Answers to the most commonly asked questions about acupuncture treatment.


How do I find an Acupuncturist or Oriental Medicine Practitioner/ie. are you qualified?
The designation of licensed acupuncturist (L.Ac.) is awarded by a state regulatory board. Most states including Colorado require the passing of the NCCAOM(National Certification Commission for Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine) examinations as a requirement for licensure to practice acupuncture. Eligibility to sit for the national exams requires a minimum of 1500 hours study in an accredited school of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine. Eligibility to graduate with a Masters in Oriental Medicine requires a minimum of 2625 hours of study.

Shannon is both a licensed acupuncturist by the state of Colorado as well as a graduate of a nationally accredited school holding her Master’s degree in Oriental Medicine(MSTCM or DOM).

What kinds of conditions can be treated by Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine?
An acupuncturist may be consulted for specific symptoms and conditions such as pain, anxiety, arthritis, asthma, migraine, menstrual disorders, intestinal disorders, addiction and a multitude of other conditions. The World Health Organization (WHO) has listed the above conditions and many more as being responsive to acupuncture treatment.

There has been extensive research evidencing acupuncture as effective in helping patients with many of the conditions listed by the WHO as well as many others. It does more than simply relieve the symptoms. The aim of acupuncture is to treat the whole patient and restore balance between the physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of the individual. Many people also use acupuncture as a preventative treatment, which is the most important benefit of this medicine.

How big are the needles and does it hurt?
Most patients experience little or no pain as very fine, sterile, disposable needles are used. Acupuncture needles are so thin, you can actually fit around 35-40 acupuncture needles into the head of a needle typically used for injections and are often compared to the thickness of a strand of hair!
How do I know if it's working?
While acupuncture is famous for immediate relief of pain, chronic cases may take more time.

Acupuncture has a cumulative effect, and while working to get to the root cause of the main issue you may discover some positive benefits along the way. “Side effects” may include better sleep, easier digestion, decreased stress/stress response, more energy and sharper focus. It is also common for other unrelated ailments to improve, as acupuncture may act as a reset button for the whole body.

My MD, PT, and/or chiropractor does acupuncture or dry needling. What's the difference?
While dry needling is a form of acupuncture, there are still many differences. Dry needling is simply a style of needle manipulation directed at trigger points in muscle tissue and is a technique adopted from the realization that the simple injection of a needle into a sore muscle could relieve pain. Nothing new to the eastern acupuncturist’s mind, as traditional acupuncture has been using trigger points as a source of pain relief for hundreds if not thousands of years. Oddly enough this technique was originally performed in the western world with needles meant for injections! OUCH!

It wasn’t until Chinese medicine made it into the United States that the practice of dry needling adopted the use of the thinner, more comfortable traditional acupuncture needle. Unfortunately, many practitioners not trained in the classical art of Chinese acupuncture will use large manipulation techniques with the needles which can cause a large amount of discomfort to the patient as well as a greater risk of injury. This brings into question the amount and quality of training that PT’s, chiropractor’s, and even MD’s receive when learning “dry needling”. Sometimes the training is as little as 25 hours, verses the 500+ hours of clinically supervised training traditional acupuncturists receive.

While direct treatment of trigger points to muscles has proven to be effective, the holistic lens of the traditionally trained acupuncturist is also lost. In the eye of the holistic practitioner, pain is not always simply from muscle tissue gone awry. There may be underlying factors causing the pain as well as a whole body treatment needed to insure the patient will walk away without pain.