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Common Questions
What does it feel like?
How many treatments will I need?
How long is a treatment?
How should I prepare for a treatment?
What's a treatment like?
How will I feel after treatment?
Are there any side effects?
How can acupuncture & herbal medicine help me?

What does it feel like?

Many people who have never had acupuncture before are naturally concerned at the thought of having needles inserted into their body. It is important to remember that the needles used are usually as fine as a hair and very different from needles conventionally used to give injections or take blood. Also acupuncture does not usually hurt – it usually gives rise to a needling sensation but this is rarely described as 'pain'. Many patients are surprised by how painless the needle insertion itself is.

The response to the stimulus of the needles varies from patient to patient. You may feel a slight prick as the needle first punctures the skin. Many people describe the sensation that follows as a "dragging" or "slight aching" sensation. This is usually short lived, only lasting while the energy flows around that point.


How many treatments will I need?

The number of treatments required to address initial health concerns will vary from person to person, according to their diagnosis and the general state of their energy as well as their short and longer-term goals. As a rule of thumb, longer-standing conditions take longer to treat, but this does not necessary apply to every patient. Sometimes symptoms disappear immediately after treatment, but it is more common for them to gradually change and improve over time as the course of treatment progresses.


Initially, it is best to commit to a course of around 6 weekly treatments to kick start your body's own healing and help re-establish the balance of your energies. Some patients do not need to complete the course. Many others choose to continue their treatment, perhaps with longer intervals between treatments, after their initial health concerns have improved. The aim of treatment is to allow your body to maintain its own internal balance without continual treatment. However, the benefits of acupuncture can be more pervasive and many people continue with occasional treatment over a longer period to help them cope with the effect of day-to-day life on their general well-being.


How long is a treatment?

The needles may be left in place for a short period of time (usually up to 20 minutes), or for a second and then removed immediately, depending on your needs.


The treatment itself will last between 30 and 45 minutes. The position and number of points used will depend on your diagnosis and other factors such as your age, energy levels, build and sensitivity to treatment.


How should I prepare for a treatment?

It is not advisable to come for treatment not having eaten for several hours. If necessary, have a light snack before your appointment. Also, if it forms part of your dental hygiene routine, please do NOT scrape or brush your tongue the night before and morning of your treatment (brushing teeth is fine, and appreciated!). Sometimes you may be asked to refrain from wearing make up or perfumed products for subsequent treatments, to aid the diagnostic process. It also helps if you make a note of any medical conditions (e.g. epilepsy, allergic reactions, diabetes, high blood pressure etc) that you have and the details of any medication you are taking and bring it with you to your treatment.


If possible, come to your appointment wearing clothes where the sleeves and pants can be rolled up to the elbows and knees.


What's a treatment like?

At your first treatment, Nan will take a detailed and comprehensive medical history. She will also feel your pulses (six on each wrist) and ask to look at your tongue for diagnostic signs.


This comprehensive Chinese Medical diagnosis will involve an assessment of your individual physical, emotional and spiritual health. The focus is on you as an individual, rather than your disease or symptoms.


Treatment principles and points will then be individually selected to meet your needs. The points chosen to place the needles may not be physically close to the area of your body where your symptoms occur. If necessary, an herbal formula may be advised, either in raw herb form, granules, or pills.

At your next appointment, you will have the chance to discuss your health and symptoms again and a diagnostic examination will be done once more to monitor your progress.

How will I feel after the acupuncture treatment?

Some patients feel an invigorating surge of energy during the treatment. Others can feel deeply relaxed and may fall asleep during a treatment. Many patients report feeling a shift in their internal balance, and notice a change in symptoms immediately. Or, you may find you don't notice a big change until the next day.


It is also perfectly "normal" not to feel anything during treatment. Your response to treatment will be as unique as you are.


It is advisable to avoid any strenuous activity straight after your treatment (e.g. vigorous exercise or driving long distances) and also to refrain from drinking alcohol straight after a treatment.


Are there any side effects?

In some cases, symptoms change before improving. In rare instances, they may be temporarily aggravated before improving with chinese medicine. This is usually part of the adjustment of your energetic balance and is soon followed by an improvement in your condition.


Can acupuncture & herbal medicine help me?

Commonly treated disorders:

Skin disease, including eczema, psoriasis, acne, rosacea, urticaria

Gastro-intestinal disorders, including IBS, chronic constipation, ulcerative colitis, diarrhea, food allergies

Gynecological conditions, including pre-menstrual syndrome and dysmenorrhoea, endometriosis, infertility

Headache/migraines, eye and ear problems, sleep disturbances

Hepatitis and HIV: some promising results have been obtained for treatment of Hepatitis C, and supportive treatment may be beneficial in the case of HIV

Chronic fatigue syndromes, whether with a background of viral infection or in other situations

Respiratory conditions, including asthma, bronchitis, and chronic coughs, allergic and perennial rhinitis and sinusitis

Rheumatological conditions (e.g. osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis)

Urinary conditions including chronic cystitis, prostate conditions

Diabetes, including treatment and prevention

Psychological problems (e.g. depression, anxiety)


If you have any other questions that are not covered here, please contact Nan and she will be happy to help.




Nan Schwarz
Acupuncture & Herbal Medicine





PHONE: (206) 323-2225

LOCATION: 203 14th Avenue East
Seattle, WA 98112
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