Acupuncture FAQs

What are some common symptoms that acupuncture can help?

  • Stress/Tension/Anxiety
  • Depression/Mood
  • Fatigue/Energy
  • Back Pain
  • Musculoskeletal Pain
  • Arthritis & Join Pain
  • Migraines/Headaches
  • Women's Health/Gynecological disorders
  • Gastrointestinal Issues
  • Asthma
  • General Health & Wellness

How should I prepare for my acupuncture appointment?

How does Chinese Herbal Medicine differ from homeopathy & western herbal medicine? 

Chinese Herbal Medicine uses formulas consisting of several herbs that address a patient's symptoms as well as the disease pattern or cause. The formula balances the body: if there is heat, cool; if there is dryness, moisten; if there is excess, reduce, etc. Homeopathy works on the principle that in order to treat disease, you should ingest an extremely minute amount of a substance that causes a similar reaction in the body. The substance is normally a single herb that addresses a patient's symptoms only. Western herbal medicine uses herbs either singly or in groups that treat the same symptom or disease. This philosophy is similar to Chinese herbal medicine in that it focuses on balancing the body. But again, it treats symptoms more than the cause of disease. 

How many treatments will I need? 

This depends on several factors: how long you have had your disorder, how often you come in for treatment, the accuracy of the diagnosis, how well you respond to the treatments and how compliant you are with the Chinese Herbal Medicine. Chronic conditions are generally treated in courses of eight to twelve week treatments, with one visit per week. Please keep in mind that for chronic conditions, recovery may take several treatment courses, but you should feel a gradual improvement after each visit. For acute conditions, you should see positive results almost immediately and treatment should be complete within two or three visits. It is generally more effective to come in several times in one week than to come in once a week for a month. 

Be sure to eat a light snack before your appointment, and please wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing. We do have some loose pants and gowns on hand in case you forget. Memorize a list of your prescriptions, the contact information for your primary care provider, and emergency contact info. Please download, print, and fill-out the Intake Form and Consent to Treat Form to bring with you. If you donʼt have access to a printer, please arrive ten minutes before your appointment to fill out the forms. 

What is the difference between licensed acupuncturists and medical acupuncturists?

A Licensed Acupuncturist (L.Ac.) has studied Oriental Medicine and Acupuncture a minimum of 3-4 years. They undergo a rigorous curriculum of acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine that includes intense study and an internship, so most often, you can be confident that the L.Ac you see has some serious education! Medical acupuncture is performed by a doctor (MD) or other licensed health care professional (such as a chiropractor, dentist, and physical therapist). Medical acupuncture was created for these health practitioners without the lengthy study that Licensed Acupuncturists take. Some of these courses only require 100 hours of acupuncture study, while Licensed Acupuncturists have over 3,000 hours. If you have received acupuncture by an MD, DC, or someone not fully trained like an L.Ac., and you have not benefited from the treatment, please consider going to a L.Ac. to experience the full potential that acupuncture has to offer!

Is acupuncture painful?

Acupuncture needles are much thinner than needles used for injections. If you feel them at all, it will be a sensation similar to someone pulling a single hair. Most patients don't even feel them go in. Once they are inserted, you may experience warmth, tingling, numbness, distending or a heavy feeling at the needle site. This is normal and even desired. In some cases, the needles will be placed at sensitive areas of the body like the hands and feet, which some people may find uncomfortable. Other patients feel so relaxed during treatment that they fall asleep on the treatment table. 

How long do acupuncture appointments take? 

Your first appointment will take anywhere from 60-90 minutes. This includes the initial intake and the acupuncture treatment. Follow up visits generally last between 45-60 minutes.  

Are there side effects of acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a considerably safe treatment method. The incidences of negative outcomes or reactions to acupuncture are statistically negligible. The most common ill-effect that some people have is simply some slight light headedness when getting off of the table, and occasional slight bruising at the needle site.

How do the acupuncture needles work?

Scientific research has discovered that acupuncture points show a variety of unique bioelectric properties. Stimulation of acupuncture points cause definite physiological reactions affecting brain activity such as: releasing pain-killing endorphins, influencing blood pressure, enhancing the immune system, balancing the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, and enhancing the endocrine system. Most of all, acupuncture stimulates the bodyʼs natural ability to heal itself, regain homeostasis, and maintain its relationship with nature.

Is there medicine on the needle?

No. It is the needle itself that initiates physiological changes and stimulates the movement of Qi (energy) to cause a corrective change in the body.

Do you take insurance? 

At this time, Spot does not accept insurance. However if your insurance company reimburses for our services, we will gladly print up a bill for you to submit to them. 

Are the needles sterile?

Yes. The needles are pre-sterilized, non-toxic, and disposable. Communication of disease through acupuncture has not been an issue in the U.S.; a record, few other health care professions can claim. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved acupuncture needles for use by licensed practitioners in 1996. The FDA requires manufacturers of acupuncture needles to label them for single use only. Relatively few complications from the use of acupuncture have been reported to the FDA when considering the millions of people treated each year and the number of acupuncture needles used.

Do medical doctors practice acupuncture?

The term used for the practice of acupuncture by medical doctors is “medical acupuncture”. You should be aware that unless medical acupuncturists also carry the designation of L.Ac., they are not licensed or trained in the same manner as a Licensed Acupuncturist. Therefore, a medical acupuncturist's training in Oriental medicine and acupuncture maybe mostly likely be significantly less advanced and involved as that of a L.Ac .

What kinds of things can you treat besides pain?

Acupuncture has been used for thousands of years in China to treat things like asthma, high or low blood pressure, colds/flu, digestive disorders like constipation or diarrhea, dizziness, chronic fatigue, gynecological disorders, headache, insomnia, anxiety, depression and a host of other disorders.Even things that might not be considered disorders in Western medicine may be treated by Chinese medicine, like cold hands and feet, night sweating, feeling flushed or a bitter taste in the mouth. Acupuncture was originally a preventative medicine, so chances are there is something regarding your health that acupuncture can address. It's easier to take a preventive approach before conditions start to manifest themselves into more serious ones. 

What is the educational level of Lisa Smyth, L.Ac.?

The designation "L.Ac." indicates that Lisa is a Licensed Acupuncturist, licensed by the Minnesota State Board of Medical Practice. It is required for acupuncturists to be licensed through the state, and in order to receive this licensure, one must also have graduated from a Masters in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (MAOM) program. The program Lisa graduated from included a curriculum of 3180 hours (182 credits) including 1740 hours of didactic instruction on acupuncture and Oriental medicine, 540 hours of bioscience-related material, and 900 hours of clinical observation and experience. Lisa has also received her certification from the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM), which grants you a Dipl. OM (Diplomate of Oriental Medicine).

Can patients address health issues collaboratively with their acupuncturist and MD?

Increasingly, acupuncture is complementing conventional therapies. For example, medical doctors may combine acupuncture and drugs to control surgery-related pain in their patients. By providing both acupuncture and certain conventional anesthetic drugs, some doctors have found it possible to achieve a state of complete pain relief for some patients. They also have found that using acupuncture lowers the need for conventional pain-killing drugs and thus reduces the risk of side effects for patients who take the drugs. 

If you have additional questions that are not answered here, please contact us directly.  

We will be in touch with you within 24 hours of your inquiry.