expert type icon EXPERT

Jeff Rippey

Acupuncturist

I'm part of a direct primary care clinic and med spa in Saint Joseph, MO. My main focus is distal acupuncture, which means I'm not very likely to treat exactly where the patient is indicating there's an issue. I see a lot of people for pain management and a good portion of my patient population are looking for help with depression, anxiety or stress.

I love talking about Chinese medicine and acupuncture, even with folks who don't necessarily believe in its effectiveness.
4 years Experience
Jeff Rippey
  • Saint Joseph, MO
  • Colorado School of Traditional Chinese Medicine
  • Accepting new patients

Can acupuncture help with ear problems?

It depends on what kind of ear problem we're talking about. Acupuncture is typically useful in things like tinnitus, vertigo, excess itching in the ears or a feeling like one READ MORE
It depends on what kind of ear problem we're talking about. Acupuncture is typically useful in things like tinnitus, vertigo, excess itching in the ears or a feeling like one or both ears are plugged.

Acupuncture isn't going to do much for auditory nerve damage, congenital deafness. It's spotty in terms of helping age related hearing decline.

If you're interested in trying acupuncture for your issue and you've been to an ENT to rule out other, more serious issues, then go out to NCCAOM.org and use their "Find a Practitioner" lookup to get board certified providers in your area. Call a few of them and see if you can find someone who has a good track record with whatever your ear issue is.

Can acupuncture help ringing in the ears?

Acupuncture can help tinnitus/ringing, but it's not something that is corrected quickly. Acupuncture in tinnitus is a long term strategy and patients have to be very consistent READ MORE
Acupuncture can help tinnitus/ringing, but it's not something that is corrected quickly. Acupuncture in tinnitus is a long term strategy and patients have to be very consistent about showing up. I don't think I've ever improved tinnitus for a patient in anything less than 10-15 treatments.

Tinnitus can often also have a lifestyle component. Exposure to loud noises or loud noises in confined spaces can have a cumulative impact on hearing. If a patient isn't willing to address these issues, assuming they exist, then acupuncture isn't going to be much help.

Where is the pressure point for ear pain?

Recently I've been seeing a lot of questions like this - people either wanting to know a specific acupuncture point for a western disease or wanting a specific pressure point for READ MORE
Recently I've been seeing a lot of questions like this - people either wanting to know a specific acupuncture point for a western disease or wanting a specific pressure point for a western disease. The problem is: this isn't how acupuncture and Chinese medicine work. There is no one point for a given western disease, in fact acupuncture technically doesn't treat western diseases at all.

Acupuncture is coupled to the Chinese diagnostic system which functions in a different way relative to conventional medicine. There is some cross-over between western disease names and the methods we use for diagnosis, but at it's core the Chinese diagnostic method is looking at your problem from the context of your entire system, not just from the context of the isolated sub-system that may be having a problem and causing a symptom like ear pain. In short, Chinese medicine does not primarily focus on symptom management, we focus on root cause treatment.

Multiple people could walk in to my office tomorrow all complaining of ear pain and, from the perspective of Chinese medicine, they all might be experiencing ear pain for different reasons. Those different reasons have different treatments. Sometimes there's overlap in the points we might use, but generally speaking different root causes have different treatments. In other words: without seeing and diagnosing you, it's very difficult to provide one point or a set of points which may be useful in your situation.

If you've been to your primary care and ruled out more serious issues as a root cause, then acupuncture might be a good choice for you. Go to NCCAOM.org and use their "Find a Practitioner" lookup to get a list of local, board certified providers. Call a few of these and see if there's anyone who either specializes in pain management or has a good track record with ear/auditory issues.

What is ear acupuncture good for?

Auricular acupuncture is a microsystem in which the entire body is mapped on to the ear. As such is can be used to either treat or support the treatment of anything acupuncture READ MORE
Auricular acupuncture is a microsystem in which the entire body is mapped on to the ear. As such is can be used to either treat or support the treatment of anything acupuncture can treat.

I use ear acupuncture a lot as support for body acupuncture in pain conditions. There are several ear points which can be used to treat addictive behaviors. I had an instructor when I was in school who only utilized ear points in all his treatments.

Can you get an infection from acupuncture?

Yes, it is possible to get an infection from anything that breaks the skin - including acupuncture. With a trained, licensed acupuncturist, it's fairly rare. In fact, I've never READ MORE
Yes, it is possible to get an infection from anything that breaks the skin - including acupuncture. With a trained, licensed acupuncturist, it's fairly rare. In fact, I've never heard of an acupuncturist causing an infection secondary to needling. We utilize single use, factory sterilized, disposable needles - these are used one time, on one patient and then discarded in an approved sharps container. In addition to this, every licensed acupuncturist is required to obtain a clean needle certificate prior to receiving their board certification and state practice license. This certification covers things like proper needle technique and needle site preparation required to avoid infection. In short, yes, it's possible, but if you're seeing a board certified and state licensed acupuncturist, it's extremely unlikely.

Does acupuncture help nausea?

It depends on what's causing the nausea, but generally, yes, acupuncture can be an excellent treatment choice. If the nausea is accompanied by vomiting, you've been experiencing READ MORE
It depends on what's causing the nausea, but generally, yes, acupuncture can be an excellent treatment choice. If the nausea is accompanied by vomiting, you've been experiencing the issue for quite a while and/or there is dramatic weight loss involved, your best bet is to start with your primary care and, possibly, a GI specialist. If nothing serious is discovered through their testing, then acupuncture would be a good choice. To locate a board certified, state licensed acupuncturist in your area, you can use the "Find a Practitioner" lookup at NCCAOM.org.

Can you ingest small amounts of essential oils?

Your best bet would be to contact the manufacturer.

Where is the acupuncture point for nausea?

Recently I've been seeing a lot of questions like this - people either wanting to know a specific acupuncture point for a western disease or wanting a specific pressure point for READ MORE
Recently I've been seeing a lot of questions like this - people either wanting to know a specific acupuncture point for a western disease or wanting a specific pressure point for a western disease. The problem is: this isn't how acupuncture and Chinese medicine work. There is no one point for a given western disease, in fact acupuncture doesn't treat western diseases at all.

Acupuncture is coupled to the Chinese diagnostic system which functions differently. There is some cross-over between western disease names and the methods we use for diagnosis, but at it's core the Chinese diagnostic method is looking at your problem from the context of your entire system, not just from the context of the isolated sub-system that may be having a problem and causing a symptom like nausea.

Multiple people could walk in to my office tomorrow all complaining of nausea and, from the perspective of Chinese medicine, they all might be experiencing nausea for different reasons. Those different reasons have different treatments. Sometimes there's overlap in the points we might use, but generally the different reasons have different treatments. In other words: without seeing and diagnosing you, it's very difficult to provide one point or a set of points which may be useful in your situation.

If you've been to your primary care and ruled out more serious issues as a root cause, then acupuncture might be a good choice for you. Go to NCCAOM.org and use their "Find a Practitioner" lookup to get a list of local, board certified providers. Call a few of these and see if there's anyone who either specializes in digestive issues or has a good track record with problems like nausea.

Can acupuncture help skin rashes?

In some cases, yes, acupuncture can be a useful treatment for rash. If you've been to a dermatologist, ruled out other issues, changed bath/laundry soaps, and are still experiencing READ MORE
In some cases, yes, acupuncture can be a useful treatment for rash. If you've been to a dermatologist, ruled out other issues, changed bath/laundry soaps, and are still experiencing the problem, go to NCCAOM.org and use their "Find a Practitioner" lookup to get a list of local providers.

What are the pressure points to relieve anxiety?

Off the top of my head, there are three different reasons inside the Chinese medical model why a person might experience anxiety. Each of these different reasons has a different READ MORE
Off the top of my head, there are three different reasons inside the Chinese medical model why a person might experience anxiety. Each of these different reasons has a different treatment. Unlike conventional western medicine, the Chinese model isn't built around the idea that the same or similar conditions have fundamentally the same treatment. The Chinese model is built around an individual diagnoses that is made from the perspective of the entire system. There's no one set of points which could be used to provide treatment for a given condition.

Secondly, in my experience, acupuncture using needles provides faster and longer lasting relief from conditions like pain or anxiety.

If you'd like to try Chinese medicine to help your issue, go to NCCAOM.org and use their "Find a Practitioner" lookup to get a list of local, board certified providers.

Do pressure points really work?

Pressure points? Sometimes. In my experience, acupressure is a distant second to acupuncture (using needles). Acupuncture treatments provide quicker, longer lasting relief. READ MORE
Pressure points? Sometimes. In my experience, acupressure is a distant second to acupuncture (using needles). Acupuncture treatments provide quicker, longer lasting relief. I only use acupressure on patients who have a history of passing out when pricked with needles. These folks tend to be fairly rare.

How many acupoints are there?

The number of acupoints is highly dependent on the system of acupuncture being practiced. Classically, the Chinese liked to say there were 365 points because there was a synergy READ MORE
The number of acupoints is highly dependent on the system of acupuncture being practiced.

Classically, the Chinese liked to say there were 365 points because there was a synergy with the length of the year. Different systems have more or less and different systems sometimes emphasize a subset of these points over the others.

Generally, we can say around 300'ish and usually be in the ballpark.

Can acupressure help knee pain?

Acupressure might be able to help with knee pain. In my experience, the effects of acupressure do not last as long as the effects of acupuncture. Acupuncture needles are roughly READ MORE
Acupressure might be able to help with knee pain. In my experience, the effects of acupressure do not last as long as the effects of acupuncture.

Acupuncture needles are roughly the diameter of a cat whisker, they're nothing like the typical hypodermic used for a flu shot and they're even smaller than insulin needles used by diabetics. Unless the patient is one of those rare individuals who passes out when pricked by almost any needle, there's no reason to settle for a treatment that isn't going to provide as much relief.

Can acupressure help swollen knees?

I don't know, I've never used acupressure to treat a swollen area and I'm not familiar with any scientific literature examining acupressure for the treatment of swollen areas. READ MORE
I don't know, I've never used acupressure to treat a swollen area and I'm not familiar with any scientific literature examining acupressure for the treatment of swollen areas. In my experience with pain management, acupressure does not even come close to the performance of acupuncture in terms of time to pain relief, total pain relief, and how long that pain relief lasts. As a result, acupressure is a technique I almost never use.

I am very familiar with using acupuncture and related modalities like moxibustion and bleeding to treat swelling. I've gotten very good results with swollen wrists, knees, and ankles using a combination of acupuncture, moxa and bleeding.

If you're experiencing swollen knees, especially if the swelling is accompanied by pain, I'd suggest using the "Find a Practitioner" link at NCCAOM.org to locate some local licensed providers.

Can acupuncture help you sleep?

Usually, yes, acupuncture can be a good choice for treating insomnia. In the Chinese medical model, there are a few different reasons why insomnia occurs and, to get the best READ MORE
Usually, yes, acupuncture can be a good choice for treating insomnia. In the Chinese medical model, there are a few different reasons why insomnia occurs and, to get the best results, you need to make sure you're seeing an acupuncture provider who can make that differentiation and provide the correct treatment.

To get a list of local providers, use the "Find a Practitioner" lookup at NCCAOM.org. This will ensure you're seeing a board certified and state licensed acupuncturist who will be in the best position to make sure you get the most out of treatment.

Where is the pressure point on your leg?

Pressure point for what? In Chinese medical theory there are 6 primary channels and 4 extraordinary vessels which run on the low limbs. The points on these channels can be used READ MORE
Pressure point for what? In Chinese medical theory there are 6 primary channels and 4 extraordinary vessels which run on the low limbs. The points on these channels can be used for things as widely varied as upper limb and shoulder pain, digestive issues, low energy, stress, groin pain, urinary problems, bowel issues, as well as local issues with the leg and foot.

What are the pressure points to relieve neck pain?

Acupuncture and the Chinese medical theory upon which acupuncture is based represent an individualized systems theory approach to diagnosing and treating health issues. That's READ MORE
Acupuncture and the Chinese medical theory upon which acupuncture is based represent an individualized systems theory approach to diagnosing and treating health issues. That's a long way of saying not everyone experiences neck pain for the same underlying reason. Different underlying reasons have different core treatments.

There isn't really a single set of points which can be applied across all issues of a particular type. The reason why neck pain is occurring for you is bound up in the treatment for that neck pain. On top of this, different practitioners will take different approaches to the problem. Some will needle locally in the neck, while other practitioners might not needle in your neck at all.

If you're experiencing neck pain and you want to try acupuncture or acupressure for relief, go to NCCAOM.org and use their "Find a Practitioner" lookup to get a list of providers local to you. Call a few folks on that list and see if you can find someone who specializes in pain management, then see if they offer any kind of a free or low cost consult.

Can acupuncture help weak legs?

A lot will depend on why you're experiencing weak legs. In certain cases, yes, acupuncture can be beneficial in this condition. There are a lot of reasons why a patient might READ MORE
A lot will depend on why you're experiencing weak legs. In certain cases, yes, acupuncture can be beneficial in this condition.

There are a lot of reasons why a patient might experience weakness in the low limbs. I can think of at least one reason, straight off the top of my head, that constitutes a neurological emergency and would require a surgical correction. If you haven't already, I'd strongly suggest starting with your primary care physician and get a referral for a neurological consult.

If the neurologist either can't figure out what's going on or doesn't see an issue that rises to the level of emergency surgery, then go to NCCAOM.org use their "Find a Practitioner" lookup and get a list of local board certified acupuncturists. Call the acupuncturists and see if you can find one that either specializes in neurological issues or has done work in the past with weak limbs.

Why can't I sleep after acupuncture?

Without knowing what you're being treated for and what kind of provider you're seeing for acupuncture, it's very difficult to answer this question. Generally acupuncture causes READ MORE
Without knowing what you're being treated for and what kind of provider you're seeing for acupuncture, it's very difficult to answer this question. Generally acupuncture causes some fatigue, so insomnia after a treatment would be unusual.

The first thing I'd recommend is: make sure you're seeing a nationally board certified and state licensed acupuncturist. This will be someone with an L.Ac. or R.Ac. credential issued by the state and either a Dipl Ac or Dipl OM national board certification. If your provider doesn't have one (preferably both) of these, then you're seeing someone who has not graduated from an accredited school of Chinese medicine.

The second thing I'd suggest is: talk to your provider about what you're experiencing. It's possible they've missed something during diagnosis and might not be applying a treatment that's optimal for your individual presentation. Your feedback might be the information they need to make a correction and get you on the right track.