How safe is Acupuncture?
Hanalei Acupuncture & Kauai Acupuncture provides safe, natural, effective forms of
healing with no side-effects. What are the meridians?
There are 12 major meridians in the body. Each of these are like a
highway transporting energy and blood to its respective internal organ. When the energy in a meridian is not moving properly, it can affect the
proper functioning of the organs and cause imbalances throughout the
generally cause no bleeding or pain, and the needles used are
disposable. Acupuncturists are trained in the exact location, angle as
well as depth of insertion of the acupuncture needle to avoid any
How it works
Besides the 2000 years of clinical evidence, there are a multitude of studies to substantiate that acupuncture has a measurable affect on the body. One study on how acupuncture works to relieve pain, published in the Journal of NeuroImage, used brain imaging technology to prove that acupuncture affects the brain’s long-term ability to regulate pain. In the study, researchers were able to show that acupuncture increased the binding availability to opioid receptors in the brain in much the same way that opioid painkillers, such as morphine, codeine and other medications, are thought to work.
Acupuncture for pain relief is actually being taught to American Air Force physicians deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan (2009) by Dr. Richard Niemtzow MD, PhD, MPH and editor of Medical Acupuncture. His technique called “Battlefield Acupuncture” relieves severe pain for several days and is a variation of acupuncture, which inserts very tiny semi-permanent needles at specific acupoints on the skin of the ear that blocks pain signals from reaching the brain.
"This is one of the fastest pain attenuators in existence," said Dr. Niemtzow, who is the Consultant for complementary and alternative medicine for the Surgeon General of the Air Force, and is affiliated with Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda. "The pain can be gone in five minutes."
Are there any side effects to Acupuncture? One of the great advantages of acupuncture is that, other than an occasional bruise, there are no side effects.
Does Acupuncture hurt? This is the most common question asked about acupuncture because many people associate needles with pain. Acupuncture needles are about the thickness of a dog’s whisker, so they are virtually painless when inserted. After insertion, the practitioner will bring the needle to the appropriate depth. You will then usually feel a very unique sensation that can vary from tingling, heaviness, warmth, or nothing at all. Each person’s experience is different. Should you experience any discomfort, inform the practitioner, and they will make the necessary adjustments.
Where do the needles go? This depends on the condition being treated. Although the acupuncture points are located throughout the entire body, usually the needles are placed on the extremities from your elbows down to your hands, and from your knees down to your feet. Other common areas include the abdomen, back, face, and ears.
What are the Acupuncture points? The acupuncture points are the areas along a meridian where the energy comes together and rises to the surface of the body. It can therefore be more easily accessed and redirected with the use of a needle.
Are the needles sterile or are they reused? Needles are individually wrapped and sterilized by the manufacturer. They are opened only when they are ready to be used, and afterwards, each needle is disposed of in a medical waste container.
What can I expect during a treatment? During your first consultation, the practitioner will collect a complete history and detailed evaluation of your condition. They will ask questions relating to many different aspects of your life, not only the condition for which you are seeking treatment. The practitioner will then take your pulse, examine your tongue, and sometimes palpate your abdomen or check for tender areas along the meridians. The initial visit usually lasts 1 1/2 hours including the treatment. Subsequent visits usually last about one hour.
How often do I have to come? Treatments are done on a weekly basis, usually twice a week for the first two weeks, and once a week thereafter. Once the condition has been controlled and you are symptom-free, the treatments are done less frequently. Problems that have been around for a long time usually take more treatments to resolve than ones that have come about recently. Your treatment course will be determined after the first visit and reassessed after each session.
How can I prepare for my session?
It is best to eat a light meal before your appointment so that your
body has energy to work with. Sometimes a person who has not eaten will
feel lightheaded or weak when receiving an acupuncture treatment. In
this case, inform your practitioner immediately and they will take the
appropriate actions. It is best to wear shorts or loose clothing so that
the arms and legs below the elbows and knees, as well as the abdomen,
are accessible. Do not engage in strenuous activity, drink alcohol,
smoke excessively, or ingest heavy meals before or after your
treatment. This will allow the body to adjust to the effects of the
Can I receive Acupuncture if I am pregnant? Yes. Because there are some points that are contraindicated during pregnancy, it is important to inform your practitioner if you are pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant.