that my needling methods are virtually painless, strangely relaxing, and extremely comfortable.

Is acupuncture safe?

When performed by a licensed and properly trained practitioner, acupuncture is arguably the safest form of alternative health care available.

Do you use disposable needles?

Yes. At Holistic Natural Medicine I ONLY use disposable needles. Thus there is no risk of infection whatsoever.

How deep do the acupuncture needles go in?

At the clinic I believe that the optimum needle depth for acupuncture is where the superficial nerve fibers of the skin are, so the needles are usually inserted anywhere from 1-3 millimeters…just barely beneath the skin. A millimeter is one-thousandth of a meter. This is dramatically different from some acupuncture styles that insert the needles anywhere from one to three inches deep.

Where do you usually put the needles?

Unlike traditional acupuncturists, I do not cover the body with dozens of needles. I practice a specialty form of acupuncture known as “Sujok” where most of the needles are painlessly placed on the surface of the hand or ankle.

What is “Sujok Acupuncture”?

“Sujok” is a specialty form of acupuncture created by a South Korean scientist named Professor Park Jae Woo. Sujok combines modern neurology with ancient Chinese meridian theory to produce treatment results that we find to be superior to regular acupuncture. A feature of Sujok is that it is performed only on the hands and feet (where the pressure points are more powerful) which makes it unbeatable in terms of patient comfort and safety.

Is acupuncture compatible with the care that my Medical Doctor provides?

Yes, but please consult your physician if you have any doubts on this matter. Patients at our office are told that it is never required nor recommended that they discontinue regular care from their physician. We work with conventional medicine and not against it.

How is acupuncture licensed and regulated?

Acupuncture is a licensed and regulated health care profession in over 40 states in the U.S. This includes New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. In addition, the National Commission for the Certification of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) certifies both acupuncturists and Chinese herbal medicine practitioners. We are certified to practice both acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine by the NCCAOM and am licensed in the state of New York to practice acupuncture.

What will I feel during an acupuncture session?

The most common feeling my patients have during acupuncture is one of profound relaxation. Many of them tell me they feel like taking a nap after acupuncture. Some patients feel a pleasant sensation of warmth in their body, and others feel nothing other than relief of the pain that they came in with.

What problems can be treated by acupuncture?

The World Health Organization recognizes acupuncture’s effectiveness for over 40 common disorders, such as:

  • Musculoskeletal disorders
  • Back pain, neck pain, sciatica, arthritis, tennis elbow, frozen shoulder, TMJ, carpel tunnel syndrome, knee pain, plantar fascitis, sports injuries
  • Neurological Disorders
  • Paralysis, nerve damage, loss of strength, severe chronic pain, sensory loss, tremors, bell’s palsy, degenerative nervous system disorders (MS, ALS, Parkinson’s, Lymes disease etc.), eye and vision disorders, hearing loss, restless leg syndrome, trauma and injury rehabilitation.
  • Gynecological disorders
  • Infertility, endometriosis, PMS, menstrual irregularity, menstrual cramps, menopausal syndrome, urinary tract infections, yeast infections
  • Endocrine/Hormonal disorders
  • Hypothyroid, hyperthyroid, chronic fatigue, adrenal exhaustion, diabetes, loss of libido, sexual dysfunction (male and female), anxiety disorder, panic attacks.
  • Gastrointestinal disorders
  • Indigestion, IBS, nausea, constipation, diarrhea, ulcers, colitis, irritable bowel syndrome
  • Immune and Autoimmune disorders
  • Allergies, bronchitis, asthma, emphysema/COPD, eczema, psoriasis
  • Menopause and change of life concerns
  • Circulatory disorders
  • Hypertension, high blood pressure, arteriosclerosis, angina pectoris
  • Chemotherapy and Radiation Support
  • Treatment of nausea, fatigue, constipation, pain, and other side effects of conventional cancer treatments.

From looking at this list it may seem that acupuncture can help almost anything. The reason for this is that when performed correctly, acupuncture treats the person and not just the disease. Please think about this because there is a HUGE difference between working towards strengthening a patient so that his entire body is functional and vibrant, versus just trying to alleviate a symptom. Although symptoms quickly resolve with the treatments,  do not merely treat symptoms. My goal is to restore balance and strength to the entire person.

Do you treat kids?

Yes. In fact, because of their young age and heightened self-healing ability, children respond to acupuncture and nutritional supplementation much faster than adults do. And of course, for kids who refuse to have needles, needle-free acupuncture is a painless and effective method of healing that works just as well. For children with specific needs in my clinical experience this method of treatment works beautifully in unison with speech pathologists, behavioral therapies etc.

How many treatments will I need?

That depends on the duration, severity, and nature of your complaint. You may need only a single treatment for an acute condition. A series of 4-8 treatments may resolve many chronic problems. Some degenerative conditions such as diabetes or multiple sclerosis may require many treatments over time. To help reduce the number of treatments, we will often suggest specific nutritional supplements, Chinese herbal remedies, and dietary modifications all of which will help to increase the efficacy of acupuncture and accelerate the healing process.

After the initial visit, I will outline a treatment plan that includes when you can expect to feel better. If improvement is not seen by this time period, treatment is discontinued.

Do I need to keep coming to you after I feel better?

My feeling is that once you become healthy and functional again, you will stay healthy and functional as long as you follow two guidelines:

  1. You avoid whatever habit or activity that originally caused your problem. In other words, you will be fine as long as you don’t re-injure yourself.
  2. You follow some simple habits for healthy living that include eating properly, getting enough rest, exercising properly, and managing stress. If you don’t know how to do these things are discussed while under my care.

Patients are discharged from care once they feel healthy again and are gradually weaned onto a health maintenance program which includes certain nutritional supplements as well as periodic check-up visits (anywhere from once every one to four months depending on the person.

How long is an average treatment?

For the first treatment we will need about 45 minutes to 1 hour of your time. This is needed to perform an exam of your problem, a comprehensive health history, nutritional or herbal counseling if needed, the actual acupuncture treatment, and then a report of findings so that you can understand what to expect from treatment and how long it will take for you to feel better.

For follow-up visits thereafter we will need 15 to 30 minutes of your time depending on what is being treated. Simple problems such as neck pain or knee pain will only need about 15 minutes while more complicated problems such as infertility or digestive problems will obviously need a little more time.

It’s an unfortunate aspect of modern life that we are all pressed for time. We fully realize that it’s a sacrifice for our patients to take time out of their busy schedule to come for acupuncture treatment. We guarantee that you will not be made to wait excessively for your appointment and that your care will be given in the most professional and efficient manner possible.

Is there anything I need to do before receiving an acupuncture treatment?

There are three things that you can do to help you get the most benefit from your treatment:

  1. Wear loose, comfortable clothing. Women should avoid wearing one piece dresses or tight stockings. Men should avoid wearing suits or dress shirts to their appointment.
  2. Do not bring your cell phone into the treatment room or at the very least turn it off before entering the office. Having the phone ring during an acupuncture session takes away from the effect of the healing and is distracting to both the Practitioner and the patient.
  3. Relax. You are in good hands and there is no need to be frightened. Every treatment is individually tailored to fit the patient’s comfort level and needs. Feel free to ask us any questions you may have along the way so that you can get the most benefit from your treatment.

What kind of training have you had? What are your qualifications?

See the “BIO” section of this website to view my credentials.

What’s the difference between a licensed acupuncturist and a medical acupuncturist?

A licensed acupuncturist (L.Ac.) has graduated from an accredited school of Traditional Chinese Medicine and has over 3500 hours of training in acupuncture as well as a formal clinical internship in acupuncture.

A medical acupuncturist is usually a medical doctor (and in some states chiropractor) who has anywhere from 100 to 300 hours of classroom training in acupuncture (usually in the form of weekend seminars) with no clinical internship. A medical acupuncturist has NOT graduated from an accredited school of acupuncture.

Obviously, the difference in knowledge, training, and quality of care between a licensed vs. certified acupuncturist is incomparable. The subject matter of acupuncture is so complex and vast that it is difficult to learn its fundamentals even after 3500 hours of training. The abbreviated 100 to 300 hour course was created for research purposes in the 1970’s and was never intended to serve as a way to train practitioners to treat the public.

It is your responsibility as the patient to ask your acupuncturist how much training he/she has received specifically in acupuncture.

I’d like to begin treatment, how do I get started?

Call (415) 601 5239 or email us from the form on the contact page to set up a time for an initial evaluation and assessment.