FAQs for Acupuncture


Jerusha DeGroote Stephens, LAc


Because it works! Acupuncture is a safe, drug-free, simple approach to helping the body heal itself. Acupuncture and Chinese medicine were the only form of medicine used in China for several thousand years before it spread to the United States. During its development, the practitioner used trial, error and observation to determine what worked best. Today, we rely on modern scientific research to help us understand more about how this medicine works, and why people can benefit.

How does it WORK?

Acupuncture began before humans recorded history, about 3,000 - 4,000 years ago. Naturally, the early developers of acupuncture used a different set of principles and language to describe how acupuncture works, BUT they weren’t far off . Because anatomical dissection was not used at the time, they described how acupuncture works through the lens of yin, yang and qi. Qi is described as our, “vital force,” or energy, and it runs in regular patterns through the body and over the surface. According to the philosophy, qi flows through these energy channels, called meridians, and irrigates and nourishes our tissues. What the developers didn’t know is that these meridians are analogous to our nerves, nerve bundles and nervous system. Needling the acupuncture points stimulates the nervous system to release chemicals in the muscles, spinal cord and brain. These biochemicals will either change the experience of pain, or they will trigger the release of other chemicals and hormones which influence the body’s own internal regulating system. The improved energy and biochemical balance produced by acupuncture results in stimulating the body’s natural healing abilities, and in promoting physical and emotional well-being.

Does it HURT?

Acupuncture needles vary greatly from the hypodermic needles used by nurses and doctors. During acupuncture, you are not being injected with any substance, so there is no need for the hollow in a typical hypodermic needle. Acupuncture needles are very small and flexible and are inserted with the use of a guide tube. They are also disposable, keeping patients and practitioners safe. The experience of acupuncture is different for every individual. Most patients feel only a minimal pinch on insertion of the needle. Once the needles are in place, there is typically no pain felt. Some patients feel nothing when the needle is inserted. Most describe the sensation as minimal, and that they are aware of the presence of the needle, but that there is no pain.


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