Acupuncture FAQ

What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is the stimulation of essential information-relay centers in the body commonly called acupuncture "points", usually by insertion of tiny flexible needles but also by application of gentle electric current, warming moxa, infrared lamp, laser, massage, suction, or pressure. Stimulation of acupuncture points produces a healing, regulatory, or pain-relieving effect. It is an ancient art and science that began 1000s of years ago and has evolved, adapted and exponentially increased its uses and effectiveness over time: current advances in technology mean that it is an exciting time to be an acupuncture patient!

How does acupuncture work?

No one knows how the ancient Chinese discovered that inserting needles into a special place on your foot could make your headache go away. But today doctors do have a pretty good understanding of how acupuncture treatment affects the body physiologically, thanks to numerous animal studies, and tests like functional MRIs which show precisely which regions of the brain are activated by certain acupuncture points on the body. Acupuncture relieves pain by reducing local inflammation, increasing circulation, increasing feel-good chemicals like endorphins, and re-setting the brain's proprioception and nociception (sensing of itself in space, and sensing of injury). Acupuncture corrects internal diseases by stimulating the immune system, improving gut motility, regulating hormones, and calming the nervous system.

Do I have to believe it will work?

No! Of course, a positive expectation increases the effect of any treatment, even surgery, however acupuncture (like surgery) also works on animals. Numerous laboratory studies bear this out. You can also ask one of the thousands of people who take their arthritic pets for acupuncture treatment each year! The physiological effects of acupuncture are real.

Does acupuncture hurt?

If you've never had acupuncture before, you may find it difficult to believe you could feel comfortable, relaxed, and relieved lying still for 30 minutes with little pins stuck in you! The acupuncturist(s) at New Channel Wellness are highly skilled and use special techniques to insert needles quickly and gently with minimal sensation. Often, you won't even know a needle is there. Other times, there may be a heavy, buzzy, magnetic or moving type sensation that you feel, but this sensation is usually just strange and not painful. From time to time, there may be a pin-prick sensation that lasts an instant. Most patients barely notice it. Our patients find treatment here deeply relaxing and look forward to their visits because of how awesome they feel!

Where do you put the needles?

Needles sometimes go in the painful area. Other times needles go in seemingly random spots that are in fact highly precise in their connection to the painful or diseased area. Acupuncturists have hundreds of these highly specific acupoints to choose from. About 50 of theses points are most effective and used more often than others. If you have had a lot of local treatment to the problem area whether by surgery, injection, massage, etc. your acupuncturist may choose to needle points well away from the painful area. New patients are continually amazed at how effective and comfortable this is! If you are ever nervous about having a specific body area touched, needled, or treated with any method, let your acupuncturist know. Your body responds better to treatment when you are comfortable. Most of the time, you get relief without any additional discomfort from treatment itself.

What do the letters mean after your name?

L.Ac. is an abbreviation for Licensed Acupuncturist, and the most reliable indicator that a clinician is a specialist in acupuncture treatment. Some MDs and Chiropractors (also "Doctor") may offer acupuncture treatment in some states. Few of these are specialists in acupuncture. Nowadays, some Licensed Acupuncturists will also have the title of "Doctor" before their name. Acupuncture education is moving toward "entry-level" doctorate title for all Licensed Acupuncturists, which means that new graduates will have completed some additional coursework in integrative medicine systems, clinical research, or a subspecialty. While Jennifer Kapraun L.Ac. does not yet have the title "Dr." she has earned advanced credentials in Neuromeridian Integrative Acupuncture, subspecialty certification in fertility and pregnancy treatment, and has vast clinical experience commensurate with or exceeding that of some doctoral programs. FABORM is an abbrevation for Fellow of the American Board of Oriental Reproductive Medicine. Fellows have completed many hours of study and clinical hours with treatment of reproductive disorders with acupuncture, Chinese herbs, and functional medicine. They have passed a rigorous exam, and complete continuing education requirements yearly to stay up to date on developments in reproductive medicine, pregancy care, and fertility. Dipl.OM is an abbreviation for Diplomate in Oriental Medicine and means that the clinician has passed rigorous exams and is nationally certified in both acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine, and is up to date with continuing education, safety and ethics requirements, CPR, and other professional requirements.

What are meridians or channels?

"Meridian" is the original term used for certain pathways in the body when acupuncture was first introduced to the west. It implies an invisible line on a map to the Western mind. The term "channel", is preferred today as it more accurately describes the bio-electric pathways that actually exist between cells and more compex body stuctures. Acupuncture Channels appear in the most primitive stages of embryonic development, and develop more complex branches as the organs, bones, brain, and other structures fully develop. They generally begin on the hands, head, and feet and pass through one or more internal organs. Channels should not to be confused with nerves or bloodvessels, although the channels do tend to correspond with the pathways and branches of major nerves and blood vessels. Channels can be thought to lie in the fasciae or connective tissue around your muscles, tendons, and bones. This tissue is fluid filled and rich in collagen, which has special bio-electricity conductive properties under the right conditions, and can be stimulated to provoke a powerful healing and pain-relieving response.