How Acupuncture Works And All The Lesser-known Facts About This Time-Tested Alternative Medicine

As an advocate of a more natural option for a myriad of health concerns, PIQUE in Beverly Hills headed by Dr. Nell Smircina is pleased to offer acupuncture as a more natural treatment and holistic approach.

For decades, the majority of the western population has been used to taking medication for treatments. However, this has been found to have a cumulative negative effect on the liver and other organs, not to mention other dangers like some medications being addictive.

Natural options are thus being increasingly considered by many as a better option. Here we shed light on acupuncture, how it works and the benefits.

Acupuncture is a time-tested alternative medicine known to relieve body pains, promote relaxation and overall wellness.

Despite its growing popularity, it has been criticized by skeptics who favor a western medical approach only, rather than an integrative approach.

However, more and more studies have been conducted about the effectiveness of acupuncture and the results are promising.

The WHO, FDA and NIH-NCCIH all recognize acupuncture as a legitimate form of medicine.

Below are some of the facts you probably didn’t know about acupuncture!

Acupuncture is a component of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) that dates back around 3,000 years ago. TCM revolves around the concept of nature’s two-opposing but complementary forces, which are the Yin and Yang.


Yin signifies dark, night, black, negative, old, etc. On the other hand, Yang represents light, day, white, positive, young, and so on.


According to Chinese Traditional Medicine, our well being depends on the harmony and the balance of Yin and Yang. In other words, our health and the proper functioning of our organs depend on the harmony and balance of these forces.


Life energy, called Qi or ‘chi’ (pronounced as “chee”), is said to flow along the meridians or pathways throughout our body. The constant, uninterrupted flow of Qi contributes to the balance of Yin and Yang.


If Qi energy is blocked, the interruption or disruption of the flow leads to:


  • Malfunctioning of our organs
  • Pain
  • Illnesses

Acupuncture works by stimulating selected acupuncture points and releases any obstruction in the meridian to restore the normal flow of Qi. As a complementary and alternative medicine, acupuncture therapy promotes the natural self-healing process and helps boost the immune system in the human body.

A licensed practitioner performs acupuncture treatment by inserting thin needles into the patient’s skin with a depth that varies but can be as little as 1/8 of an inch.

Depending on the patient’s ailment, the acupuncturist selects specific acupuncture points, or “acupoints”, along the meridian. There are more than 400 acupuncture points in the human body according to Chinese Traditional Medicine.

The practitioner may apply heat, pressure, or electrical stimulation to further amplify the healing effects of acupuncture.

Other techniques for stimulating the acupoints include:

  • Cupping
  • Heat therapy or moxibustion
  • Manual massage or Tui-Na
  • The application of liniments and topical herbal medicines

Based on the studies conducted in 60 countries, the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) under the National Institutes of Health (NIH) suggests that acupuncture is effective in treating musculoskeletal problems such as:

Acupuncture therapy also provides relief to patients with:

  1. The first thing your acupuncturist will check is your health history.
  2. Next, he or she will examine the shape, color, and coating or your tongue.
  3. Then, he or she will feel your pulse.
  4. Your acupuncturist might decide that you should undergo additional physical exams depending on your health condition.

These unique assessment procedures are crucial in developing the treatment plan designed to address your specific condition.

The actual treatment starts when you’ll be asked to lay down on a treatment table and make yourself comfortable. Depending on where the acupuncturist will insert the needles, you may be asked to lie down on your back, front or on one-side.


After the insertion of the needle, you might feel occasional dull aches at the needle’s base, which slowly subsides in a few minutes. Generally, acupuncture is quite painless.


The needles will usually stay in for 20 to 30 minutes.


You should feel relaxed during the treatment and energized after the session is done.

The whole session usually lasts about 60 minutes. The actual treatment only lasts about 30 minutes. More time is usually spent on discussing the patient’s symptoms and health concerns.

The number of treatments varies from patient to patient. Some patients experience considerable relief in the first session or treatment, especially if it is an acute issue.


People with serious problems could need several sessions before feeling lasting relief.


For patients with chronic conditions, a treatment plan could include take 1 to 2 sessions per week and could last for several months.


Upon your initial visit, your acupuncturist will give you the expected number of treatments you will need based on the assessment.

These days, the risks are relatively low since acupuncture needles are now regulated by the FDA. Also, many U.S. state requires the practitioner to pass an exam by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM), as well as a state licensure process.

  • Soreness
  • Minor bruising
  • Bleeding where the needles were inserted

More serious side effects are extremely rare and do not happen with proper Clean Needle technique (CNT), in which Licensed Acupuncturists have a certification. With a licensed and experienced acupuncturist, the procedure can work wonders for many health challenges.

The United States FDA or Food and Drugs Administration has regulations for the needles.


They should be:

  • Disposable
  • Single-use only
  • Bio-compatible
  • Sterile

One of the best ways to look for competent practitioners is through recommendations of people you know.


Be sure to look for the abbreviation “LAc” after their name. LAc means licensed acupuncturists.


The NCCAOM website has a directory of licensed practitioners who successfully passed their exams. Most states require every practitioner to pass the exam and get their license from this board. Some states, however, have their own additional licensing exam, for example, California. In California, you can check the California Acupuncture Board website.

Check their credentials and find out if they are trained by the NCCAOM. Most states require practitioners to get their board certification from the NCCAOM.


Again, some states have their own requirements that are slightly different from other states.


Ask your acupuncturist about the treatment. What are involved? How will it help your condition? How much will the whole treatment cost?

The Takeaway

Acupuncture is steadily gaining popularity as a more natural alternative to address health concerns. It is important, however, that you look for a licensed acupuncturist who has substantial experience backed up by reviews.

In Beverly Hills, you can contact us now for an appointment and initial consultation.