Is acupuncture safe?

Acupuncture is extremely safe when performed by a qualified and licensed practitioner. Modern-day acupuncturist are thoroughly trained and only use tiny, sterile, single use disposable needles.

How many treatments will I need?

The frequency and number of treatments differ from person to person. Some people experience dramatic relief in the first treatment. For complex or long-standing chronic conditions, one to two treatments per week for several months may be recommended. For acute problems, usually fewer visits are required, usually eight to ten visits in total. An individualized treatment plan that includes the expected number of treatments will be discussed during your initial visit.

What should I expect during a treatment?

TCM practitioners use a variety of techniques to arrive at their diagnosis which include acquiring a complete patient medical history, palpating the abdomen and tender points along the body, feeling the pulse and looking at the tongue. This information enables a practitioner to diagnose the imbalances causing your symptoms. During a typical treatment four to twenty tiny needles are inserted into specific points that may be dispersed throughout the body. These tiny needles remain in place for approximately 30 to 50 minutes.

Who can practice acupuncture and herbal medicine?

In order to receive a safe and effective treatment, it is important to see a licensed practitioner (L.Ac.). A licensed acupuncturist must complete a graduate program in Traditional Chinese Medicine (approx. 3000 hrs.) and pass the NCCAOM national board exams in Acupuncture and TCM diagnosis.

In the state of Iowa, some other medical practitioners may practice acupuncture with as little as 0 to 100 hours of training, which is clearly not a sufficient amount to ensure a proper diagnosis and safe treatment. It is also very important not to receive any herbal remedies from anyone who is not formally trained and licensed in herbology.

Does acupuncture hurt?

Acupuncture is virtually painless. When receiving an acupuncture treatment you may experience a sensation of tingling or warmth. Most patients experience a state of deep relaxation or even fall asleep.

Is Dry Needling the same as acupuncture?

Within the treatment of musculo- skeletal disorders, dry needling and acupuncture overlap greatly in their origin, techniques and theories. Furthermore, dry needling is one subcategory of Western medical acupuncture, and is thus acupuncture.

In the U.S., a Doctor of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine (DACM) is required to complete a 4 year doctoral degree and national board exams in order to practice acupuncture. A physiotherapist (P.T.) is not required to take any schooling in needling, nor are there any licensing or laws governing the practice of dry needling. The term, dry needling, was chosen by physiotherapist to circumvent state and national laws that govern needling and acupuncture.

Historically, dry needling is acupuncture. In China, especially in the East, the term dry needling (干 针, gan zhen in Chinese pin yin) has been a folk name for acupunc- ture since Western medicine arrived in China in the late 1800s, when the term of dry needling was created in order to differentiate it from the needles used for injections by Western trained doctors. Many people in China still refer to acu puncture as dry needling, especially after acupuncture point injection therapy and aquapuncture therapy were developed in China in the early 1950s.

Based on the traditional and official definition, the term acupuncture refers to the actual insertion of a needle (usually a solid needle) into the body, which describes a family of procedures involving the stimulation of points on the body using a variety of techniques. The acupuncture technique that has been most often studied scientifically involves penetrating the skin with thin, solid, metallic needles that are usually manipulated by hand or by electrical stimulation. Practiced in China and other Asian countries for thousands of years, acupuncture is one of the key components of TCM. Acupuncture is currently practiced internationally, and has attracted more and more interest in Western countries, especially in the US and the UK. Dry needling literally is acupuncture, although the term is more commonly used instead of acupuncture by physiotherapists in Western countries.

My doctor doesn’t believe in acupuncture. Do I have to believe to obtain results?

Not all medical doctors understand or are educated in the history, theory, or benefits of acupuncture. In fact, acupuncture works very well for horses, dogs, cows, and cats, most of whom probably don’t “believe” in acupuncture. It is always beneficial to have confidence in your physician, but faith in a particular technique is not required to obtain results.

What conditions are commonly treated by acupuncture?

Below is a brief list of conditions that may benefit from acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine. This is not a comprehensive list.

This list does not include all conditions which may be effectively treated with acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine. If you have any questions whether treatment can aid you with your condition please feel free to contact us.

Hundreds of clinical studies on the benefits of acupuncture show that it successfully treats conditions ranging from musculoskeletal problems (back pain, neck pain, and others) to nausea, migraine headache, anxiety, depression, insomnia, and infertility.

Case-controlled clinical studies have shown that acupuncture has been an effective treatment for the following diseases, symptoms or conditions:

  • Allergic rhinitis (including hay fever)
  • Biliary colic
  • Depression (including depressive neurosis and depression following stroke)
  • Dysentery, acute bacillary
  • Dysmenorrhoea, primary
  • Epigastralgia, acute (in peptic ulcer, acute and chronic gastritis, and gastrospasm)
  • Facial pain (including craniomandibular disorders)
  • Headache
  • Hypertension, essential
  • Hypotension, primary
  • Induction of labor
  • Knee pain
  • Leukopenia
  • Low back pain
  • Malposition of fetus, correction
  • Morning sickness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Neck pain
  • Pain in dentistry (including dental pain and temporomandibular dysfunction)
  • Periarthritis of shoulder
  • Postoperative pain
  • Renal colic
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Sciatica
  • Sprain
  • Stroke
  • Tennis elbow

The following diseases, symptoms or conditions have limited but probable evidence to support the therapeutic use of acupuncture:

  • Abdominal pain (in acute gastroenteritis or due to gastrointestinal spasm)
  • Acne vulgaris
  • Alcohol dependence and detoxification
  • Bell’s palsy
  • Bronchial asthma
  • Cancer pain
  • Cardiac neurosis
  • Cholecystitis, chronic, with acute exacerbation
  • Cholelithiasis
  • Competition stress syndrome
  • Craniocerebral injury, closed
  • Diabetes mellitus, non-insulin-dependent
  • Earache
  • Epidemic haemorrhagic fever
  • Epistaxis, simple (without generalized or local disease)
  • Eye pain due to subconjunctival injection
  • Female infertility
  • Facial spasm
  • Female urethral syndrome
  • Fibromyalgia and fasciitis
  • Gastrokinetic disturbance
  • Gouty arthritis
  • Hepatitis B virus carrier status
  • Herpes zoster (human (alpha) herpesvirus 3)
  • Hyperlipaemia
  • Hypo-ovarianism
  • InsomniaLabour pain
  • Lactation, deficiency
  • Male sexual dysfunction, non-organic
  • Ménière disease
  • Neuralgia, post-herpetic
  • Neurodermatitis
  • Obesity
  • Opium, cocaine and heroin dependence
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Pain due to endoscopic examination
  • Pain in thromboangiitis obliterans
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (Stein-Leventhal syndrome)
  • Post-extubation in children
  • Postoperative convalescence
  • Premenstrual syndrome
  • Prostatitis, chronic
  • Pruritus
  • Radicular and pseudoradicular pain syndrome
  • Raynaud syndrome, primary
  • Recurrent lower urinary-tract infection
  • Reflex sympathetic dystrophy
  • Retention of urine, traumatic
  • Schizophrenia
  • Sialism, drug-induced (excessive salivation)
  • Sjögren syndrome
  • Sore throat (including tonsillitis)
  • Spine pain, acute
  • Stiff neck
  • Temporomandibular joint dysfunction
  • Tietze syndrome
  • Tobacco dependence
  • Tourette syndrome
  • Ulcerative colitis, chronic
  • Urolithiasis
  • Vascular dementia
  • Whooping cough (pertussis)
This list does not include all conditions which may be effectively treated with acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine. If you have any questions whether treatment can aid you with your condition please feel free to contact Midwest Acupuncture Clinic at (515) 554-6728 or email: