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Frequently Asked Questions: Acupuncture


At the Arizona Center for Advanced Medicine, our team is dedicated to bringing you the very best treatment options from alternative, traditional, and holistic medicine. Acupuncture is an ancient tradition that has a surprising number of health benefits, especially when used as a part of a whole-body treatment plan. Below we’ll answer some common questions many patients have about acupuncture.

1. Can Acupuncture Help Me?

Acupuncture is a therapy that is used to treat many health conditions. It is always best to consult your physician before beginning acupuncture. Based on your medical history, response to treatments, condition, and other factors, we can recommend a treatment plan that best suits you.

Generally acupuncture is an excellent option when traditional Western treatment approaches have not shown any progress or have caused serious negative side effects. It can be used to enhance the treatment effects of Western medicine, as well.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends acupuncture for:

  • Respiratory diseases
  • Bronchopulmonary diseases
  • Eye disorders
  • Disorders of the mouth
  • Orthopedic disorders
  • Gastrointestinal disorders
  • Neurologic disorders

Discuss your condition with your primary care physician and see if they recommend acupuncture to treat your unique condition. If your primary care physician is unfamiliar with acupuncture, call AZCAM to schedule a free 15-minute phone consultation with Dr. Grout, who can help you decide whether acupuncture might be helpful for your condition.

2. Does Acupuncture Hurt?

You may feel a slight prickle or sparkle when the needle is inserted, but generally, acupuncture is not painful. In fact, many patients feel very relaxed or even fall asleep during their acupuncture sessions. The needles used in acupuncture are far thinner than those used for injections or drawing blood. Acupuncture needles are not hollow and do not have a cutting edge like other medical needles. Because of these differences, many patients report hardly feeling the treatment needles once they are placed.

3. What is the Acupuncture Process Like?

The process will depend on the treatment style, condition being treated, and other factors. Typically, 3 to 15 needles will be placed in different areas of your body. If you have concerns, discuss the process with Dr. Grout to learn what you can expect for your unique experience.

4. How Many Sessions Will I Need?

The number of recommended sessions will depend on your unique treatment needs. Typically, you will require 6 to 10 sessions in order to effectively alleviate or correct your condition. When you go for your first session, we will assess your needs and estimate the number of treatment sessions you’ll need.

5. How Do I Prepare for My Acupuncture Session?

Dress in loose, comfortable clothing which will allow easy access to the necessary acupuncture points. Eat a light meal or a snack before your treatment, and be sure to stay hydrated. Write down any questions you may have to be certain that you get them answered.

6. How Do Acupuncturists Avoid Infection?

Because acupuncture does break the skin, infection is a very slight risk. Every acupuncturist takes steps to have a sanitary space and practices good hygiene through careful handwashing prior to inserting the needles. At AZCAM we always use single-use disposable sterile needles. The risks of infection after an acupuncture treatment are very low, but steps still must be taken to protect your health.

7. What Training Is Required to Practice Acupuncture?

The requirements can vary greatly depending on your local laws. In some locations, one must be a physician trained in acupuncture to practice, while other locations have less intense training requirements. Generally, non-physician acupuncturists are required to complete 3 to 4 years or 2000 hours of training and study before they are licensed. Physicians typically take a 300-hour course in acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, in addition to all the basic sciences and anatomy, etc, which they learned in medical school. Chiropractors use a different form of acupuncture, and typically have shorter training than physicians.

8. How Does Acupuncture Work?

Traditional Chinese Medicine describes channels of energy that run through the body in regular patterns. This energy is responsible for nourishing the body, but an obstruction in these energy channels can lead to a blockage of blood, metabolic waste, and bodily fluids. This can cause imbalances in the body. The use of needles to unblock the flow of energy can restore balance and stimulate the body’s natural healing abilities.

Western science has extensively studied acupuncture as well. There are several theories of how acupuncture provides effective relief for patients. These include:

  • Acupuncture changes the conduction of electromagnetic signals within the body.
  • Acupuncture activates biochemical responses by stimulating nerves, changing the chemistry of the brain.
  • Acupuncture reduces pro-inflammatory markers in the body which leads to a reduction of pain and inflammation.

At the Arizona Center for Advanced Medicine, we are dedicated to blending conventional and integrative medical treatments to create unique treatment plans designed specifically for you. Our Scottsdale integrative medicine center takes a personalized approach to your care. Schedule an appointment today to discover how we can assist you and protect your family’s health.

Contact our experienced team today by calling (480) 240-2600 to schedule a free 15-minute phone consultation with Dr. Grout.