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How Does Acupuncture Work?

No one really knows for sure. Modern research has shown some physiological effect acupuncture treatment has on the body but nothing has ever been able to explain the whole picture. The Traditional Chinese Medical explanation says that the vital energy behind all life forms and life processes is Qi (pronounced "Chee"). Qi flows along specific pathways called 'meridians'. Each pathway is associated with a particular physiological system and the internal organs. Disease is considered to arise due to a deficiency or imbalance of energy in the meridians and their associated physiological systems. An acupuncture needle inserted into a point along these meridians can restore the energy flow and thereby create an environment where the body can heal itself.

What does acupuncture treat?



Chinese Medicine is a complete medical system and acupuncture is effective and beneficial in nearly all situations. The World Health Organization has identified the following conditions as being effectively treated with acupuncture:

  • acute bacillary dysentery
  • acute epigastralgia (pain in stomach and esophagus, like acid reflux)
  • adverse reactions to radiation or chemotherapy
  • allergic rhinitis, including hay fever and allergies
  • biliary colic
  • dental pain
  • depression
  • essential hypertension
  • facial pain (including craniomandibular disorders)
  • headaches
  • induction of labor
  • knee pain
  • leucopenia
  • low back pain
  • malposition of fetus (breach presentation)
  • morning sickness
  • nausea and vomiting
  • neck pain
  • painful and irregular periods
  • peptic ulcer
  • periarthritis of the shoulder
  • postoperative pain
  • primary hypotension
  • renal colic (kidney pain)
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • sciatica
  • sprains
  • stroke
  • tempromandibular (TMJ) dysfunction
  • tennis elbow

Is acupuncture safe?


Single use, sterile needles are used and then properly disposed of.  Your acupuncturists have completed a four year Masters degree program including three years of internships, are nationally board certified, licensed by the State of Idaho, attend continuing education annually and have completed numerous safety courses.

How often do I need to come in?

This all depends.  Every person is unique and their capacity for healing varies.  Some will come in twice a week while others might need to come in once per week.  Usually you can use as a guide the following:  if it took you a while to get to your current level of dysfunction, it will take you some time to get out of it and more frequent visits may be required.  Also, the more severe the situation, the longer it may take to get well.  Another consideration is if you must continue to participate in an activity that caused or aggravates the condition – this, of course, will slow your progress.  Your acupuncturist will go over your treatment plan with you and will create one specifically for your condition.  Generally, acute conditions may take 3-5 treatments, while chronic conditions may take 10-20 treatments.

How long does a treatment take?

Allow about 1 hour 15 minutes for your first visit, about an hour for follow up visits.

Does acupuncture hurt?


There is a sensation with acupuncture, but rarely would anyone describe it as painful.  The needles you know from receiving injections or having your blood drawn are hollow and designed to cut into your tissues.  Acupuncture needles are solid and are meant to sort of wiggle their way between your cells almost.  Acupuncture needles are also tiny; much, much smaller than needles used to administer an injection.

Will my health insurance cover acupuncture?

Insurance coverage varies from policy to policy.  You’ll need to contact your insurance company and ask about acupuncture benefits.  We do not bill insurance companies.  Youwill need to pay for your treatment and we will provide you with a receipt to receive reimbursement.  We cannot contact your insurance company for you.