What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a very safe, pain-free technique that that uses very small, single-use, stainless steel needles to stimulate your body’s natural healing abilities.
Acupuncture is wholistic. Meaning it treats all of you in body, mind and spirit. Acupuncture is part of the most complete medical tradition in the world. There is no other medicine that so effectively treats all of you at once.
How does acupuncture work?
Acupuncture works by balancing and strengthening the functional energy and physiology of the body. Acupuncture improves nervous system function, strengthens the immune system, balances hormones, boosts energy and improves circulation; which reduces pain, inflammation, hormonal imbalances and stress.
Chinese medicine recognizes and understands the meridian circulatory system of the body. The acupuncture points are located on these meridians. Stimulating the acupuncture points improves circulation within the meridian system and works to improve the function and physiology of the systems of the body.
Research suggests that the fascia, the network of connective tissue surrounding all the muscles and organs or the body, is the anatomical structure within the body where the meridians and acupuncture points are located.
In the Chinese Medicine model of medicine, the meridian pathways circulate Qi energy throughout the body. When Qi energy is circulating properly, and the systems of the body functioning as they should, we are healthy.
When the meridian circulatory system becomes either blocked-up or weakened, and the body’s systems are not functioning properly, that’s when we become unhealthy, imbalanced or sick either physically or emotionally.
By stimulating the acupuncture points along the meridian system, circulation within the meridians is improved and the function of the body’s systems is strengthened to help improve the physical and emotional health of the body.
Acupuncture is meant not only to help people get better from their ailments, but also stay healthy with regular acupuncture treatments.
What does acupuncture treat?
Acupuncture treats a wide variety of problems related to pain, inflammation, immunity, hormonal imbalances and stress.
Both the WHO (World Health Organization) and the NIH (National Institute of Health) have recognized that acupuncture is beneficial in treating over 40 conditions including addiction, headache, stroke rehabilitation, dental pain, post-operative and chemotherapy- related nausea and vomiting, menstrual issues, infertility, polycystic ovarian syndrome, low back pain, sciatica, neck pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, tennis elbow, myofascial pain, arthritis, fibromyalgia, depression, anxiety, insomnia, allergic rhinitis (including hay fever), asthma, hypertension, ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, abdominal pain, and more.
Is acupuncture safe?
Yes, acupuncture is incredibly safe when done by a licensed practitioner. We use only sterile needles that are used once. After the one time an acupuncture needles is used, they are disposed of as medical waste after being used. There are strict rules and guidelines that maintain cleanliness and safety that all practitioners follow to maintain a high level of care for their patients.
Does acupuncture hurt?
I wouldn’t say acupuncture hurts! Very small, thin needles are being inserted into the skin, so you might feel something. It really depends on where the needle is being placed and someone’s overall sensitivity.
Most people think cosmetic facial acupuncture is relatively painless, as well as being super relaxing. I always tell people to let me know if something is uncomfortable, We can always take the needle out!
I want you to feel as comfortable as possible! So we can always improvise the treatment so you feel good.
How many treatments will I need?
The number of treatments someone needs really depends on what is being treated.
Someone with a common cold may only need 1-2 treatments. A sprained ankle may need 4-6 treatments. Fertility patients are seen for a minimum of three months. People using acupuncture to help with long-term issues like autoimmune disorders, asthma or anxiety often come in for an initial series of 12 weekly treatments and then every 4-6 weeks to maintain their health.
Acute conditions tend to heal faster than chronic issues. When first seeing a new patient, I see them weekly for a series of weekly treatment for 6-12 weeks, depending of what is being addressed. After that, we assess the progress that’s been made and make a plan from there.
Most patients continue to come in for maintenance treatments on a monthly or seasonal basis as their series of treatments come to an end.
Are you licensed? What education and training Is required to become an acupuncturist?
Yes, I am a licensed professional. Acupuncture & Oriental medicine practitioners are licensed in the state where they practice. Most states, including New York, also require acupuncture & oriental medicine practitioners to pass multiple national board exams through the National Certification Commission of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). You can learn more about them at http://www.nccaom.org/.
Acupuncture & Oriental medicine practitioners complete a 3-4 year Masters of Science program, with curriculum based in both eastern and western medicine, and extensive hours of supervised clinical training in acupuncture, herbal medicine and other therapies of Oriental medicine. I can’t really speak for other programs, but we had over 500 patient contacts by the time we graduated from a number of different clinical setting, including a VA hospital.
Do you offer other treatment modalities besides acupuncture?
Yes! Chinese herbal medicine formulas and dietary recommendations are made for many people. I also practice a lot of moxibustion, cupping, Gua Sha bodywork therapies on my patients. And most recently, I’ve been using more essential oils and stones in my practice, which people absolutely love.
What can I expect at the first visit? And after that?
At your first visit, which lasts up to 90 minutes, I do an extensive intake to talk about your health issues and your goals for working with me. There will also be an acupuncture treatment at the first visit as well.
The treatment involves laying on a massage table on your front or back, in either your loose fitting clothes or a gown I’ll give you. I usually use between 12 and 24 acupuncture needles per session, which may be placed anywhere on your body depending on what’s being treated.
Once the needles are all place, you’ll rest, relax or if you like, meditate for 20-30 minutes while the treatment settles you in. You may listen to music to chill out to, or not. It’s totally your choice.
I may or may not use other therapies like moxibustion, essential oils, cupping or Gua Sha during or at the end of your acupuncture session. I always explain any therapy I may use and how it will feel before doing it. I like people to know what happening, feel educated and most importantly, comfortable.
At the follow-up sessions, we’ll briefly check in and re-evaluate before the acupuncture treatment and then we’ll continue. Follow-Up visits will last up to 60 minutes.
Is there anything I need to do before coming in for a treatment session?
Before each visit, make sure you are hydrated and have eaten relatively recently. You don’t need to have a huge meal or anything, just make sure you have a little something in your stomach.
Try to wear comfortable clothing that is not too restricting on the arms and legs, as the needles are generally placed in points from the elbows and knees down.
Between visits, keep notes of changes you are seeing so we can be sure to discuss all of the progress at each treatment.
How will I feel after an acupuncture session?
You will feel relaxed. Your body might feel heavy like you could melt into the table. You may find your mind has slowed from a race to a mosey. You will have less pain. You may hear a gurgle from your stomach because your digestive juices got flowing. You may feel sleepy as your body has let go of stress and tension and letting you know it might want a little more rest. You may feel energized and decide you want to go for exercise. You’ll feel good, like you settled in, like yourself.
Does acupuncture have any side effects?
It’s very common for patients to report better ‘side effects’ like sleeping better, feeling less stressed or anxious, increased energy, better moods, improved digestion or less PMS or pain with their period. Acupuncture even treats the common cold. You will leave feeling better than when you arrived.
Rarely there may be slight bruising or irritation from a needle. This goes away pretty quick. Sometimes people feel a little drowsy or light-headed after treatments, this also gets better within a few minutes. People are always welcome to relax at our office until they perk up.
Can I combine acupuncture with other treatment modalities such as chiropractic, massage, etc?
Absolutely! People ask me all the time if it’s OK if they go to yoga or for a run or get a massage after acupuncture. Yes, it’s totally fine! The more great things you do for yourself to get better or stay feeling great, the better.
See our “Resources” page for other practitioners we recommend!
Do you accept insurance?
As I say to my patients, it’s not whether or not I accept insurance, but whether or not your insurance plan covers acupuncture. Please call your health insurance provider and ask if your health plan covers acupuncture.
You’ll pay at the time of service and I’ll provide you with a receipt, with all the the essential information, you may submit to your insurance company, flexible spending account (FSA) or Health Savings Account (HSA) for direct reimbursement.
What forms of payment do you accept?
Cash, checks, all major credit cards (Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover), HSA and FSA cards (if connected to a major credit card and acupuncture is covered).
What are your fees?
- New Patient Appointment (up to 90 minutes): $150
- Follow-Up Visit (up to 60 minutes): $85
- Follow-Up Visits 8-Pack: $640
- Herbal Medicine Consultation (does not include the price of herbal medicine): $150
- Herbal Medicine Follow-Up: $55
Where are you located?
Awaken Acupuncture is located at 821 Cliff Street, which is Route 96 heading up west hill towards Cayuga Medical Center from downtown Ithaca. The office building is one mile up the hill from Island Health & Fitness, on the righthand side of the road. Cayuga Dermatology and Sea Change Chiropractic are located in the same building.
The entrance to Awaken Acupuncture is on the south side of the building on the ground level, just next to the parking lot. There's a ton of parking and the entrance is wheelchair accessible.
How’s the parking?
There's a ton of parking and the entrance is wheelchair accessible.