Acupuncture is a time-honored method of treatment in Oriental medicine. Dr. Dawn uses acupuncture to gently restore balance to the body’s vital energies, which stimulates healing and promotes optimal well-being.
Very fine, sterile, one-time use needles are inserted into specific points on the skin to adjust and regulate the flow of energy in the body. Gentle physiological responses occur, which create the circumstances for the body and mind to re-balance, release pain and heal.
Dr. Dawn Potter-Balusik practices Traditional Chinese acupuncture, some Tan Balance Method of acupuncture. She may also use non-needle techniques, such as acupressure, press pellets, low-level laser, microcurrent or moxabustion for those who are too young or frightened of needles.
How does acupuncture work?
Acupuncture directly accesses the Life Energy, or Qi (“chee”) that was discussed in the Oriental medicine page. Over thousands of years, the Chinese mapped pathways along which this Qi energy flows in human beings. These pathways, known also as Meridians, can be thought of like rivers. They carry Qi energy to all organs, tissues and cells in the body, ensuring proper physiological and structural functioning.
Acu-points are specific areas on the skin through which the Qi in the Meridians can be accessed. Though the Chinese have had knowledge of these points and their locations for thousands of years, Western science can now confirm their existence and locations through electronic testing.
These acu-points are the insertion sites. The needles directly regulate the flow of the Qi energy in the Meridians, correcting imbalances and improving flow. This promotes harmony within the body and assists the body’s own built-in healing mechanisms.
Does acupuncture hurt?
Not generally. The needles are very thin, similar to a cat’s whisker. In fact, about 10 to 20 acupuncture needles can fit inside the hole in a typical hypodermic needle. Some patients may feel a light pinch upon insertion at a few points, but once the needle is in place, any unpleasant sensation dissipates. Most people fall into a deep relaxation during treatment and many patients find the experience to be relaxing, rejuvenating and enjoyable. On children, acupressure, laser, massage, cupping and press pellets are used instead of needles, along with herbal supplementation and nutritional recommendation.
Is acupuncture safe?
Yes, when performed by a trained professional. The needles are made of stainless steel and are sterile, individually-packaged and disposable. No needle is ever used twice, so there is virtually no risk of infection.
Can I combine acupuncture with my current medical treatment?
Yes. Though acupuncture can stand alone for many conditions, it may also be used as a complementary therapy to conventional medicine. In fact, acupuncture is recommended by many fertility specialists, neurologists, orthopedists, physical therapists, pain specialists, psychologists and oncologists to complement their own therapies. Acupuncture is also the perfect adjunct to massage therapy, chiropractic treatment, chelation and other alternative therapies.
How many treatments will I need?
The length, number and frequency of acupuncture treatments will vary. After your first visit, Dawn Potter-Balusik will have a clearer understanding of what you will need and will make her recommendations at that time.
Generally, acute problems require less time and frequency of treatment. For example, an acute sprain may require only one or two treatments, whereas more chronic or severe ailments may require several treatments. Positive results are generally seen after 6 to 12 treatments.
Typically, treatments last from 20 to 45 minutes, with treatments once or twice weekly to start. You will be able to schedule your appointments less frequently when your condition has improved satisfactorily. Once well, most people come in once every 4 to 6 weeks for maintenance, but others come weekly for relaxation, stress relief and overall health maintenance.
For more information on what to expect as a new patient, please see the Forms & FAQs page.
What does Western medical science say about acupuncture?
“The data in support of acupuncture is as strong as that for many accepted western medical therapies….One of the advantages of acupuncture is that the incidence of adverse effects is substantially lower than that of many drugs or other accepted medical procedures used for the same conditions.” – 1997 National Institute of Health Consensus Conference on Acupuncture.
In Western medical research studies, acupuncture has been shown to stimulate the immune system, positively affect the circulation, blood pressure, rhythm and stroke volume of the heart, increase secretion of digestive juices and enzymes, stimulate production of red and white blood cells, and regulate hormonal balance. It also stimulates the release of endorphins, the body’s natural “feel-good” brain chemicals.
Many hospitals, rehab centers, infertility clinics, and well-respected cancer care facilities have already integrated acupuncture into their treatment services, and more are doing so each year.
For additional scientific information, visit the acupuncture page on the National Institutes of Health – National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, which is conducting ongoing research.