This section will help answer the common questions that people have about our services.  If you don’t find your specific question here, or don’t find the answer that completely satisfies your question, don’t hesitate to call us, e-mail us, or ask us during your appointment.  We enjoy and encourage open discussion with all of our patients.  As well, we have a number of free brochures available that explain more about our services, the conditions we treat, and how it all works. Please click on the black bars below to learn more.


How should I prepare for a treatment?

Please try to wear or bring comfortable clothing to your treatment. This will allow our practitioners to be able to access the acupuncture points with ease, and it will help you to feel relaxed. Please try to avoid eating a heavy meal or skipping a meal before coming to your appointment.

I heard that acupuncture only works as a placebo.
What if I don’t believe in acupuncture?

The idea that acupuncture only works as a placebo is one of the biggest misconceptions about acupuncture.  You are not required to believe in acupuncture for it to work.  Studies have shown acupuncture to be very effective in treating a number of conditions in humans, as well as animals such as horses, dogs, and cats.  Animals are incapable of “believing” in acupuncture, yet it still works very well for them.  Testing for an acupuncture placebo effect in humans is much more challenging.  However, there have been studies conducted at major universities that suggest that acupuncture's effects are more than that of a placebo.  For more on this subject, please review the following articles:

How does acupuncture work from a "traditional" point of view?

Acupuncture is traditionally viewed as a treatment modality that sparks the body's ability to heal itself. From a traditional perspective, all physical and emotional health issues are simply signs that the body is out of balance. Acupuncture, along with dietary therapy and herbal medicine, can help reestablish homeostasis. When the body is in balance, it can heal itself appropriately and efficiently.

How does acupuncture work from a scientific point of view?

Scientific studies suggest that acupuncture has a multiple effects on the body, and numerous body systems are effected by acupuncture. These systems include: nervous, vascular, immune, muscular, endocrine, digestive, and reproductive. Most of acupuncture's effects are mediated by the nervous system, and most acupuncture points lay close to nerves and/or neurovascular bundles. Studies have shown that acupuncture is able to increase circulation, release various neurotransmitters, modulate different areas in the brain, balance the autonomic nervous system, reduce inflammation, relax tense muscle tissue, increase or decrease GI motility, etc. Acupuncture research is in its infancy, and there are still gaps in our knowledge.  We believe that these gaps will be filled by further research and with the advancement of technology. In the meantime, we combine traditional and modern, scientific approaches in order to achieve optimal results. 

What are channels (meridians)?

Acupuncture points are not randomly located on the body. A majority of them lay along what are traditionally referred to as channels, and there are a number of different types of channels (Primary, Sinew, Connecting, Divergent, etc). Similar to the nervous and vascular systems, as well as fascial planes, channels connect different parts of the body with one another. In fact, there is significant overlap between these systems and some types of traditional channels.

How many treatments will I need?

Overall, most patients begin to notice changes within the first 3-5 acupuncture treatments and significant improvements within 6-12 treatments. With acupuncture, the effectiveness of each treatment typically builds upon the previous one. Depending on the nature of the health concern and the individual response, a patient may require anywhere from six to twenty-five treatments or more to achieve the goal of the treatment plan. Acute conditions tend to resolve more quickly with an intensive series of treatments. Whereas, chronic conditions may require a longer and more consistent series of treatments. The number of required treatments will also be determined the severity and cause of the health concern. Once significant changes have been made, maintenance treatments may or may not be required. Depending on the particular condition and the patient's age, this may result in a treatment every one to three months to prevent a relapse of symptoms.

At the Charlotte Acupuncture and Wellness Center, our practitioners will check your progress throughout your treatment plan. We will strive to provide you with an accurate prognosis and refer you to another healthcare practitioner, if we are unable to help you.

Are the needles reused?

No, absolutely not.  We do not reuse needles.  The Charlotte Acupuncture and Wellness Center only uses FDA-approved, single-use needles that have been sterilized by the manufacturer prior to packaging.  After your treatment, the needles are disposed of in a “Sharps” medical waste disposal container.  Furthermore, all of our acupuncturists are nationally certified in Clean Needle Technique by the CCAOM (Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine).  This is the only national organization that certifies practitioners in Clean Needle Technique for acupuncture.  Clean Needle Technique is the standard way in which acupuncture is practiced in order to keep patients and practitioners safe.  You can always expect to receive the highest level of care available each time you visit the Charlotte Acupuncture and Wellness Center.

What are the differences between a Licensed Acupuncturist and a Chiropractor or Doctor that practices acupuncture?

The difference is usually in the amount acupuncture training that the practitioner has completed.  Licensed acupuncturists are required to complete a program of training that is highly specialized in acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine.  To become a NC Licensed Acupuncturist, the North Carolina Licensing Board requires the completion of at least a 3 year postgraduate program in acupuncture that is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM).  Additionally, Licensed Acupuncturists must pass the national acupuncture exams administered by the National Certification Commission in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM).

Each acupuncturist at the Charlotte Acupuncture and Wellness Center has completed more than 3,000 hours of postgraduate training (Masters of Science in Oriental Medicine) that has included over 1,000 hours of clinical experience.  About 80% of that training focused on acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine and 20% was devoted to Western sciences.  Moreover, our acupuncturists have passed the national NCCAOM exams in acupuncture, Oriental medical theory, Chinese herbal medicine, and biomedicine.  They also completed hospital internships in China and received training in traditional Japanese acupuncture.  Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine are their areas of expertise.

The acupuncture training of most Doctors of Chiropractic, Doctors of Naturopathy, Doctors of Osteopathy, and Medical Doctors is often very basic.  It typically consists of less than 300 hours of instruction, and these practitioners generally use acupuncture only as an adjunct to their usual expertise.  You should always feel free to ask your practitioner about the extensiveness of their acupuncture training.  For more information on this subject, please see Know Your Acupuncturist.
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