Most often there is some relief after the first treatment. For maximum benefit it is recommended that a patient receives a course of 4-6 treatments, treating twice per week for the first couple weeks. After the first course, treatments are often reduced depending on what is most appropriate for the patient.
The World Health Organization (WHO) lists approximately 50 conditions that acupuncture can treat and this list is growing every day. The most common uses for Acupuncture in the West include: Pain Management, Asthma, Addiction, Stroke, Gastrointestinal Disorders, Gynecological and Obstetric Disorders, and Sexual Dysfunction. For more information please click here.
There are some pretty standard responses to this question that acupuncturists typically give. I'd like to take the opportunity to answer this question through the lens of Sports Medicine Acupuncture. When an injury occurs, whether it's from an acute trauma (like a fall) or a chronic overuse or postural issue (sitting at a computer with your hand on the mouse all day) the body responds by doing one of two things to the muscles involved: either the muscles contract and limit range of motion by tightening up, or the muscles are shut off and become flaccid and weak. In either scenario the muscles involved are no longer communicating effectively with the brain and the rest of the body, range of motion suffers, and pain endures. Every muscle in the body has something like a "reset button" built into it. Using hair-thin filaments we can access this reset button and "press" it. When this happens there is often (but not always) a "fasciculation" or small twitch in the muscle. This twitch is not painful, but it can be a bit surprising the first couple times that it happens. When the muscle is reset, whether it was tight or flaccid it now returns to a neutral position and range of motion is restored. This, along with some other biological processes that are jumpstarted when a needle is inserted (the so-called "cascade of inflammation") can dramatically reduce pain in just one treatment for many types of injuries.
To qualify for licensure in California, a practitioner must qualify for and pass the California Acupuncture Board (CAB) licensure examination. To qualify to sit for the CAB exam, a student must complete a 3000-hour program at a CAB-approved school or demonstrate equivalent training. Originally this program was considered a Masters level program, but it has since become a Doctoral program in order to reflect the similarities in level of training between Acupuncturists, Chiropractors, Physical Therapists, and Occupational Therapists.
In order for an acupuncturist to become Certified Sports Medicine Acupuncture®️ (C.SMA) they must first complete the same 4 year acupuncture program and pass a rigorous licensing exam just the same as every other Licensed Acupuncturist. After receiving their acupuncture license the acupuncturist may then enroll in the C.SMA program. The C.SMA program takes a minimum of one year to complete along with 4 written exams and a comprehensive practical exam. The program goes through 4 different modules: The Spine, The Neck & Upper Extremity, the Pelvis and Hips, and the Lower Extremity. Each module consists of an in-depth study approach of the actual anatomy of that body part. A cadaver lab, which offers a fresh specimen of that body part, is utilized to view all the important structures in 3D. This provides a rare opportunity for an acupuncturist to learn exactly where his or her needle travels in the body and for what exact purpose. An emphasis is given to developing meticulous palpation skills.
In addition to the Anatomy & Palpation, the acupuncturist learns how to assess & treat common injuries and conditions associated with the different parts of the body both as a separate part and also as a part of a whole. For each part of the body we learn specific needling techniques, soft tissue techniques, PNF stretching, taping techniques, and we also learn how to evaluate that individual part in conjunction with the rest of the body. The certification also include a full Posture & Gait analysis program which teaches the practitioner to assess for important planar deviations in the patient’s posture. These deviations help diagnose important muscle and movement imbalances which have to be addressed in order to achieve longer term recovery and improved body function. After we learn how to find the imbalances and deviations we're then taught the appropriate corrective exercises that would help correct these deviations.
In summary, at acupuncture school we learn how to insert needles in order to reduce pain, but in the Sports Medicine Acupuncture Certification program we're taught how to truly heal a person's body in a comprehensive and long lasting way.
Click here to learn more about the Sports Medicine Acupuncture program.
Yes! Every acupuncture needle at San Diego Sports Acupuncture is a sterile, single-use, disposable needle. It comes out of a sterile package and goes straight into a sharps container at the end of the treatment.
Total treatment time depends on the complexity and severity of the case. Our initial visits are typically 60-90 minutes long and our follow ups are typically 60 minutes or longer. If we have the time and you need the work and also have the time we will always go the extra mile to give you everything your body needs in a treatment.