Acupuncture FAQs

Does acupuncture hurt?

Most people find acupuncture to be a relaxing, and uplifting experience. The needles that are used are very fine filiform needles. They are anywhere from 25-50 times thinner than a hypodermic needle and are single use and in sterile packaging. While some people feel nothing at all; others will experience a warm, dull, achy, heavy, or tingling sensation where the needle was inserted. For most people, it is a very pleasant feeling.

I practice a very gentle needling technique and use very thin gauge needles. There are different acupuncture styles for used different conditions. Many acupuncturists who specialize in treating orthopedic conditions may use thicker needles and go deeper into the body to release the muscle layer. Sometimes this style of needling can cause the muscle to jump, or twitch, and leave you feeling achy and sore. This is normal and often relieves the cause of the pain. Although you may feel different things with different styles of acupuncture and with different practitioners, it should never be painful.

Is it safe?

Yes, according to the Department of Consumer Affairs acupuncturist’s in California are under regulation to use disposable needles. These are unlike the thicker, hollow hypodermic needles used to transfer fluid into or out of the body. Acupuncture needles are very fine, flexible, and are specially coated to allow for a generally painless insertion. They are disposable, and are only used for one treatment before being properly discarded in a sharps container, eliminating any chance of cross infection.

How many treatments will take until I feel better?

The number of treatments recommended is based on several different factors with the severity and duration of your condition being the main concerns. Long standing and chronic conditions typically will take more treatments than acute conditions. Also, the healthier you are, the less time it takes your body to resolve certain issues. At SLO Family Acupuncture we hope to see some significant change within 3-5 visits. Some people will see a remarkable difference with one treatment, while others require a month or so of treatments to see a shift.

If you are coming in for fertility, it is suggested that you come in for at least 12 treatments to make certain progress is being made as it takes 72 days for sperm to change and about 3 menstrual cycles to see a consistent change in menstruation.

The goal is to encourage the body to heal itself. Keeping your body and mind in a healthful state will promote faster healing. As a patient at SLO Family Acupuncture your lifestyle, diet, exercise, and sleep can all be discussed to aid in your road to health and wellness.

What can I expect from a treatment?

The initial acupuncture treatment will last about 1.5 hours, with subsequent visits lasting about 50-60 minutes. The first visit will include a detailed question and answer session to allow for an accurate description of the patient’s condition and history of the present illness or concern. This is the appropriate time to go over any labs, BBT charts, diet and lifestyle concerns or adjustments, as well as answer any questions or concerns about the treatment itself.

The treatment itself will last from 20-40 minutes. Sometimes this will just involve acupuncture. If it is appropriate, massage or another acupuncture service or modality will be added to the end of a treatment as well. A patient can expect to feel relaxed and rejuvenated leaving an acupuncture treatment. If there are any activities that should be specifically avoided, it will be discussed at the end of the treatment.

How is acupuncture regulated?

The State of California has the highest standards of licensure in the nation. Acupuncturists are required to have graduated with a Masters of Science in Traditional Oriental Medicine from a four-year accredited acupuncture and herbal medical program in the United States. The state also requires that practitioners pass the California State Acupuncture Licensing Examination.

Is there anything I need to do to prepare for my treatment?

Please make sure to eat a light meal or snack a few hours prior to treatment. It is important that you drink an adequate amount of fluids throughout the day prior to treatment, as well as following treatment. Please wear loose fitting, comfortable clothing for your acupuncture session.

Do you take insurance?

SLO Family Acupuncture is in-network with most major insurance companies, including  Blue Shield PPO and United Healthcare.  However, I will also bill out of network if you have Anthem Blue Cross. Please contact SLO Family Acupuncture if you have any questions regarding your specific insurance coverage. If you send an email with your full name, birth date, insurance carrier, member ID number, and the phone number for providers to call on the back of your insurance card, your information can be looked up to ensure coverage before your initial visit.

If you have any further questions about general acupuncture laws and regulations you can visit the Department of Consumer Affairs Acupuncture Board. For more specific questions, please contact SLO Family Acupuncture.