expert type icon EXPERT

Jeff Rippey

Acupuncturist

I run a general practice acupuncture clinic in Kansas City, KS. 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 also integrate time cycles in to my point selection. 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.
3 years Experience
Jeff Rippey
  • Kansas City, KS
  • Colorado School of Traditional Chinese Medicine
  • Accepting new patients

I have arthritis, and I'm considering acupuncture. Will it help?

Acupuncture, performed by a board-certified and state licensed acupuncturist, will absolutely help with arthritic knee pain. Treating pain and arthritic pain is a core part of READ MORE
Acupuncture, performed by a board-certified and state licensed acupuncturist, will absolutely help with arthritic knee pain. Treating pain and arthritic pain is a core part of my practice. It's rare when I can't provide some level of pain relief. Most studies of acupuncture in pain management show excellent results which can persist as long as 12-15 months in some cases. Studies also show there is a dose-dependency in play - to a point, more visits are going to provide superior results. I generally tell people they should be noticing a difference in their pain levels somewhere around the 5th visit (assuming weekly treatments). After that we start increasing the interval between appointments until we find some maintenance interval that is sustainable. This maintenance interval is different for everyone - it's difficult to predict what it will look like for any given patient.

I'd suggest you start with NCCAOM (www.nccaom.org) and check out their 'Find a Practitioner' directory. This will give you a list of board-certified acupuncturists in your area.

Can acupuncture help treat an excessive sweating problem?

Possibly. One of the things acupuncture has been pretty consistently shown to affect is the parasympathetic nervous system. This is the "rest and digest" part of the nervous READ MORE
Possibly. One of the things acupuncture has been pretty consistently shown to affect is the parasympathetic nervous system. This is the "rest and digest" part of the nervous system and can affect things like digestion and excessive spontaneous sweating.

I'd suggest making an appointment with an NCCAOM national board certified acupuncturist.

Can acupuncture help with weight loss?

I've seen some studies showing acupuncture's effectiveness in weight loss and I've seen some studies showing acupuncture has little to no effect in weight loss. I'd suggest READ MORE
I've seen some studies showing acupuncture's effectiveness in weight loss and I've seen some studies showing acupuncture has little to no effect in weight loss.

I'd suggest three things:

1. Pay a visit to your primary care physician and have some blood work done. Specifically, you're interested in thyroid levels. The thyroid produces hormones that have a lot to do with metabolism. If your thyroid hormone levels are low, you're going to have a difficult time managing weight.

2. Try some different types of diet. My experience with weight loss patients is there is no one diet that is best for everyone. Each person is unique and different diets are going to be more effective for different people. Calorie in vs calorie out is a vast oversimplification and rarely works for folks who want sustained weight loss.

3. Find an NCCAOM national board certified acupuncturist in your area who works with weight loss patients and has a fairly good track record. You can find local practitioners by going to www.nccaom.org and using their "Find a Practitioner" tool.

Can acupuncture help with ulcer pain?

Yes, acupuncture can help with ulcer pain. There are a few human studies and several animal model studies showing pain reduction, regeneration or protection of the mucosal coat READ MORE
Yes, acupuncture can help with ulcer pain. There are a few human studies and several animal model studies showing pain reduction, regeneration or protection of the mucosal coat in the digestive system as well as ulcer prevention.

I've successfully helped many folks in reducing or eliminating their need for medications that manage stomach acid production. One thing to be aware of, especially with proton pump inhibitors like Prilosec or Nexium, is that there is often a couple week period in the beginning of acupuncture treatment when acid levels go up a bit before they drop. Some patients have a hard time making it over this "hump." For best results, make sure you see an NCCAOM board certified and state licensed acupuncturist.

Does acupuncture help in treating skin disorders?

Acupuncture can help with skin issues. In my experience, it takes several treatments, so she needs to be prepared to commit to at least 5 or 7 visits. For the best results, make READ MORE
Acupuncture can help with skin issues. In my experience, it takes several treatments, so she needs to be prepared to commit to at least 5 or 7 visits. For the best results, make sure she sees an NCCAOM board certified and state licensed acupuncturist.

Can acupuncture treat chronic fatigue syndrome?

Absolutely! I've treated several chronic fatigue sufferers with great success. This particular condition is one place where Chinese medicine can be much better than the conventional READ MORE
Absolutely! I've treated several chronic fatigue sufferers with great success. This particular condition is one place where Chinese medicine can be much better than the conventional approach. For the best results, make sure you see an NCCAOM board certified and state licensed acupuncturist.

Can acupuncture help with nausea?

Yes. Acupuncture has an excellent track record in the treatment of nausea. I'd also double-check with a gastroenterologist just to make sure there's nothing seriously wrong. Make READ MORE
Yes. Acupuncture has an excellent track record in the treatment of nausea. I'd also double-check with a gastroenterologist just to make sure there's nothing seriously wrong. Make sure your mother sees an NCCAOM board certified and state licensed acupuncturist.

How is arthritis treated with acupuncture?

Yes, acupuncture can definitely help with arthritis pain. Make sure your MD is aware you're trying acupuncture. Depending on your current medications, you may need to taper down READ MORE
Yes, acupuncture can definitely help with arthritis pain. Make sure your MD is aware you're trying acupuncture. Depending on your current medications, you may need to taper down slowly, and your doctor will help you do that safely. Also, for the best results, make sure you're seeing an NCCAOM board certified and state licensed acupuncturist.

Can acupuncture help in relieving my mother's depression?

Yes, acupuncture can definitely help with depression. Make sure she sees a board certified, state licensed acupuncturist.

Is acupuncture helpful in treating anemia?

This is a tricky one. Acupuncture can generally help with this type of issue. My concern in his case is: what's really going on? I'd suggest a couple of things: 1. Make an READ MORE
This is a tricky one. Acupuncture can generally help with this type of issue. My concern in his case is: what's really going on? I'd suggest a couple of things:

1. Make an appointment with your primary care physician and get some blood work done. Other than his iron levels, you're interested in red blood cell counts and size. You also want to check out his vitamin B12 levels - this vitamin helps the GI absorb iron and if he's low, then the fix is relatively easy.

2. Make an appointment to see a board certified, state licensed acupuncturist. You want someone who can make a diagnosis within the context of Chinese medicine and then apply acupuncture to remedy the situation.

Lately I've been experiencing a lot of fatigue. Can acupuncture help?

Acupuncture can have excellent results with fatigue. Just make sure you're seeing a board certified and state licensed acupuncturist.

Can insomnia be treated with acupuncture?

Acupuncture usually outperforms prescription sleep meds in terms of length and quality of sleep. Another benefit is you won't experience that "druggy" feeling in the morning some READ MORE
Acupuncture usually outperforms prescription sleep meds in terms of length and quality of sleep. Another benefit is you won't experience that "druggy" feeling in the morning some sleep aids can induce.

For the best results, make sure you're seeing a board certified and state licensed acupuncturist.

Does acupuncture help in treating depression?

Yes, acupuncture can definitely help with depression. Most studies show acupuncture is at least as effective as SSRI drugs (prozac, paxil, zoloft) without the negative side effects READ MORE
Yes, acupuncture can definitely help with depression. Most studies show acupuncture is at least as effective as SSRI drugs (prozac, paxil, zoloft) without the negative side effects these substances can often induce. Depression is probably the #2 issue I see in my practice and I usually get great results for my patients. Plan on several visits - it usually takes me somewhere between 5 and 7 - before things start really evening out.

For the best results, make sure you're seeing a board certified and state licensed acupuncturist.

Can acupuncture help in treating lower back pain?

Acupuncture is an excellent treatment for both low back pain and work stress.

Is acupuncture helpful in boosting fertility?

Yes, acupuncture has been shown to benefit fertility. Most of the studies have been done with in vitro fertilization and acupuncture being used as an adjunct. Fertility is not READ MORE
Yes, acupuncture has been shown to benefit fertility. Most of the studies have been done with in vitro fertilization and acupuncture being used as an adjunct. Fertility is not an area I typically work in, but I have several colleagues who've been very successful helping couples get pregnant.

If this is something you decide to pursue, make sure you have a conversation with potential acupuncturists and find someone who specializes in this field.

Why do I have so much gas and bloating?

Hard to say what the root cause of this might be without evaluating you in person. Acupuncture is typically a very good choice for helping to manage digestive complaints, so I'd READ MORE
Hard to say what the root cause of this might be without evaluating you in person. Acupuncture is typically a very good choice for helping to manage digestive complaints, so I'd suggest finding a board certified practitioner in your area.

Can acupuncture help me in managing stress?

Acupuncture is amazing when it comes to stress management. You should absolutely look in to seeing a board certified acupuncturist, they will be able to help.

My wife has no drive for sex. Will acupuncture be able to help at all?

Acupuncture might be able to help, it's hard to say without evaluating a patient in person. See if she's open to the idea and find a board certified acupuncturist in your area. READ MORE
Acupuncture might be able to help, it's hard to say without evaluating a patient in person. See if she's open to the idea and find a board certified acupuncturist in your area.

Is it safe for me to continue my acupuncture during pregnancy?

This is a tricky one. Generally speaking, acupuncture is safe in pregnancy. However, there are some points that are prohibited as they are classically thought to induce labor. So READ MORE
This is a tricky one. Generally speaking, acupuncture is safe in pregnancy. However, there are some points that are prohibited as they are classically thought to induce labor.

So long as you're seeing a board certified acupuncturist (someone who actually went to oriental medical school and carries an NCCAOM board certification versus a physical therapist or chiropractor), you should be fine. Just make sure your practitioner knows you are pregnant.

Is acupuncture a long-term treatment?

It depends on what is meant by "long-term" and "short-term". In almost all studies that examine the aspect of number of treatments we see acupuncture has a "dose dependency". READ MORE
It depends on what is meant by "long-term" and "short-term".

In almost all studies that examine the aspect of number of treatments we see acupuncture has a "dose dependency". Basically, to a point, more treatments usually yields a superior result in terms of patient outcome.

A lot depends on what we're treating and how long the patient has been experiencing the issue/condition. More chronic conditions are more deeply entrenched in the system and can require more treatments to resolve.

Hard numbers are hard to come by, but the human body has remarkable powers of compensation. Any given system has to break down by 50%, or more in many cases, before a patient will experience a symptom and seek treatment. To the extent possible, Chinese medicine is attempting to roll back this damage to relieve the symptom. It may have taken years to bring a patient to the point they're seeking treatment, this is usually not going to be undone in a single treatment.

A rough benchmark is: if you're not seeing any change in your condition after 3-5 treatments you should probably have a discussion with your provider about whether or not it's worthwhile to continue treatment. Most of us are pretty good about estimating the required number of treatments, so have that conversation up-front.