Jeff Rippey, Acupuncturist

Jeff Rippey

Acupuncturist

2440 W 47th Ave Kansas City KS, 66103

About

I am part of a general practice acupuncture clinic in Kansas City, KS. Most folks come to see me for either pain management or depression/anxiety but I treat the full range from allergy to auto-immune. I mainly focus on distal acupuncture techniques and I utilize fewer needles than most.

Education and Training

Colorado School of Traditional Chinese Medicine M.S. Acupuncture 2016

Board Certification

National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine

Provider Details

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Jeff Rippey
Jeff Rippey's Expert Contributions
  • Is tiredness normal after acupuncture?

    A lot depends on the person being treated, what they're being treated for, what acupuncture points were used, whether other modalities were used during treatment and, if other modalities were used, what other modalities were used (cupping, massage, scraping, bleeding, etc.). I'm a less is more type of practitioner: I use few needles with long retention times and not much else unless the patient's condition is fairly severe. I rarely get people who complain of fatigue post treatment, but it does happen. Usually when it occurs it's related to one of two things: 1. I missed something during my evaluation and choose points poorly. At that point, a patient who reports fatigue after a session is giving me extra diagnostic information that I can use to adjust my next treatment such that fatigue does not occur. In other words: assuming the provider is asking for feedback and the patient is providing information regarding previous sessions, this is an easy fix. 2. The patient came to the session fairly run down. This is also an easy fix: make sure you have a light snack either just before or just after your session. A final note on this subject: most studies of acupuncture fairly consistently show that it stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system. This is the "rest and digest" side of the autonomic nervous system and acts in opposition to the "fight or flight" sympathetic system (with which you may be more familiar). For so-called "type A" personalities who always feel like they need to be on the go (and hence are mostly in the "fight or flight" mode), increasing the activation of the "rest and digest" system can feel like they've walked off a cliff compared to their usual higher energy state. In the long run, continuous activation of the "fight or flight" system is a recipe for disaster - it can lead to adrenal fatigue and heightened stress states have been linked to a laundry list of chronic disease. All that is a complicated way of saying a little fatigue may be just what you need after an acupuncture session. If it happens to you, try to schedule your next session at the end of the day so you can go home and rest. READ MORE

  • I take blood thinners regularly. Is acupuncture dangerous for me?

    I've treated people taking blood thinners before and I know other practitioners of Chinese medicine that treat folks who are taking blood thinners. To be honest, a lot depends on what blood thinner(s) you're on and at what dose. The risk is an uncontrolled or extended bleed as a result of a poorly placed needle. Acupuncture needles are extremely fine and, generally speaking, the goal of insertion is to avoid internal structure. What we call 'acupuncture points' in the western world are actually small cavities or spaces between fascial layers. Usually there isn't much structure to speak of in these spots and a good acupuncturist isn't going to be hitting blood vessels. That being said, there are probably not many practitioners of Chinese medicine who are familiar with all the ins and outs of the various blood thinners on the market and how the dosing and possible combination of these drugs are going to affect any given patients' clotting ability. In this case, as much as I hate to say it, I'd err on the side of your doctor and suggest you should try something non-invasive like TaiJi, QiGong, yoga, meditation or mild exercise to manage your work stress. READ MORE

  • What does "Qi" mean in acupuncture?

    It's a good question, the problem is it's very difficult to answer. I have a 250'ish page book which attempts to define 'qi' in western terms. Some concepts simply do not translate well from Chinese and this is one of them. Let's step back for a minute and provide a little understanding of the landscape. Just like with the English language where we have old English, middle English and modern English, in Chinese we have old Chinese, middle Chinese and modern Chinese. Also similar to the English situation, no one outside of certain scholars reads or speaks ancient Chinese. This is compounded by the fact that written Chinese is not phonetic. In English, each letter represents a sound, the sounds together are a word and the word stands for an idea. In China, they cut out the middle man. Each symbol represents an idea - more similar to a hieroglyph - and that symbol has a pronunciation. The character we render in English as 'qi' is an ancient symbol that has changed over the years. There's no guarantee the idea it conjures to a modern reader is the same as the idea the ancients had when they coined the term. Also, it's a term that is used in lots of different places - its use is not solely limited to Chinese medicine. Lastly, it's a culturally loaded term - the Chinese know exactly what they mean when they use it and they don't really have to explain things to another Chinese reader/listener. Most western practitioners of Chinese medicine don't understand the culture and don't speak or understand the language (NOTE: this does not mean they cannot be effective practitioners, it just means they have a very difficult time explaining what they're doing). The ancient Chinese tended to describe natural processes in terms of metaphor - as being 'like' or 'similar' to some other thing they understood better. It's a technique many ancient peoples employed, in fact we still use many of those definitions today in conventional medicine. The word 'pelvis' comes from the latin for 'washbasin' - a reference, no doubt, to the general shape of the bone. The word 'acetabulum' (the hip socket where the thigh bone 'plugs in') also comes from latin and means 'small cup of vinegar'. Did the ancient Romans literally mean washbasin and cup of vinegar when referring to these structures? Probably not, it's a descriptive metaphor and the Chinese did the same thing - it's just that Chinese doesn't form part of the root for modern western languages and hence the concepts seem strange. Which is a long and winding way back around to 'qi' and what does it mean? In my opinion, there are two good analogies for qi: function or information. Organs in the body have a function and when that function is compromised in some way the Chinese modeled things in terms of excess and deficiency. We could have function excess giving rise to pathology - as in the case of hyperthyroidism. The thyroid is producing too much thyroid hormone which causes systemic problems. We can also have function deficiency giving rise to pathology - as in the case of hypothyroidism. In this case the thyroid is not producing enough thyroid hormone which causes a different set of systemic problems. Information is a useful analogy because in order to function properly, each tissue needs to know where it is, what it is and what it's supposed to be doing. If this information becomes scrambled, then the tissues cannot perform their function properly and, again, we see pathology. The important thing here is not the language, it's the result. If your practitioner is able to achieve good outcomes for your health issues, then I wouldn't be too concerned about the fact that they don't have a solid handle on Chinese linguistics. READ MORE

  • Where are the acupuncture points for fertility?

    Chinese medicine focuses on individualized treatments as opposed to conventional medicine where every condition has a protocol or short list of protocols for treatment. The points used by your practitioner will be related to two things: 1. The root cause for your issue - in this case fertility. There are a few reasons in Chinese medicine why you might experience difficulty conceiving and they'll have different treatments. 2. The kind of practitioner you're seeing. Generally speaking there are two different kinds of practitioners - those who use local needles and those who use distal needles. For a practitioner who uses local needles, you can expect to receive a few needles on the low abdomen (roughly in the area of the uterus). For practitioners who focus more on distal treatments, you can expect needles mostly in the arms and legs. Other than these rough guidelines, it's hard to say where your provider might choose to place needles. READ MORE

  • Chronic constipation. Should I go for acupuncture?

    Acupuncture can probably help with your issue and it's certainly worth a shot if you don't like the medication side-effects. Acupuncture stimulates the parasympathetic side of the autonomic nervous system. By way of a brief explanation: the autonomic nervous system is essentially in charge of those functions over which we do not typically exert conscious control. It has two divisions: the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system. These divisions can be thought of, more or less, as acting in opposition. The sympathetic system is also known as the "fight or flight" side. It functions to increase heart rate, breathing rate and it shifts blood flow away from internal organs to prepare us to either fight or run for our lives. The parasympathetic side is also known as the "rest and digest" side. It functions to decrease heart and breathing rate and it shifts blood flow to internal organs in order to help us digest food and assimilate nutrients. Modern life has a tendency to place us in unending "fight or flight" mode. Our jobs, daily commute and so on do not leave us much downtime. Society tells us we have to be go-go-going all the time which doesn't allow the parasympathetic to kick in. This creates a problem because the "fight or flight" side of the system is only meant to be engaged temporarily, not all the time. Our bodies are adapted to be spending most of their time in the "rest and digest" mode. And this is where acupuncture comes in. The needles strongly promote the parasympathetic ("rest and digest") system. This shifts blood flow towards the internal organs promoting digestion as well as the digestive muscle contractions which move food and waste through the system and out. A good practitioner of Chinese medicine will discuss both diet and lifestyle with you during your initial intake. It's highly likely they'll also suggest diet and lifestyle changes to help with your issue. You'll get the best results from treatment if you can incorporate some of these changes. For the best results, please make sure you're seeing an NCCAOM board certified acupuncturist. To find someone local, go to NCCAOM.org and click their "Find a Practitioner" link. READ MORE

  • Does acupuncture raise blood pressure?

    Yes, it's possible acupuncture increased your friend's blood pressure. Acupuncture has been shown to have homeostatic effects - in other words: if your friend's blood pressure was low, for whatever reason, acupuncture may have had the side-effect of bringing the pressure up. It's difficult to say much more than this because I don't know what your friend was being treated for, what the practitioner's assessment was, what acupuncture points were used or whether or not your friend saw a board certified acupuncturist. The last point is particularly important. Whether we believe it or not and whether we like it or not, acupuncture has systemic effects. Providers who are not fully trained in the system have no way to predict whether or not those effects might occur and, if they do, how to mitigate them. Unfortunately, at the moment, there are a lot of providers out there who are trying to cash in on acupuncture - they take a weekend seminar and then offer services. This isn't nearly enough training, especially when compared to the thousands of hours a board certified acupuncturist typically has. All that being said, I have two suggestions for your friend: 1. Make sure they're seeing an NCCAOM board certified acupuncturist. 2. Talk to their provider about what happened after the acupuncture session. Sometimes these events can be diagnostic and might provide that last clue the provider needs to be able to adjust the points used and get better results. READ MORE

  • Is it normal to feel lethargic after my session?

    Sometimes, yes, a patient will feel a little lethargy or low energy after an acupuncture session. For folks that report this issue I usually recommend having a small snack either right before or just after treatment. If having a little food around treatment time doesn't clear the issue up, have a conversation with your provider about what you're experiencing. Acupuncture treatment is often also diagnostic. It's important to provide feedback on your experience so your provider can make any adjustments that might be necessary. READ MORE

  • Is acupuncture a better alternative to opioids?

    This is one of the few cases where I can be relatively definite: yes, acupuncture would be a much better choice for managing your post-op pain. I'm surprised your surgeon/physician didn't recommend it. For the best results, please make sure you see an NCCAOM board certified acupuncturist. To find one close to you, go to NCCAOM.org and click their "Find a Practitioner" link. READ MORE

  • How often should I go for acupuncture?

    For pain and chronic pain patients, the interval between treatments is partly dependent on the level of pain the patient is experiencing. If we use the standard 0 to 10 pain score - where 0 is no pain and 10 is the worst possible pain a patient can imagine - my general rule of thumb is: I see patients who score 5 or less once a week until the pain is either resolved or consistently around 1-2, then we talk about maintenance. For patient scoring between 5 and 7 or so, I like to get them in twice a week for two to three weeks. This lets us get the pain knocked down to below 5 and then we can back off to weekly until we're at a place where, again, we can start thinking about maintenance intervals. For pain levels over 7, I try to get patients to come in three days in a row for two to three weeks. After this we evaluate the overall pain levels and decide if we can go to two days a week for a week or two or if the patient is ready to go to weekly treatments. Studies of acupuncture in chronic pain almost always show a dose dependency. This means, to a point, more acupuncture sessions provide superior results. Of course, we have to balance this against the individual patient's financial situation/tolerances. But, in general, if your pain is severe, once a month probably isn't going to get you where you want to be. You may be able to return to a once a month schedule after an intensive set of sessions brings your pain under control. This is the other big advantage to acupuncture: it's a front loaded process, but saves money in the long run - once we get things under control and start spreading treatments out to find the optimal maintenance interval for a given individual. For the best results, you need to make sure you're seeing an NCCAOM board certified acupuncturist. To find one near you, go to NCCAOM.org and click their "Find a Practitioner" link. If your pain is fairly severe, probably best if you can find someone who specializes in pain management READ MORE

  • What can acupuncture do for the muscles?

    Yes, acupuncture works very well for spasm/cramping/restlessness. What, exactly, acupuncture is doing for these conditions is still somewhat an open question. We know acupuncture regulates a set of neurotransmitters at the level of the brain and spinal cord. We know that acupuncture is affecting brain structure and how sensory signals are processed in the brain. Acupuncture can also be used to release tight muscle through the use of trigger points. Any or all of these could be playing a role in symptom relief. For the best results, please make sure you see an NCCAOM board certified acupuncturist. To find someone in your area, go to the "Find a Practitioner" link at NCCAOM.org. READ MORE

  • Can my rash be from acupuncture?

    Yes, it could be a reaction to the treatment itself. A person can, technically, be allergic to anything. If there was something on your skin, something on the needle or you're allergic to the stainless steel most needles are made of, then you could easily experience a reaction. It's difficult to provide a course of action for you for a couple of reasons: 1. I don't know what you were being treated for, what points were used or what brand needle your provider was utilizing. 2. If it was an allergic reaction, it may escalate to a more serious condition called anaphylaxis with repeated exposure to the allergen. In other words: you want to pin down the cause of the reaction before you try another round of acupuncture. To be 100% on the safe side, I'd suggest you find an allergist and have some allergy testing done. If you can, you're going to want to rule in/out steel or stainless steel - and I have no idea if this is even in the scope of most allergy testing. You also may want to try to rule in/rule out silicone (for reasons explained below). Another important thing to note here is: Seirin brand needles, which many acupuncturists use, contain a small drop of medical grade silicone at the tip. If your provider is using Seirin needles, it's very possible that your reaction was to the silicone rather than the needle itself. If this is the case, then switching to another brand of needle should resolve the issue. Whatever you decide, make sure you talk to your acupuncture provider about what happened. READ MORE

  • How many points are there in acupuncture?

    Interesting question. Let's address a linguistic issue first. The Chinese character we render in English as 'acupuncture point' is "xue". This doesn't meant 'point' per se, it actually has more the sense of 'depression' or 'cavity'. So 'point' is something of a misnomer - even though I'm going to use 'point' myself in the explanation that follows; it has become somewhat of a standard in English speaking countries. The second thing we need to address is the western idea of acupuncture as a monolithic system. There are actually multiple systems of acupuncture which have slightly different needling locations. Some of these recognized locations overlap and some locations are unique to a given system. We also have so-called micro-systems, the most common being auricular acupuncture and Korean hand acupuncture. These systems map the entire body or parts of the body on to smaller areas like the ear or hand, and have an entire set of corresponding acupuncture points in these smaller spaces. And finally we have so-called 'extra points'. These are locations with classically recognized function which often aren't located along any particular acupuncture channel. All of the above makes it extremely difficult to pin down a concrete number of recognized needling locations. If we consider the classical channels (the channels most often taught in Chinese medical school) and the commonly accepted needle locations on those, we get roughly 362 points. Adding in the commonly taught 'extra points' gives roughly another 23 for a grand total of 385. Lastly, the placement of needles does not 'fully depend' on recognized acupuncture points. There is a long tradition in Chinese medicine of 'ahshi' or 'ashi' points. These are locations on the body which do not necessarily correspond to a channel or a recognized needling location but which are sensitive to palpation (i.e. the location causes pain when pressed). READ MORE

  • Are acupuncture needles reused?

    It would be very unusual for an acupuncturist in the US to re-use needles. The vast majority of us utilize single-use disposable needles; they're used one time on one patient and then thrown away in to an appropriate sharps container which is then treated as biomedical waste. If you have any questions at all, talk with your provider before your treatment session. No provider should take a question like this personally - I've fielded this one before for my patients and it's part of my acupuncture informed consent form. READ MORE

  • Is an achy feeling normal in acupuncture?

    I'm a little unclear as to what you mean by 'achy feeling'. Did you have a generalized achy feeling in the body or was it more of an achy feeling around one or more of the needles? If it was an achy feeling around one or more of the needles, yes, that's totally normal. Your acupuncturist should have given you some guidelines as to what normal and abnormal needle sensations might feel like so that you could gauge what was going on. There are several sensations a patient might experience during acupuncture: a dull ache around the needle site, a distending feeling around the needle (like someone is blowing a balloon up under the skin), a short lived electrical sensation that propagates up or down the limb/body - these are all normal needle sensations. After insertion, any needle that feels sharp or stabbing is not normal and should be addressed by the practitioner through repositioning or removal. Now, if we're talking about a more generalized body ache after the needles were all in, that could be a different thing. Most of the time, we want the patients to have a mild sensation around one or more of the needles, but we also want you to be able to relax while you're resting with the needles in. A generalized body ache could be indicative of a few different things. Without seeing you and evaluating your presentation against the treatment provided it's difficult to speculate what might have happened. My best suggestion would be for you to have a conversation with your provider and see what they think. It may be that they need to modify the points they're choosing and your feedback might give them the pieces of information they need to correct their diagnosis and make sure this doesn't happen again. READ MORE

  • Do you recommend acupuncture for neuropathy?

    Acupuncture is an excellent choice for managing all sorts of pain, including neuropathy and diabetic neuropathy. I've done quite a bit of work with both kinds of neuropathy patients and usually get excellent results. It might take 3 to 5 treatments to bring things under control, so be prepared to commit to a few sessions. For the best results, please make sure you're seeing an NCCAOM board certified acupuncturist. If your doctor hasn't already recommended someone, you can visit the "Find a Practitioner" link at NCCAOM.org to get a practitioner local to you. READ MORE

  • When should I get acupuncture treatment for fertility?

    First, I'd suggest you both visit your primary care MD and make sure there are no physiological issues in play like low sperm count, poor sperm quality, blocked fallopian tubes, etc. Once this is out of the way, you're in a much better position to decide how you'd like to proceed. Whether there are underlying issues or not, acupuncture and Chinese medicine have a pretty good track record when it comes to fertility. It's best if you both receive treatment, unless you're fairly sure that one or the other of you has some underlying issue - which is why I opened with the suggestion to see your MD. There really isn't a "best time". If you're experiencing menstrual issues as well (pain, cramping, and so on), it's can be a good idea to start treatment just after your period. This will give you three to four sessions before your next period, and provide a way you can judge if the treatments are changing anything. Unfortunately, for women, sometimes it takes a cycle or two for the body to catch up with the acupuncture. For the best results, please make sure you're seeing an NCCAOM board certified acupuncturist. You can find someone local to you by visiting the "Find a Practitioner" section at NCCAOM.org. There are acupuncturists who specialize in fertility treatments, so you might ask your ob/gyn or call around and see if there's a fertility specialist near you. READ MORE

  • Why is acupuncture recommended for cardiovascular disease?

    First off, I'm glad to hear your doctor is making this recommendation. Acupuncture has beneficial effect in a wide variety of health conditions beyond just pain management. Cardiovascular disease is a tricky one to explain because there are so many facets that could be discussed; from high blood pressure to arterial plaques to angina and so on. Acupuncture's effects in each case are probably due to different mechanisms, some of which are not well understood currently. Acupuncture has pretty consistently shown that it promotes the parasympathetic side of the autonomic nervous system. The parasympathetic is the so-called "rest and digest" mode (as opposed to the "fight or flight" or sympathetic side). This gives us a level of stress reduction along with dilating the blood vessels. A larger pipe leads to reduced pressure and this is one of the ways acupuncture reduces high blood pressure. Acupuncture has also been shown to increase blood levels of nitric oxide (NO). This is a fairly potent vasodilator (again, larger pipe) and can also lead to decreased blood pressure as well as decreased angina (chest pain). There are studies showing acupuncture can exert a cardio-protective effect. The mechanism here isn't clear, but we see lowered levels of cardiac enzymes in patients treated with acupuncture prior to heart surgery. Cardiac enzymes in the blood is one of the ways we know the heart has been damaged. Typically in heart surgery we expect to see a lot of cardiac enzymes in the blood after the procedure. For some reason, with acupuncture prior to the operation, we don't see a lot of cardiac enzymes in the blood so acupuncture might be doing something to protect the heart cells. Acupuncture can also be used to help regulate irregular heart beat (arrhythmia). Some studies show acupuncture having similar effect to pharmaceuticals in this regard. Again, the mechanism isn't clear. Since it has come up a couple times here, there are a lot of cases, in both Chinese and conventional medicine, where the mechanism of action isn't clear. In fact, there are a lot of FDA approved drugs on the market whose mechanism of action either isn't known at all or isn't fully understood. We make decisions based on efficacy and safety - does it do what it claims and are there any serious side-effects? In acupuncture's case the answer is typically, yes, it does what it claims and no, there generally aren't any serious side-effects. So, just because we don't understand how it works, sometimes it's enough to know that it does work and it works safely. All of which brings me to my final point: to get the best and safest result, you need to make sure you're seeing an NCCAOM board certified acupuncturist. If your doctor doesn't have a few acupuncturists that he/she recommends, go to NCCAOM.org and use their "Find a Practitioner" link to locate someone local to you. READ MORE

  • How long does an acupuncture last usually?

    How long a session lasts depends on whether it's an initial intake, followup treatment or community acupuncture session. I'm just going to give you some generalities here, whatever provider you're seeing may be slightly different. That being said, an initial intake usually runs 90 minutes and will include treatment time (i.e. time on the table with needles inserted to treat whatever your complaint may be). A followup treatment usually runs 60 minutes with a few questions up front to determine how the previous treatment worked and what has changed for you followed by treatment time. A community session typically runs 20-30 minutes after a very short set of questions/diagnoses. Different practitioners may vary from these times slightly, but what I've outlined above is fairly typical. READ MORE

  • How many sessions are needed for weight loss?

    How many treatments is this going to take? - is a common question practitioners of Chinese medicine often receive. The answer can vary depending on what is being treated, how long that condition has been present, how well any given patient adopts diet/lifestyle suggestions and, to be honest, how skilled/experienced the practitioner happens to be. It sounds like you've already taken the first big step by addressing your diet. Assuming no underlying health/metabolic issues, I'd think something in the range of 7-10 acupuncture treatments spaced at one treatment per week would probably assist in getting you where you want to be weight wise. For the best results, make sure you're seeing an NCCAOM board certified acupuncturist. To find someone local to you, go to NCCAOM.org and click the "Find a Practitioner" link. READ MORE

  • If there are any complications of acupuncture, what are they?

    Great question, there are potential risks and complications to receiving acupuncture treatment. Whoever is providing this service to you should have spelled everything out and, ideally, had you sign an acupuncture informed consent form that lays everything out in writing. With that statement out of the way, generally speaking acupuncture is very safe. In increasing order of severity (and decreasing order of probability), here's what could possibly go wrong: 1. Local bruising/itching at the needle site. Itch is probably the most common adverse event and usually resolves in an hour or two. Bruising is probably the second most common and usually resolves in a couple of days. 2. Sharp pain around the needle site. Typically this means we're a little close to a nerve or capillary bed. Often times, repositioning the needle will make this pain go away. It's important to provide feedback to your provider (and important for providers to solicit this feedback). If you experience sharp pain on needle insertion that does not go away after a couple seconds, tell your acupuncturist and have them either move or remove that needle. 3. Sharp pain that does not subside when the needle is repositioned or removed. This is a little more serious and may mean the needle has nicked a larger nerve. Sometimes this can take a couple days to clear up. 4. Organ puncture, including tension pneumothorax. Organ puncture only occurs when needling over the abdomen (front or back). Pneumothorax only occurs when needling over the lungs (front or back). Of the two, pneumothorax is the more serious. Basically what has happened is the needle was pushed too deep and invaded the pleural/lung space allowing air from the outside to get in. This is a potentially life-threatening condition and requires immediate ER attention. Symptoms of a pneumothorax are: chest pain/tightness, painful cough, shortness of breath. If you experience any of these symptoms after receiving acupuncture over the chest or at the top part of the shoulder, go directly to the ER. There is a 5th issue which very, very rarely pops up and that is infection. Almost all US acupuncturists use single-use disposable needles. This mean the needle is used once and then thrown away, reducing the possibility of cross-contamination between patients. Additionally, NCCAOM board certified acupuncturists are required to obtain a Clean Needle Technique (CNT) certification prior to receiving their board certification and state licensure. CNT spells out all the requirements for maintaining a clean space for the practice of acupuncture. Receiving this certification consists of being trained in school, attending a seminar, taking a written test and then taking a practical exam where an exam proctor looks over your shoulder while you're inserting and removing needles to ensure you're doing so in a safe and clean manner. Since the implementation of these guidelines and certifications, there have been very few instances of infection due to cross-contamination. In my experience, the first adverse event happens quite a lot. Itch is probably the single biggest piece of feedback I receive from patients after a treatment. The second event happens a fair amount, but getting feedback and repositioning or removing needles takes care of the problem and I've never had someone not schedule or re-schedule with me because the needles were too painful. I've never had the 3rd, 4th or 5th adverse events occur while providing a treatment. To be honest, I've never heard of a board certified acupuncturist causing the 3rd or 4th issue. The only acupuncture cross-contamination case I'm familiar with comes from Canada in the 1980's. Which brings me to my last point. Throughout this answer I've referenced NCCAOM board certified acupuncturists. These are folks who attended at least 3 years of Chinese medical school, sat for multiple board exams, acquired CNT certification and are state licensed as providers of Chinese medicine. Unfortunately, these aren't the only folks who offer treatment using solid acupuncture needles. There are other providers in the system who offer acupuncture-like services with a fraction the training and, in my opinion, you are rolling the dice with these providers. To find an NCCAOM board certified acupuncturist close to you, go to NCCAOM.org and use their "Find a Practitioner" look up. Making sure your provider carries an NCCAOM board certification, CNT certification and state practice license will greatly minimize the probability you'll experience a serious adverse event. READ MORE

  • How can acupuncture treat addiction?

    First off, there are very few therapies of any sort that will help him quit smoking if he's not ready to quit smoking. In other words: there aren't really any treatments which will force him to do something he otherwise doesn't want to do. That being said, what acupuncture does is help manage cravings. Typically when treating addictions we use a set of 5 needles in the ear. These needles appear to be stimulating the GABA system in the brain. This system is responsible for chilling things out in the central nervous system which is why it can be effective for helping people quit addictive substances. If this is a route you decide to try, in order to get the best possible result you will want to take him to either an NCCAOM board certified acupuncturist. To find someone local to you, check out the "Find a Practitioner" link at NCCAOM.org. Or you can find an Auricular Detox Specialist near you by contacting the folks at acudetox.com (info@acudetox.com). READ MORE

  • Can more than one condition be treated in an acupuncture session?

    Different acupuncturists practice in different ways and use different systems of acupuncture, so I can't really speak for everyone. What I can say is: in my clinic if back and shoulder pain along with hand/finger pain due to arthritis were your chief complaints, then I'd find a way to treat both in the same session. Short version: yes, both your issues could be treated at the same time. READ MORE

  • Is acupuncture safe during the first trimester?

    Generally speaking, acupuncture is safe throughout pregnancy. We have techniques for helping women get pregnant, manage pain and other issues during pregnancy, we even have techniques for helping to turn breech presentation at the end of pregnancy. There are a few acupuncture points which are classically contraindicated in pregnancy, but any well trained, NCCAOM board certified acupuncturist will be very familiar with points to avoid. To find a board certified acupuncturist near you, go to the "Find a Practitioner" link at NCCAOM.org. READ MORE

  • Why is acupuncture suggested for fertility?

    A lot of folks: acupuncturists, MDs, other researchers and so on are starting to come to the idea that acupuncture should probably be recommended for everyone. The focus of Chinese medicine is more towards prevention, which is something we talk a lot about in the west, but never make any substantive movement towards. Why should a woman use acupuncture if she's trying to get pregnant? It's a good question, particularly if the woman and her partner have no other fertility issues. I'm going to take a stab at answering the question, hopefully without resorting to any 'woowoo' terminology, we may just have to wander around the barn a bit to get there. In recent years, we've started to realize that stress may be sitting at the root of a lot of modern disease conditions. In the west we have a very high stress 24x7 lifestyle where people are working a lot, spending a lot of time indoors, spending a lot of time sitting, spending a lot of time in front of a screen (computer, TV, tablet, phone). We have long commutes in heavy traffic. We have poor diets. We have a lot of exposure to environmental toxins. We get little exercise. None of this is particularly healthy, no matter how we attempt to rationalize it. This stress activates our 'fight or flight' mode which is the sympathetic side of the autonomic nervous system. Activation of the sympathetic system leads to increased cortisol levels, higher incidence of high blood pressure, more headache/migraine, more digestive complaints, reduced immunity and a host of other potential effects. Why this all happens is a relatively simple function of how the sympathetic nervous system is designed to work. It's just that our bodies were never intended to be in this mode all the time. Acting in opposition to the sympathetic system is the parasympathetic side of the autonomic nervous system. The parasympathetic system is the so-called 'rest and digest' mode. Here, the body relaxes, blood is diverted to the internal organs for nourishment, blood pressure drops, muscle tension is released. This is where our bodies were designed to spend most of their time. Enter acupuncture. One of the things most acupuncture studies consistently show is acupuncture's ability to promote the parasympathetic 'rest and digest' mode over the sympathetic 'fight or flight' mode. In other words, acupuncture encourages your body to enter a state where better nourishment is going to be derived from your food and that nourishment is going to be better distributed to your internal organs. From the perspective of fertility, being able to maintain a healthy balance between sympathetic and parasympathetic can sometimes make the difference between getting pregnant and not. We've all heard stories of the couple who are trying and trying and trying to get pregnant. Eventually, they tire of the grind and decide to just chill out for a few months before trying again and bam, pregnant. Stress can have a tremendous effect on our overall health, probably more than we think and in more ways than we currently recognize. Anything that helps to manage stress can increase fertility. And, of course, if a woman is in the unfortunate position where she's having to consider IVF or other fertility treatments, acupuncture has a really strong track record with plenty of studies currently available showing efficacy. To get the most out of any acupuncture treatment, please make sure you're seeing an NCCAOM board certified acupuncturist. You can start with the "Find a Practitioner" directory at NCCAOM.org to find someone local to you. If you're just looking for stress relief and have no underlying fertility issues, any acupuncturist will do the trick. If you have some sort of fertility issue, you will want to find an acupuncturist who specializes in this area. READ MORE

  • How is acupuncture an alternative treatment in dentistry?

    I treat folks for dental pain all the time. If you haven't already, I'd strongly suggest having a dentist take a look. You may be dealing with a cracked tooth or a cavity in which case, you're eventually going to need to have work done. Acupuncture can definitely help manage any pain/discomfort in the meantime. If you have dental anxiety, acupuncture can also help. If this is the case, I'd suggest scheduling an acupuncture appointment either the same day (ideal) or 24 hours prior to your dental appointment. Explaining how it works is a little more complicated. From the perspective of biochemistry, acupuncture appears to be affecting a set of neurotransmitters which have a lot to do with the transmission of pain signals in the brain and spinal cord. There is also evidence that acupuncture is changing the way the pre-frontal cortex in the brain processes pain signals coming from the body. Generally, for tooth/mouth pain, I'll use points on the hands and feet. For the best results, please make sure you're seeing an NCCAOM board certified acupuncturist. You can go to the "Find a Practitioner" page at NCCAOM.org to get a list of folks local to you. READ MORE

  • How can acupuncture improve blood circulation?

    Acupuncture can help improve circulation as well as help moderate blood pressure (either too high or too low). Studies involving acupuncture have pretty consistently shown that it is, at least in part, stimulating the parasympathetic part of the autonomic nervous system. This is part of the nervous system that acts in opposition to the "fight or flight" side. There are a lot of potential effects which can result from activating the parasympathetic system and one of them has to do with relaxing blood vessels. This allows blood to flow more freely contributing to increased circulation. If you decide to try acupuncture, please make sure you're seeing an NCCAOM board certified acupuncturist. You can start with the "Find a Practitioner" link at NCCAOM.org to find someone local to you. READ MORE

  • Should I go for dry needling or acupuncture?

    This is a very complicated issue/question and in the interest of full disclosure, I'm an extremely biased source when it comes to the subject of dry needling. Are there people out there who provide dry needling services who are quite good at what they do? Certainly. The problem is: there are no national certifying agencies, no course curriculum guidelines, very few hours of training required and no required continuing education. In essence, there's no quality control and, in my opinion, you're rolling the dice when you allow someone to treat you using solid needles who doesn't carry some sort of nationally recognized board certification. The American Medical Association's position is: dry needling is acupuncture and those providers who offer the service need to have substantially similar training, certification and continuing education requirements as acupuncturists. As I noted above, usually they do not have these qualifications. Generally speaking, dry needling is targeting so-called "trigger points". The thing about trigger points is: they have a very narrow set of diagnostic criteria. A trigger point is defined as a point of highest tension in a muscle that, when pressed, creates a radiating pain pattern characteristic of that location on that muscle. If it doesn't fit that definition, even if the point is tender, it's not a trigger point and may or may not benefit from having a needle stuck in it. Most folks offering dry needling are flexing the definition somewhat and will simply needle any point that is painful when pressed, regardless of whether the pain radiates in a characteristic way. The other issue is: your back pain may or may not be related to muscular issues/trigger points. If your back pain is trigger point related, then this type of treatment can sometimes help. If your back pain is not trigger point related, then this type of treatment is usually a waste of your time and money. An acupuncturist who specializes in musculoskeletal treatments/pain management can locate and treat using trigger points (if they are part of the problem) and they can also address other, non trigger point, issues which may be causing your discomfort/pain. Generally an acupuncturist is going to have much more experience using needles to address problems like this, your experience will be more comfortable (dry needling tends to be very painful) and you're less likely to be injured by the needling process. Back treatment can be tricky, especially if needles are required over the lung/chest cavity. There is a risk of tension pneumothorax due to a needle penetrating the pleural cavity. This is extremely painful and can be life-threatening. It can happen to anyone who is using needles over the chest, but it tends to happen more often with providers who have sub-standard training and then attempt to dry needle. The question you have to ask yourself is: do I want someone who qualified for, took and passed a set of nationally recognized board exams after taking thousands of hours of class work and having several hundred supervised treatment hours under their belt treating me OR do I want someone who took a weekend seminar, maybe inserted a handful needles under supervision and has no national qualification to perform the procedure in question? You could also think about it like this: if you found out you had a brain tumor would you let your kids' pediatrician operate on it just because they had an interest in neurosurgery or would you try to find a board certified neurosurgeon to do the work? Ultimately it's the same question. Do I want a board certified specialist or am I willing to roll the dice with just any old provider? I suggest starting with the "Find a Practitioner" page at NCCAOM.org. Get a list of credentialed acupuncturists in your area and call around to see if you can find someone who specializes either in pain management or musculoskeletal acupuncture. In my opinion this will give you the best possible result and the safest, most comfortable treatment experience. READ MORE

  • Does a daith piercing help with migraines?

    I had a patient ask me about these once before, so I've done a little research already. Here's what I know: sometimes daith piercings work and sometimes they don't. Often folks will think that the reason the piercing works to relieve migraines is because of auricular acupuncture and how the body maps on to the ear for this particular modality. I've compared the daith location to common auricular acupuncture systems and I can't see any reason, from a pure acupuncture/Chinese medicine perspective, for why it would work. In other words: there's nothing about the location of a daith piercing that would compel me to use it via acupuncture to treat migraine. Other acupuncturists have made the same comparison and arrived at a similar opinion. That being said, I've spoken to people who've gotten a daith piercing and it has made a difference for them. The body is a very complicated landscape and no one has the last word on how everything goes together. Here's what I'd do if I were you: if you haven't tried it already, give regular acupuncture a shot. I typically get excellent results for headache, including migraine, with needles in the body. If you give acupuncture 4 or 5 treatments and you're not responding (either a decrease in migraine occurrence or a decrease in migraine pain levels), then you can always give the daith a go. If you decide to try acupuncture, for the best results you need to make sure you're seeing an NCCAOM board certified acupuncturist. Start with the "Find a Practitioner" page at NCCAOM.org to find some folks local to you. READ MORE

  • Can acupuncture aid in autoimmune diseases?

    Acupuncture can be an excellent treatment choice for dealing with pain (of any type) and fatigue. It also partners well with conventional pharmaceuticals because we're not adding any substances to the body and thus there is a very low risk for adverse event due to interactions. Acupuncture can also, sometimes, help to regulate an out of control immune response which can lead to a reduction in symptoms overall. For best results, you want to make sure you're seeing an NCCAOM nationally board certified acupuncturist. You can start with the "Find a Practitioner" page at NCCAOM.org to find someone local to you. READ MORE

  • How does acupuncture help boost the immune system?

    There are several studies out showing acupuncture's effectiveness in helping against cold and flu. What seems to be happening is: acupuncture is increasing T-cell count. T-cells are immune cells produced in the thymus which target and destroy bacterial and viral invaders. How acupuncture does this is still an open question. Whenever we consider acupuncture and Chinese medicine we have to remember this system is using a slightly different way of thinking about the human body and how it works. Reductionism does not play the same role in Chinese medical and scientific thought as it does in the west. Acupuncturists are looking at things more whole-istically; rather than focusing on one organ which may have a problem, we're looking at relationships between systems. At the same time, unless we want to take the position "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" was a documentary, we must recognize that the ancient peoples who left us this system were looking at the same human bodies and the same disease processes we look at today. They were simply describing things using the best language they had available. Unfortunately, that language was ancient Chinese - which no one today outside of scholars of ancient China can really read and which does not translate well in to English. This poor translation combines with a poor cultural understanding and gives rise to the quasi-mystical approach many western acupuncturists tend to adopt. In reality, the history of Chinese medicine, from very ancient times to present, is about replacing superstition and mysticism with something we today would call more "evidence based". READ MORE

  • When is acupuncture not recommended?

    Great question, I've been getting this one a lot recently in personal conversations. There are, in my opinion, 4 times when acupuncture is not a suitable treatment: 1. A patient has a life-threatening, acute infection - either bacterial or viral. In this case they are far better served with antibiotics/hospitalization. 2. A patient has experienced severe, life-threatening trauma - like a car accident or gunshot wound. Conventional medicine excels at the preservation of life in the face of catastrophic damage. 3. A patient has cancer. Chinese medicine can help a person in this condition better tolerate chemotherapy, but it's unlikely that Chinese medicine alone is going to resolve the issue. 4. A patient has joint pain whose cause is severe degradation of the joint itself. In this case, essentially, the joint has degraded to the point that every provider a person consults is telling them they need to consider joint replacement/fusion. In this case acupuncture can help to manage the pain, but it's unlikely to restore the joint to proper function. Acupuncture's great, and under-utilized in my opinion, strength lies in the fact that it integrates very well with conventional treatments. There are usually no substances involved, the needles are solid (we aren't injecting anything) so there's very little concern of creating an adverse event via interaction with pharmaceuticals. Even though Chinese medicine isn't a good choice for dealing with the 4 issues I've described above, it can play a role in after-care in all cases. READ MORE

  • Can acupuncture cure hypertension?

    Acupuncture can work quite well for hypertension. If you're taking any prescription medication to help manage your blood pressure, make sure your doctor is aware you are going to try acupuncture. When acupuncture starts to bring your blood pressure down, you're going to need your physician to alter the dose of your medication. Otherwise you run the risk of ending up with blood pressure that's too low. Please make sure you're seeing an NCCAOM nationally board certified and state licensed acupuncturist. If you need to find someone with these credentials local to you, start with the "Find a Practitioner" page at NCCAOM.org. READ MORE

  • Should I get acupuncture for my fibromyalgia?

    Acupuncture is generally an excellent choice for dealing with the pain of fibromyalgia. I've worked with several fibromyalgia patients and usually get good results for them. How acupuncture works in this condition is still, largely, an open question. We know acupuncture is regulating several neurotransmitters in the spinal cord and brain which have to do with pain sensation. Acupuncture also appears to be changing parts of the brain's pre-frontal cortex. This brain area has a lot to do with how pain information is processed. For the best results you're going to need to do two things: 1. Make sure you're seeing an NCCAOM board certified acupuncturist. You can start with the "Find a Practitioner" page at NCCAOM.org to find someone local. 2. Acupuncture is a dose-dependent front-loaded process. This means you're going to need to commit to several (probably 3-5) treatments up front. Usually we space these a week apart, but if your pain is severe your acupuncturist may suggest more frequently to start. READ MORE

  • I have numbness after my acupuncture session. What should I do?

    I'm so sorry this happened to you. I'm going to make a couple of suggestions: 1. Follow up with the initial provider. Let them know what you're experiencing and see what they think. 2. Make an appointment with your primary care doctor and get a neurologist referral (or make an appointment with a neurologist). I suspect a nerve in your forearm was either damaged or irritated during this process. How long it might take to heal is going to be a tricky thing to figure out without a lot more information. Please make sure you're seeing an NCCAOM board certified and state licensed acupuncturist when receiving acupuncture treatments. There are a lot of people out there right now who are trying to cash in on acupuncture's popularity and they're not necessarily well trained. READ MORE

  • Can acupuncture help with the cold?

    Yes, there are several studies out recently showing acupuncture alone or acupuncture in combination with other medications can effectively relieve the symptoms of both cold and flu - particularly fever. I've personally achieved excellent results for people who were just in the beginning stages of cold/flu - either heading things off entirely or reducing the total time of the disease. The trick is: you want to receive treatment as early as possible - either right at onset or just after. For best results, make sure your provider is nationally board certified through the NCCAOM. I'd suggest starting with the "Find a Practitioner" page at NCCAOM.org to find someone local to you, READ MORE

  • How often should I get acupuncture?

    If every three months is working for you, I wouldn't change anything. Generally, acupuncture is a front-loaded treatment. We see a patient fairly often initially (often weekly or more) and then start spreading the appointments out until we hit some maintenance schedule that works well for whatever health issue we're addressing. READ MORE

  • How can acupuncture reduce my mental stress?

    Acupuncture can work very well in stress management, it's a big part of my practice. Acupuncture studies have pretty consistently shown that it activates the parasympathetic side of the autonomic nervous system. This is the so-called "rest and digest" part of the equation. This activation goes a long way to helping people relax and better manage the more stressful parts of their lives. READ MORE

  • Can acupuncture help in treating my enlarged uterus?

    Maybe, a lot depends on why this is occurring. If you haven't already, I'd suggest starting with your ob/gyn and get some testing done to make sure there aren't any serious hormonal or cancer-related concerns. If the ob/gyn can't find any problems, then Chinese medicine and acupuncture can be an excellent choice. For a case like this, it's fairly critical that you see a practitioner who can make an accurate diagnosis inside the Chinese system and for that you need to see an NCCAOM board certified person. I'd start with the "Find a Practitioner" page on NCCAOM.org and get a list of practitioners who are local to you. Then, start calling around and see if there's anyone who specializes in gynecological issues or has dealt with this particular problem before. Any acupuncturist can probably help, but someone who specializes in this field will probably get results for you more quickly. READ MORE

  • How should I prepare for my acupuncture session?

    No, not really. Some practitioners will ask you not to eat anything or scrape your tongue for a few hours prior to an appointment, but most of us can work around this aspect of diagnosis. Acupuncturists often use points around the elbows and knees, so it's helpful if you're wearing loose clothing so we can access these areas. READ MORE

  • My son has awful shoulder pain. How can I help him?

    Acupuncture and Chinese medicine can often provide relief in these types of situation - we use a different diagnostic model and can often figure out what's going on when conventional medicine cannot find a concrete issue. I have done a bit of work with younger athletes (in your son's age range) and often get excellent results. I'd suggest starting with the "Find a Practitioner" page at NCCAOM.org. Find some acupuncturists local to you and see if they offer a free initial consult. You're looking for someone both you and your son feel comfortable with. Depending on your son's feelings about acupuncture, you might also try to find someone who can treat with fewer needles. READ MORE

  • How can acupuncture help my lower back pain?

    Acupuncture usually works quite well for any kind of pain, including low back pain. What, exactly, is going on when a needle is inserted is still a somewhat open question. Some of the best studies of acupuncture in pain conditions show that the needles might be doing a couple things: 1. Regulating a set of neurotransmitters in the brain and spinal cord which have a lot to do with transmission of sensory signals, including pain signals. In essence, acupuncture is changing the way pain signals propagate through the central nervous system. 2. Re-mapping areas of the prefrontal cortex of the brain. The prefrontal cortex is an area of the brain which is heavily involved in the processing of pain signals. The changes induced by acupuncture appear to be changing the way the brain interprets pain. In addition to these two things, certain kinds of acupuncture (especially a technique known as electrical stimulation) have been shown to induce the body to create stem cells which can help repair damaged areas. As to your question regarding technique - that will depend heavily on the particular acupuncturist you choose to see and what system of acupuncture they practice. In the west, we tend to see acupuncture as a single monolithic approach. The reality is there are multiple systems inside the acupuncture container and different people practice in different ways. Broadly speaking you're going to see two different approaches: 1. Folks who treat locally. In this case, if you come in complaining of low back pain, the practitioner will go through an intake and diagnosis and needles will likely be placed in or near the painful areas of your low back. This approach would include techniques like trigger or motor point stimulation as well as more classical local points indicated for low back issues. 2. Folks who treat distally. In this case, if you come in with a low back pain complaint, the practitioner will go through an intake and diagnosis and needles will not be placed in or near the low back; they'll be placed elsewhere on the body - usually between the elbows and hands/knees and feet. These systems are a lot more difficult for westerns to wrap their minds around, but for pain conditions they can be extremely effective. I practice a distal system of acupuncture and I get excellent results treating back pain by placing needles on the back of the hands. The most important thing is not whether the practitioner is using local or distal techniques. The important thing is whether or not they can accurately assess and diagnose your issue in terms of Chinese medicine. For this, you need to make sure you're seeing someone who is NCCAOM board certified (either Dipl Ac. or Dipl OM). I'd suggest starting with the "Find a Practitioner" page at NCCAOM.org to find board certified and licensed practitioners in your area. READ MORE

  • Do you recommend acupuncture for children?

    I've worked with kids in that age range. Acupuncture can generally be excellent for allergies; you're going to be looking for a couple things: 1. A practitioner that both you and your son are comfortable with. Go out to the 'Find a Practitioner' page at NCCAOM.org and look up some folks who are close to you. Call around and see who offers a free consult, then take your son for a visit. It may take a little extra time, but not everyone is good with kids and your son needs to be as comfortable as possible. 2. I'd also suggest trying to find someone who knows how to treat using relatively few needles - like 10 or less. Most of the time, when I'm working with kids, I try to keep it under 5. After that, a lot will depend on your son's ability to tolerate the needles and to sit/lay with them for a short amount of time. Kids typically respond to acupuncture really quickly, so it shouldn't take many visits to see results. READ MORE

  • Is there an acupuncture treatment for weight gain?

    There are a few reasons why you might be experiencing difficulty gaining weight and acupuncture may be able to help with a few of them. If you have hyperthyroid or Graves syndrome (a condition where the thyroid is producing too much thyroid hormone which turns up the metabolic rate), acupuncture can help to regulate things and move you back towards a more "normal" range. If you're female and the problem is tied to an issue around the menstrual cycle, again acupuncture can help to regulate the system and return things to a "normal" range. If you're just one of those people who runs a high metabolism, acupuncture may be able to help slow things down a bit, but you'll still probably have to consume more calories than an average person if you're trying to gain weight. All this being said, your first stop should probably be your primary care MD. You need some blood tests to look at T3/T4, TSH, blood glucose, A1C, hormones, etc. - just to make sure everything is in a normal range. I'd also suggest looking in to getting some body composition tests done - this way you'll know your lean mass relative to fat. If you're making weight gain/weight loss decisions based on BMI, I'd suggest looking at another method. BMI isn't very flexible and doesn't account for differences in body type (I've seen some very fit people declared 'obese' based on their BMI numbers). A couple things you can check out on your own are: waist circumference (women should be 35" or less, men 40" or less) and waist hip ratio (women should be 0.8 or less, men should be 0.95 or less). READ MORE

  • How does cupping therapy work?

    Cupping is used in a variety of ways in Chinese medicine. For athletes, we typically think of it in the context of myofascial release. In this case, we're using the cups to promote blood flow, improve recovery times, and keep the muscles loose. Those effects taken together might contribute to mental focus. Honestly, though, if mental focus is what you're looking for, I'd suggest acupuncture or mindfulness meditation. READ MORE

  • How will acupuncture help my fibromyalgia?

    Acupuncture from an NCCAOM board certified acupuncturist usually helps fibromyalgia patients. From the perspective of biochemistry, acupuncture appears to be regulating a handful of neurotransmitters which have a lot to do with how pain signals are transmitted in the brain and spinal cord. Acupuncture also has an excellent track record with stress management. The combination of regulating neurotransmitters and reducing stress usually leads to significant pain relief. I only practice Chinese medicine, so I can't really comment too much on other options. Conventional medicine has a handful of pharmaceuticals they typically use in fibromyalgia. My experience with patients is that sometimes these drugs can work well and sometimes they don't do much at all. I'd suggest starting with the "Find a Practitioner" page at NCCAOM.org. See if you can find a local acupuncturist who specializes in pain management. Plan on giving acupuncture at least 3 to 5 visits to determine whether or not it's going to work for you. READ MORE

  • Would you recommend an acupuncture treatment for treating a hyperactive thyroid?

    This is a good question, unfortunately it does not have a straightforward answer. There are a lot of variables in play: how long have you been experiencing this issue? Do you have a conventional diagnosis (in other words: do you know what's causing the issue from a hormonal perspective)? Are you currently using pharmaceuticals to manage the condition? I'd suggest acupuncture with a few caveats: you want someone who has worked with thyroid issues before. It's probably going to take somewhere in the neighborhood of 7-9 treatments before you're going to know whether and how well acupuncture is working. You may need to be open to either herbal therapy, food therapy or both to really get things moving in a healthy direction. You may also need to use conventional pharmaceuticals as a stop gap until the Chinese medicine starts to bring things under control. In a case like this, perhaps more than any other time, it's critical that you see an NCCAOM board certified acupuncturist who can accurately diagnose the issue in terms of Chinese medicine. I'd start with the "Find a Practitioner" page at NCCAOM.org. Call a few folks local to you, ask whether they've been successful with this issue before and, if they haven't, if there's someone they'd recommend. READ MORE

  • Can acupuncture help me quit smoking?

    This is a good question, the answer is complicated. Acupuncture can help you quit smoking if you're ready to quit smoking. Typically, for addictive type issues, we use a set of 5 points in the ear. These points were developed initially to help people get off hard drugs like heroin. Over time, we've found that these same points also assist folks in quitting other addictive behaviors like smoking. As near as we can tell, what's happening is the acupuncture affects a neurotransmitter in the brain called GABA. This neurotransmitter is responsible for chilling out your central nervous system and through this action it makes cravings less severe as you're weaning off addictive substances. Acupuncture sessions can be somewhat divided between initial intake and follow-up. During an initial intake you're going to spend anywhere from 45 to 60 minutes with a practitioner asking you a lot of questions - many of which will seem like they don't have anything to do with your core issue. After the questioning, they'll probably look at your tongue and check the pulses at both wrists. After that, they should explain their findings and provide your initial treatment (which can be a variety of things depending on the practitioner). In a follow-up they're going to ask a few questions, check your tongue and pulse and then provide a treatment (which, again, can be a variety of things depending on the practitioner). Ear points in addiction are often not stimulated with needles, sometimes we use a seed on a sticky backing. These are put at various points on the ear and can remain in place for several days providing longer treatment. READ MORE

  • Does acupuncture require other medicines to be effective?

    Good question. The answer is: it depends. Most of the time, acupuncture can be a very effective treatment on its own. In some cases, acupuncture makes a better adjunct or additive to more conventional pharmaceutical treatments. For things like pain management, some digestive issues and allergies acupuncture is usually sufficient on its own. For issues like cancer, Parkinson's, and MS, acupuncture is best used as an integrative therapy to more conventional pharmaceuticals/chemotherapy. In some cases like hypertension or acid reflux, a patient should start with pharmaceuticals in order to get their situation under control, but acupuncture can, in some folks, restore homeostasis to the body system such that the drug can be slowly withdrawn. The beauty of acupuncture is: the needles are solid. We aren't adding anything to a patient's system nor are we taking anything away. This makes it extremely unlikely that acupuncture is going to conflict with conventional pharmaceuticals. READ MORE

  • Can acupunture decrease my body weight?

    There are a few studies showing acupuncture can exert a regulatory effect on things like insulin and the hormones controlling feelings of hunger and satiety. Acupuncture, particularly ear acupuncture, has also been shown to be effective in managing cravings. That being said, in my experience, if a patient is watching their diet and exercising then acupuncture can help. If the diet isn't right or the patient isn't exercising (or both), then acupuncture isn't going to get you where you want to be. READ MORE

  • Does having acupuncture hurt?

    The honest answer is: sometimes. Acupuncture needles are extremely fine; they're about the thickness of a cat's whisker. Most of the time, for most people, the needle insertion and retention goes completely unnoticed. Sometimes, in some people, the initial insertion will feel somewhat sharp or pinch-y, but this sensation should fade rather quickly. Common needle sensations are: a dull ache at the site, a short lived 'electrical' type pins and needles feeling or a distending feeling - like someone is blowing up a balloon under the skin around the needle. For the most part, these are desired sensations - though those not familiar with acupuncture can find them disconcerting at first. There is a lot that affects what any given patient may or may not feel: the skill of the practitioner, the sensitivity of the patient, the particular point being used and so on. That being said, acupuncture should not be uncomfortable. Any needle that is giving you a sharp, stabbing sensation after sitting for a moment should either be removed or re-positioned. Don't be afraid to provide feedback to your practitioner in this regard. READ MORE

  • How does acupuncture help in treating chronic fatigue syndrome?

    I've done some work with chronic fatigue patients and I'm usually able to get excellent results for them. Chronic fatigue is one of those odd corner cases for conventional medicine. Normally, the diagnosis is one of exclusion - in other words, they rule other things out and then finally conclude the issue must be chronic fatigue. At that point, the approach is usually one of symptom management. Chinese medicine and acupuncture have a very different diagnostic system and we can usually get to the root cause of this issue which generally gives the patient better results. You'll get the best possible result with an NCCAOM board certified acupuncturist. I'd suggest starting with NCCAOM.org and using their "Find a Practitioner" lookup to locate some local providers. READ MORE

  • Will acupuncture treat my menstrual cramps?

    Most likely, yes. Acupuncture is really good for the treatment of pain and I generally get excellent results with menstrual issues for my patients. The thing about menstrual problems or other conditions that are tied to the female hormone cycle is: you generally have to receive treatment through a cycle or two before you're going to know how well things are working. Just about any board certified acupuncturist should be able to help you, but it might be worth your while to see if you can locate someone who specializes in gynecological conditions. I'd start with NCCAOM.org's "Find a Practitioner" page. You can look up some local providers, check out their web-pages and start calling around to see if there is a specialist in your area. READ MORE

  • Can acupuncture help with TMJ?

    Generally, yes, we can help with the pain/discomfort related to TMJ. If you haven't already, I'd also suggest seeing a dentist/orthodontist to make sure there's nothing structurally wrong with your teeth and jaw. For the best results, make sure you're seeing an NCCAOM board certified acupuncturist. READ MORE

  • Can acupuncture treat my digestive disorders?

    Generally, yes, acupuncture can be an excellent choice for digestive issues. One of the many things acupuncture has been shown to do is stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system. This is the so-called "rest and digest" part of the autonomic system (as opposed to the "fight-or-flight" part of that system). I generally get excellent results for a spectrum of digestive complaints ranging from acid reflux to chronic diarrhea to chronic constipation. For the best results, make sure you're seeing an NCCAOM board certified acupuncturist. READ MORE

  • 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 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. READ MORE

  • 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 system and can affect things like digestion and excessive spontaneous sweating. I'd suggest making an appointment with an NCCAOM national board certified acupuncturist. READ MORE

  • 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 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. READ MORE

  • 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 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. READ MORE

  • 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 sure she sees an NCCAOM board certified and state licensed acupuncturist. READ MORE

  • 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 approach. For the best results, make sure you see an NCCAOM board certified and state licensed acupuncturist. READ MORE

  • 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 sure your mother sees an NCCAOM board certified and state licensed acupuncturist. READ MORE

  • 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 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. READ MORE

  • 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. READ MORE

  • 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 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. READ MORE

  • 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. READ MORE

  • 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 sleep aids can induce. For the best results, make sure you're seeing a board certified and state licensed acupuncturist. READ MORE

  • 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 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. READ MORE

  • Can acupuncture help in treating lower back pain?

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

  • 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 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. READ MORE

  • 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 suggest finding a board certified practitioner in your area. READ MORE

  • 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. READ MORE

  • 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

  • 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 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. READ MORE

  • 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". 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. READ MORE

  • Can acupuncture improve sleep?

    Insomnia is one of the places where recent studies have shown acupuncture to be extremely effective. At least one study has shown acupuncture to be superior to prescription sleeping pills in terms of time it takes to fall asleep, overall sleep quality during the night and lack of that "drugged" feeling the following day. How it works is somewhat more complicated to explain. Chinese medicine encompasses a diagnostic system that is a bit more flexible than conventional medicine's. There are actually multiple root causes for insomnia in the Chinese system and treatment will vary slightly depending on any given patient's exact presentation. From the perspective of conventional medicine, acupuncture exerts a calming influence on the central nervous system, reduces stress, increases production of endogenous opiates as well as melatonin and promotes blood flow. Basically, we're helping to get a patient in to a super relaxed state which makes sleep come more easily. READ MORE

  • Is it advisable to take acupuncture treatment along with normal medication?

    Acupuncture has been shown in several studies to at least match certain kinds of drug in lowering blood pressure. The risk would lie in lowering your pressure too much. I do quite a bit of work with hypertensive patients and I prefer to make sure their doctor is aware we're adding acupuncture. This way the drug dose can be adjusted as necessary while acupuncture treatment progresses. As long as your doctor is aware you're using acupuncture, your acupuncturist is aware of the prescription drugs you're taking and everyone is monitoring your blood pressure, you should be just fine. READ MORE

  • Can acupuncture help in treating diabetes?

    This is a complicated question. Since you were recently diagnosed, I'm going to assume this is type II diabetes and you're looking at oral medications to manage the condition rather than insulin injections. If this is the case, acupuncture can help manage the side effects of any drugs you may be prescribed. Additionally, some recent studies of acupuncture in weight loss have shown that it can help regulate insulin levels to a degree. The extent to which acupuncture or Chinese herbal medicine can help is going to largely depend on your individual presentation. Where are your fasting glucose and a1c levels? Are you experiencing any other diabetic symptoms (peripheral neuropathy and so on)? What drug(s) is/are being recommended by your physician? How open are you to dietary modification and how well can you stick to those changes? READ MORE

  • How can acupuncture help in treating my loud cough?

    Well, this is complicated to answer without digressing in to a lot of Chinese medical terminology that will come across like a bunch of mumbo-jumbo. If your chest x-ray is clear, the problem is most likely allergy related. There are several studies out showing acupuncture's effectiveness in the treatment of allergy. Speaking more generally, several studies have also pointed to acupuncture's ability to bring things down a notch when the immune system goes in to over drive. To sort of skirt around the mumbo-jumbo issue - cough in acupuncture is considered a kind of 'rebellion' or 'counter-flow'. The type and quality of the cough (loud, soft / dry or with expectoration) tells us what is rebelling or counter-flowing. That information helps us to arrive at a treatment. I've treated a lot of persistent cough and allergy patients. I typically get good results unless there is something else going on (like lung infection, which you've already ruled out). Best regards, Jeff Rippey, L.Ac. READ MORE

  • Are medicines also involved in acupuncture treatment?

    That depends on what you mean by 'medication'. If you mean a more conventional pharmaceutical (either prescription or over the counter), yes, we integrate treatments like this all the time. Acupuncture needles are solid, we aren't putting any substances in to the body nor are we taking anything out. The risk that combining acupuncture with pharmaceuticals is going to create some adverse event is therefore very small. Many acupuncturists also practice Chinese herbal medicine and here's where we need to be more careful. There are some documented interactions between Chinese herbs and conventional medications. There are a lot of Chinese herb and drug combinations where we simply do not know what might happen. To avoid problems with Chinese herbal meds, most acupuncturists will make sure they have a list of what a patient is currently taking. This list should be kept up to date in their records. If they don't ask, a patient needs to make sure the acupuncturist is aware - especially if they're recommending herbs. I've worked with depression, anxiety and PTSD while patients were on meds to help these issues. I've worked with high blood pressure while patients were on meds for that issue. I've worked with pain conditions while patients were on pain meds. Best regards, Jeff Rippey, L.Ac. READ MORE

  • Should acupuncture be a long term thing?

    Acupuncture can be used over a prolonged period of time without problem. For patients that have acute issues, we usually front load the treatment process. This means we see them at short intervals up front, usually for the first several weeks, and then we transition to a maintenance schedule. Maintenance can mean a variety of intervals from monthly to twice a year, it just depends on the patient. I do a lot of work with stress patients. Initially I see them weekly for 3-4 weeks and then we go monthly to keep things in check. These monthly treatments can go on for a year or more. If the patient is able to make lifestyle changes to reduce their stressors they might only come back quarterly. If lifestyle changes aren't possible in the near term, then they may consider coming monthly or every other month for an extended period of time. I've never personally had anyone experience a negative side effect from prolonged acupuncture. Best regards, Jeff Rippey, L.Ac. READ MORE

  • Is there an acupuncture treatment for treating back aches too?

    Acupuncture is excellent for back pain. In fact, the American College of Physicians recommends acupuncture (in addition to other manual therapies like massage or adjustment) as first or second line treatment for back pain (before drugs and surgery). In pain conditions studies seem to be showing that acupuncture affects neurotransmitters in the brain and spinal cord that play a role in the transmission of the pain signal. There is at least one study, done in carpal tunnel syndrome, where functional MRI imaging showed acupuncture was changing the way signals are processed in the pre-frontal cortex (an area of the brain known to be involved in pain processing). There's also a musculoskeletal approach to the problem where we look at the lines of tension in your muscles starting in your feet/low legs and going up in to the back. Sometimes releasing and rebalancing this muscular tension can go a long way to relieving the discomfort. Best regards, Jeff Rippey, L.Ac. READ MORE

  • My mother in law feels very sleepy all through the day. Can acupuncture help her?

    Fatigue is an issue that acupuncture can be used to address. With a kidney issue, though, it's hard to say without having the full picture of what's going on. Acupuncture is a therapeutic approach and more than one visit is typically required. The idea is to see a patient relatively frequently in the beginning. As we start to see results, we start to space the visits out until we hit some optimal maintenance interval. What maintenance looks like varies from person to person; it could be monthly, quarterly or twice a year. There aren't really any good ways to predict. READ MORE

  • Can acupuncture really help with hair loss?

    I've seen some studies showing acupuncture being effective in hair loss. Cosmetic acupuncture is not an area I work in personally, so I can't provide any first hand experience. I'd suggest looking for a certified acupuncturist who has either worked with hair loss or does a lot of cosmetic work. READ MORE

  • Are acupressure and acupuncture the same?

    Acupressure and acupuncture are sort of the same thing. Acupressure is using the fingers or an instrument to apply pressure at an acupuncture point. Acupuncture is using a needle to stimulate an acupuncture point. They can be done at the same time. Most acupuncturists are trained in a system of Chinese therapeutic massage called Tui Na. Part of the system is the application of pressure to acupuncture points using the fingers/hands/arms. Many practitioners will start or end an acupuncture session with a brisk massage that stimulates certain points. We also often show patients how to apply pressure to certain points so they can perform a degree of self care between visits. In my experience, acupressure can be a useful tool, but for faster, more lasting results, nothing seems to beat needles. READ MORE

  • How long does acupuncture treatment usually last?

    It's hard to say how many treatments might be required. Different people respond in different ways, different practitioners have different approaches to the same problem. There are a lot of variables in play. Generally, for pain/headache, I tell folks they're looking at 5-7 treatments. After that, we generally start spacing things out until we hit some optimal interval that leaves the patient with sufficient relief. I've had patients with intervals as long as every 6 months and as short as monthly. The idea is that we find some space where the patient doesn't have to come weekly. If the practitioner you're thinking of seeing offers a free consult, I highly recommend starting there. This will give you a chance to feel the person out and see if it's a good match. At some point, the practitioner should be asking about your expectations and giving you some idea of how previous patients with your issue have fared under their care. READ MORE

  • Is there a cure for acute arthritis in acupuncture?

    Acupuncture can absolutely help with pain and mobility issues due to arthritis. You may not feel a huge difference on the first treatment, but if you give the acupuncturist 3-5 visits, they can probably reduce your discomfort and improve mobility. READ MORE

  • Can acupuncture help treat thyroid imbalance?

    As a supplement, absolutely. Just be careful if your acupuncturist suggests herbs and you're already taking pharmaceuticals. Most of the time, herbs and pharmaceuticals mix okay, sometimes they don't. If you're taking prescription meds, make sure to bring a list that includes drug name, strength, and dose so your acupuncturist is aware. Best regards, Jeff Rippey, L.Ac. READ MORE

  • I have a migraine problem. Should I see an acupuncturist?

    One of the things acupuncture has been fairly well proven to help is pain, including headache/migraine. It's definitely worth giving acupuncture a try. READ MORE

  • Does acupuncture work for anxiety?

    Yes, acupuncture is excellent for anxiety. Probably 30%-40% of my practice consists of treating anxiety/PTSD/depression and I usually get great results for folks. READ MORE

  • I am having a lot of stress due to menopause and I am unable to sleep soundly. Should I go for acupuncture treatment?

    Yes, acupuncture will probably help you. Acupuncture and oriental medicine are good, in general, for a wide variety of conditions. There are, however, a few places where acupuncture really shines and you're asking about 2 of them: stress and insomnia/sleeplessness. Multiple studies have shown acupuncture to be superior to most drug therapies for insomnia. When it comes to stress management, there are some things you can do on your own: exercise and meditation. Adding acupuncture to those approaches will often calm things down pretty quickly. Menopause is also something acupuncturists often help folks manage - particularly hot flashes/night sweats. Best, Jeff Rippey, L.Ac. READ MORE

  • Can accupuncture help in bringing down my cholesterol?

    First off, I'd encourage you to look into the current research around dietary fat, cholesterol and heart disease. This subject is a tangled mess and it's always a good idea to read through the available information to form your own opinion. That being said, diet modification combined with exercise are often more effective in reducing LDL cholesterol. What acupuncture can do is help reduce the body inflammation which is likely the source of your elevated LDL levels. READ MORE

  • I have headaches frequently. Can acupuncture treatment help?

    Absolutely! Acupuncture is excellent for relieving headache and reducing headache/migraine occurrence. In oriental medicine, we have about 5 different causes of headache. Your practitioner will need to differentiate among these to arrive at the proper treatment. Don't be surprised if they ask you a lot of questions regarding headache location, how they start, how they progress and what they feel like to you. Best, Jeff Rippey, L.Ac. READ MORE

  • How long does the effect of acupuncture last?

    The length of time acupuncture effects can persist varies from patient to patient. Sometimes we can get complete remission of an issue and sometimes there's a transition to maintenance that has to occur. The maintenance window can vary from weeks to months to years - there really isn't any good way to predict what maintenance is going to look like for any given individual. The good news is you received what sounds like excellent results and those results persisted for somewhere around 2 years. You might need a few sessions in a row to reestablish a healthy pattern for you and then you could probably go to twice a year or yearly "tune ups" to maintain. READ MORE

  • Can acupuncture help in treating joint pain?

    Yes, acupuncture can be quite effective in the treatment of joint pain. There is a dose dependency in play; sometimes we hit the nail on the head and get great results on the first treatment. Other times it can take a few visits to get things moving in the correct direction. Most acupuncturists are pretty good at estimating what a course of treatment might look like, so don't be afraid to have this conversation with your provider. If you've had any imaging (X-ray, CT scan, MRI, etc.) make sure you bring those results along to your first appointment. An acupuncturist is going to diagnose from the perspective of Chinese medicine, but having that information available can often help them figure out a treatment approach. READ MORE

  • Does acupuncture help in weight loss?

    In my experience, using acupuncture for weight loss really only works when the patient can get their diet right. By "right," I mean the diet should be in alignment with principles of Chinese medicine for the patient's particular presentation. There are lots of reasons why a person might find it difficult to lose weight. Those reasons all have a corresponding diagnosis in the Chinese medical system, and there are dietary adjustments that can be made as part of the treatment plan to remedy the situation. If those dietary changes are made and acupuncture is used to support the body as a whole, then yes, it can work quite well. Best, Jeff Rippey, L.Ac. READ MORE

  • Does it hurt when acupuncture needles are inserted in the body?

    The best answer to your question is "it depends." The average acupuncture needle is many times smaller than the average hypodermic (like for a flu shot), so any discomfort will be much less than for an injection or a blood draw. Some acupuncture points can be fairly sensitive no matter how good the acupuncturist is. If a patient has been in chronic pain for a long period of time, sometimes any amount of pressure anywhere is painful. Even though some will claim it, no one can guarantee a pain-free needle insertion. Here's what you could reasonably expect: There may be a pinching sensation on initial insertion. This should go away in a second or two. If the needle is inserted and a sharp, stinging sensation persists, you should tell your acupuncturist. They can often back the needle out a bit or re-position slightly so the sensation subsides or goes away entirely. Feeling a dull ache, short-lived electrical sensation, or distention around the point after the needle is inserted is a good thing. We call it "de qi" and it means we're in the right spot for treatment. That being said, *most* of the time, with *most* patients, needle insertion is painless. READ MORE

  • Can acupuncture help in treating vertigo?

    Yes, acupuncture can usually help with vertigo. I've gotten good results in more than a few cases. Best, Jeff Rippey, L.Ac. READ MORE

  • Is it true that people suffering from high blood pressure should not try acupuncture?

    Acupuncture is actually an excellent treatment for hypertension. Most studies show that it can at least match pharmaceuticals in terms of its BP-lowering effects. The only time there *might* be an issue is if you have a fear of needles or anxiety about acupuncture in general. Make sure you've discussed any concerns with your acupuncturist prior to treatment. So long as your blood pressure is currently controlled, and your acupuncturist is aware of your hypertensive status and is checking your blood pressure before treatment, you should be just fine. Since acupuncture can lower blood pressure, when your treatment is over and the needles have been removed, get up slowly and allow yourself time to adjust. In terms of side effects, you might see some lowering of your blood pressure over time. This, in combination with any pharmaceuticals you may be taking, could lead to some hypotension (lower than normal blood pressure). You'll be most likely to notice lowered blood pressure when going from seated or laying to standing (orthostatic hypotension). This type of hypotension is often associated with some dizziness, so move slowly and make sure there's something nearby you can grab for support if necessary. It's also a good idea to make sure your primary care physician is aware you're getting acupuncture so they can work with you to adjust medication dosage when appropriate. Best of luck! Jeff Rippey, L.Ac. READ MORE

  • I feel very sleepy after my acupuncture session. Is this normal?

    Unfortunately, this is an "it depends" answer. Without knowing your Chinese medical diagnosis and what points your provider is using, it can be difficult to evaluate what's going on post-treatment. Generally speaking, some fatigue/sleepiness after a treatment is normal. Acupuncture treatments can be very relaxing and sometimes it's difficult to pull yourself out so you can complete your day. A few things you might try: 1. Have a little something to eat either right before or just after your acupuncture treatment 2. Set your appointment for later in the day so you're not returning to work or other activities while still feeling the effects 3. Talk to your acupuncture provider and see if this is something they expect or if they have specific suggestions to manage the sleepiness Best regards, Jeff Rippey, M.S. Ac., Dipl Ac. (NCCAOM), L.Ac. READ MORE

  • How does acupuncture treat indigestion?

    Acupuncture works quite well for digestive complaints. However, I'd suggest he start with either an elimination diet or some food allergy testing. The big three in terms of food sensitivity are: eggs, milk and, wheat. I offer a dried blood spot test that looks at 90+ food components and can help folks refactor their diet to something easier on their system. Best regards, Jeff Rippey, L.Ac. READ MORE

  • Is acupuncture a complementary treatment or does it treat ailments by itself?

    I think the best answer here is: it depends. For a good many health issues, acupuncture can be a stand-alone treatment. For some things, like cancer, acupuncture is better as a complementary or integrative treatment along with other interventions. In general, acupuncture pairs well with lots of other treatment options. We're not using drugs, and acupuncture needles are solid, not hollow (we're not injecting any substances), so there isn't much to be concerned about with potential drug interactions. Other therapeutic approaches like physical therapy, massage, and chiropractic work extremely well with acupuncture. If you'd like to discuss your particular situation, whether a stand-alone or integrated approach might be best for you, please give me a call: 719-297-7121 Best regards, Jeff Rippey, L.Ac. READ MORE

  • How does acupuncture help in treating infertility?

    Thanks for asking! I'm going to attach some study links below so that you have some information to review. From a bio-medical perspective, acupuncture is doing several things, all of which can potentially benefit someone experiencing infertility. It can increase blood flow, alter endocrine function, and is generally relaxing. There are lots of different reasons why a woman may be experiencing infertility: PCOS, endometriosis, structural issues with the fallopian tubes, and so on. It's best to have some idea, from the perspective of western medicine, where the problem lies before coming to an acupuncturist for assistance. I've done a bit of work with menstrual issues, PCOS, and infertility. I'm usually pretty successful, unfortunately correcting the underlying issues takes some time. Usually, we're looking at 3 months or so to get the hormones regulated. If your sister is in or near Woodland Park, CO, I offer a free 30-minute consult. If she's somewhere else (even out of state), I can usually come up with a referral. Studies: http://www.healthcmi.com/Acupuncture-Continuing-Education-News/1817-acupuncture-enhances-fertility-treatment-lowers-adverse-effects http://www.healthcmi.com/Acupuncture-Continuing-Education-News/1716-acupuncture-outperforms-drugs-for-infertility-promotes-pregnancy https://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=154059 Best regards, Jeff Rippey, L.Ac. READ MORE

  • Brachial plexopathy pain from radiation fibrosis- what will help?

    Honestly, I'd recommend both acupuncture and physical therapy. I'd start with acupuncture to bring your pain levels down and increase range of motion in your shoulder. This should make PT more tolerable. READ MORE

Areas of expertise and specialization

Pain managementAnxietyDepressionPTSD

Professional Memberships

  • A

Residency

  • Morristown Medical Center

Internships

  • Indiana University Medical Center

Fellowships

  • Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Philanthropic Initiatives

  • Providing surgical care to indigent patients in central and south America. Co-founder of UHMLA (Unidad Hospitalaria Movil de Latino America)

Jeff Rippey's Practice location

Jeff Rippey Acupuncture

2440 W 47th Ave -
Kansas City, KS 66103
Get Direction
New patients: 913-204-1228

Reveal Wellness and Med Spa

3841 Frederick Ave -
St Joseph, MO 64506
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New patients: 816-396-9600
https://revealwellnessandmedspa.com/

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Turn left onto US-59 SPass by Taco John's (on the right)
14.6 mi
Turn right to stay on US-59 SEntering Kansas
4.4 mi
Turn left onto US-73 S/S 10th StContinue to follow US-73 SPass by Pizza Hut (on the right)
1.4 mi
Turn left onto Ravenhill Dr
0.2 mi
Turn right
341 ft
Slight right
167 ft
Turn right
112 ft
Turn left
262 ft
Turn leftDestination will be on the left
36 ft
800 Ravenhill Dr, Atchison, KS 66002, USA

MOSAIC LIFE CARE AT ST JOSEPHl

5325 FARAON STREET SAINT JOSEPH MO 64506

3841 Frederick Ave, St Joseph, MO 64506, USA
Head east on Frederick AvePass by NAPA Auto Parts - Auto Parts of St Joseph (on the right)
0.5 mi
Continue straight to stay on Frederick Ave
0.9 mi
Turn right onto Heartland Rd
0.5 mi
Turn leftDestination will be on the right
262 ft
901 N Riverside Rd, St Joseph, MO 64507, USA

CAMERON REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTERl

1600 E EVERGREEN CAMERON MO 64429

3841 Frederick Ave, St Joseph, MO 64506, USA
Head east on Frederick AvePass by NAPA Auto Parts - Auto Parts of St Joseph (on the right)
0.2 mi
Turn right to merge onto I-29 S/US-71 S
2.0 mi
Take exit 46A to merge onto US-36 E toward Cameron
30.8 mi
Turn right to merge onto I-35 S
1.3 mi
Take exit 52 for Missouri BB toward I-35 BUS/Cameron
0.2 mi
Turn left onto State Hwy BB/E Evergreen StContinue to follow State Hwy BB
0.2 mi
Turn right
184 ft
Turn right
30 ft
Turn leftDestination will be on the right
46 ft
1600 E Evergreen St, Cameron, MO 64429, USA