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Frequently Asked Questions

Do acupuncture needles spread disease?

NO. There is no risk. Sterile, disposable needles are used and thrown out after each treatment and universal precautions are followed to prevent the  transfer of AIDS, hepatitis, and all other viral and infectious diseases.

What should I expect at my first visit?

At the Acupuncture Clinic of Boulder, a patient’s initial visit begins with a thorough review of one’s personal history, including past medical history and current maladies. TCM methods of diagnosis include reading taking your pulse, examining your tongue, and palpating for tenderness on the abdomen and at various acupuncture points.  We may use some or all of these techniques at your appointment. It is important for us to address both primary, acute issues, as well as the underlying cause of your signs and symptoms.  Acupuncture strengthens the body’s immune system to help prevent disease.  Prevention is always the best medicine.

We will treat you and then allow you to rest for up to one hour in one of our comfortable La-Z-Boy chairs or private room massage tables. Total treatment time for your first visit takes about an hour and a half. After your rest, we will discuss a treatment plan and schedule your next appointment.

We are a collaborative practice and encourage you to have at least two practitioners as part of your care. This allows us to work together on Chinese herbal formulas and point prescriptions. It also allows you the confidence and trust to schedule on days and times that work for you and know you are getting great care all the time.

Is acupuncture painful?

Acupuncture is not painful.  Many people fall asleep while the needles are in and wake up feeling relaxed and refreshed.

Is there anything I should do to prepare for a treatment?

Yes.  Please come prepared.  All of your forms can be accessed via our Electronic Health Records (EHR) and your patient portal. The more information you give us, the more prepared we can be. This gives you more time to relax and have a treatment. Wear comfortable clothing that is easy to move above your knees and elbows. We have shorts and gowns if you need them.  Please make sure to eat something small before your treatment.  Acupuncture is a regulating modality and can lower blood sugar.  Please refrain from drinking coffee or alcohol before your treatment.

If you are sensitive to noise or light feel free to bring earplugs or an eye mask. We have Sonos speakers in each room and you can request any music or podcast available through Apple Music or Amazon Prime. You are also welcome to bring your own music or audiobook and headphones.

Is there anything I should do after a treatment?

Relax and enjoy!  Give yourself time for the treatment to integrate into your body by refraining from exercise and highly physical activities for at least two hours.

Do I have to believe in acupuncture for it to work?

No. Acupuncture is used successfully on cats, dogs, horses and other animals. These animal patients do not understand or believe in the process that helps them get better.

Does it really work?

As the popularity of acupuncture grows, more Western, allopathic studies are being done.  Recent studies involving the use of traditional acupuncture points versus sham (acupuncture points which do not treat the issue at hand) acupuncture to treat visual issues.  These tests were performed under functional MRI.  The results show when the points corresponding to vision are needled, the visual cortex in the brain lights up as opposed to sham acupuncture point stimulation, which elicited no response. Acupuncture has a hormone regulating affect and stimulates several axes involved in brain function.

How many treatments will I need? 

The number of treatments needed differs from person to person and case to case. After your first visit, your practitioner can give you an idea of how long you might expect to be treating. For complex or long-standing conditions, one or two treatments a week for several months may be recommended. For acute problems, usually fewer visits are required perhaps one to three treatments in one week; and for health maintenance, four sessions a year may be all that is necessary.

What criteria should you use to choose your acupuncturist?

In Colorado, acupuncture is a licensed and regulated healthcare profession. Make sure your practitioner is licensed. Ask if he/she is Board Certified by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM), the national certifying body.

A practitioners full title will be: L.Ac., MSOM, Dipl. Ac. (NCCAOM), Dipl. C.H. (NCCAOM), Dipl. O.M., or MAcCHM

Translation: Licensed Acupuncturist, Masters in Science, Oriental Medicine, Diplomate of Acupuncture and Chinese Herbology or Oriental Medicine, Master of Acupuncture with a Chinese Herbal Medicine Specialization.  If a practitioner has taken the time to obtain the herbal certification, their credentials will have either Dipl. C.H., Dipl. O.M., or MAcCHM depending on the year their certification was received.  All three are valid certifications.

In the state of Colorado, the credential for Chinese herbology is not mandatory to practice Chinese Medicine, however it indicates a level of competency in the prescription of herbs.  When seeking a qualified practitioner, look for the Dipl. C.H. or O.M. credential. All practitioners at the Acupuncture Clinic of Boulder, Inc. hold these certifications.

Other health professionals such as chiropractors and medical doctors may also practice acupuncture.  Usually they have extensive hours of training in their primary practice, but not as many in acupuncture.  For instance chiropractors can practice acupuncture with 300 hours of training and medical doctors can practice with as few as 100 hours.  Make sure to ask where they have trained and how much experience they have.  Licensed acupuncturist have a minimum of 2800 educational hours and 1000 clinical hours.