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Frequently Asked Questions

Does acupuncture hurt?

Many first-time patients are concerned that acupuncture needles will feel like hypodermic injections at the doctor’s office. They won't. Acupuncture needles are fine, slightly thicker than a human hair, and much smaller than a hypodermic needle used for injections or blood drawing. When the acupuncture needle is inserted, one may feel a slight pinch or sting. As the needle is stimulated, the patient may feel a slight tingling, heavy, warm or electric sensation. This is called the Qi sensation and is a normal and good reaction.

Is acupuncture safe?

Acupuncture is extremely safe since it is natural and drug-free. Pre-sterilized and disposable needles are used once and then discarded afterwards. There are little to no side effects from acupuncture and the ones that may occur are temporary. The most common side effect may be bruising at the insertion site. A bruise will usually dissipate within a few days. In some patients, symptoms may be exacerbated after a treatment, but this will usually abate after 24-48 hours and leave the patient with a greater sense of relief. 

What will happen on the first visit?

On your first visit, you will be asked to fill out a comprehensive health questionnaire and Jean will review your symptoms and health history with you. She will also perform diagnostic procedures specific to Chinese Medicine, such as taking your pulse and examining your tongue. In addition to asking about your physical symptoms, she may ask about your stress levels, emotions, and lifestyle and environmental influences in order to gather a holistic view of your health. Most patients will receive an acupuncture treatment on their first visit.

Acupuncture treatments create deep relaxation
in both mind and body.

What happens during a treatment?

Once the needles are inserted, you will lie comfortably for approximately 20-30 minutes with them in place. Depending on the ailment, the patient's constitution, and the type of treatment, the needles may be retained longer. Some patients have reported various experiences during the treatment such as energy vibrating throughout their body or feelings of warmth or coolness washing over their bodies, while some do not feel much physically at all. Many patients find the acupuncture treatment deeply relaxing, and it is not uncommon for patients to fall asleep during this time.

How long are the treatments?

Allow approximately 90 minutes for your first appointment and 60 minutes for successive appointments.

How should I prepare?

- If possible, wear loose, comfortable clothing for easy access to acupuncture points.
- Ideally, you will not be full or hungry when you arrive for your treatment. Having some food in your stomach helps avoid the possibility of light-headedness or nausea during your treatment.
- Bring any pertinent lab work or test results to your appointment.
- You may fill out the necessary paperwork prior to your first appointment if you like. Otherwise, please arrive 10-15 mins. prior to your appointment time to do so.
Download patient forms >

How many treatments will I need?

The number of treatments will vary from patient to patient and depend on the condition being treated and other factors that may contribute to the condition. Usually one to two treatments per week is optimal in the initial phase of the acupuncture since the benefits of acupuncture are cumulative. In general, acute problems can be treated with fewer visits, while chronic conditions may take longer to respond, depending on the type, severity, and duration of the condition. Some patients come in for preventative treatments and treatments for general well-being and maintenance (tune-ups). These can be scheduled on a regular basis or as needed.

Will my insurance cover acupuncture?

Health insurances are covering acupuncture now more than ever, including worker's compensation. For more information, click here >





Jean S. Tom Acupuncture
960 E. Green Street, Suite L-10
Pasadena, CA 91106
Tel : 626-793-8988
Fax: 626-793-8088