Frequently Asked Questions

What is acupuncture?


Acupuncture is the insertion of fine, stainless steel needles into specific points, which helps to correct underlying imbalances and remove obstructions in the pathways of the body. This enables the body to engage its natural healing process.


Does it hurt?


An acupuncture needle is approximately as thick as a human hair. It isn't comparable to the large, hollow hyperdermic needles that we're accustomed to in Western Medicine. Most people feel minimal pain, but may feel light tingling, a pinching sensation, or gentle pressure, heaviness, or mild achiness. Some people feel sensations of movement in their body.  Many people find it to be a relaxing experience, and some even fall asleep while resting with the needles. Others find it to be energizing. Acupuncture can often have an immediate therapeutic effect.


Are the needles sterile?


Yes. We use disposable, single use needles. As a prerequisite to being licensed, acupuncturists must demonstrate competence in aseptic procedures and clean needle technique.


What can I expect in my first visit?


The initial visit is longer than follow up visits because the practitioner will perform a comprehensive health assessment by asking questions and observing or examining areas of concern. Discussion is centered around finding underlying patterns of imbalance. In Chinese medicine, it is said that we treat the person, not the disease. The constitutional presentation, lifestyle, emotional state, and past history are carefully considered. We also examine the tongue and take the pulse as part of our diagnostic procedure. Afterwords, we will develop and implement a treatment plan. Each treatment plan is unique to the individual. The number of treatments required depends on numerous factors including but not limited to: whether the problem is acute or chronic, general health and age of individual, complications caused by previous interventions, and whether the patient is on medications. Needling is done on the first visit as long as we feel it's appropriate. It is best if the patient has eaten something light before arrival, and wears loose, comfortable clothing. We often incorporate massage when appropriate.


What is tui na?


Tui Na is an ancient form of massage and physical therapy in China. It involves acupressure, massage, and manipulation. "Tui" means "to push" and "Na" means "to lift and squeeze".  Although some of the techniques resemble traditional relaxing massage, Tui Na is used therapeutically to treat internal and external disorders. Various techniques may be tailored to produce a specific therapeutic response. Treatments can range from gentle, relaxing maneuvers to heavy pressure and vigorous movements. Tui Na can alleviate pain, improve circulation and lymphatic flow, and produce a deep state of relaxation.


What is cupping?


Cupping is a therapy in Chinese medicine which involves applying cups to soft muscle tissue. A partial vacuum is created in a cupping jar, usually by means of heat, which is then applied directly to the skin. The cups may be glided across the surface of the skin, or remain stationary, depending on the area and condition treated. The treatment tugs at superficial muscle tissue, and is similar to certain massage techniques. Its benefits include releasing local congestion or stagnation and increasing circulation to an area. Many patients find it very relaxing.


What is moxibustion?


Moxibustion is an integral part of acupuncture treatment. It is a form of heat therapy that stimulates specific acupuncture points of the body. It involves the burning of an herb called mugwort to create heat and facilitate healing. The purpose of moxibustion, as with most modalities in traditional Chinese medicine, is to strengthen the body, stimulate the flow of qi, and maintain general health. It is often used in patients with cold or stagnant conditions. During a session, the patient can expect to feel gentle heat over the area where the moxa stick is held. Moxa is often useful for chronic musculoskeletal complaints and can be very soothing and relaxing.


How can herbal medicine help me?


Herbal medicine has a long history of use in several cultures. Today it is becoming more mainstream as advancements in analysis and quality control are made. Growing clinical studies show the value of herbal medicine in the treatment and prevention of illness. Chinese herbs are selected for use according to their qualities such as temperature and taste. These qualities define their actions and indications.  When combined in a formula, the unique characteristics of the herbs work synergistically to nourish the body, remove stagnation, and harmonize the physiological activities in the body. 


Are herbs safe?


We carefully select our herbs from responsible suppliers and companies which use quality control to ensure that the herbs contain the content they represent and are free of pesticides and other contaminants. Our suppliers use good manufacturing practices. Herbal prescriptions are quite safe when prescribed by a licensed herbalist who dispenses high quality supplements. Please keep in mind that no medicine is always "safe," whether it's a naturally occurring substance or not. Although natural supplements have less side effects than pharmaceuticals, one should seek guidance from a licensed herbalist, osteopathic doctor, or naturopathic doctor before treating a condition. There are some irresponsible manufacturers eager to jump on the natural health bandwagon. These companies may be careless or dishonest about the content of their products, and thus offer supplements which may not contain what they purport to. Herbal and vitamin supplements have the potential to do more harm than good if improperly used, or if poor quality brands are chosen. Certain brands are more reputable and offer higher quality products with minimal fillers. That's why it's important to talk to your holistic practitioner before using over-the-counter supplements and herbs to treat a condition.


How can nutritional therapy help?


Food is medicine. It has a profound effect on our health and healing capacity because we put it in our bodies every day. Over time this can hurt or help us. We can help you choose high quality foods and healthy proportions that nurture your body and spirit. We will also suggest foods that are best for your unique constitution, based on the principles of Chinese medicine. Substituting certain foods can create an optimal healing environment within the body. Another aspect of healthy eating is learning  to be gentle with ourselves when it comes to our food choices. Food can be one of life's great joys, but excessive self-criticism and feelings of guilt surrounding food choices is counterproductive to health. It is possible to create positive change in our lives without punishing ourselves for setbacks along the way. Our goal at Guest House Acupuncture is to empower patients to be their own advocate by providing knowledge, guidance, and a supportive environment for growth and healing.

WomanGettingAcupuncture MoxaPatient Fotoneedle NewCupping conjee herbs