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Acupuncture at W&M provides holistic, non-pharmaceutic treatment options to regulate the experience of stress, pain, and overwhelm. Using a community acupuncture model and private appointments, the W&M community is able to engage in a community care experience that encourages reflection through rest, restoration, and flourishing.

Acupuncture Lounge

The community acupuncture clinic at William & Mary, a.k.a Acupuncture Lounge, is the first of its kind in Williamsburg. This model of care removes as many barriers as possible to accessible treatments ensuring a stable and reliable supply of affordable acupuncture for the WM and local community. The Acupuncture Lounge is your go-to, one-stop place to reset your nervous system when you are feeling stressed and overwhelmed. Sitting or lying down in a large room overlooking nature, the Licensed Acupuncturists will use micro-sized, one-time use, sterile stainless steel, filiform needles in the ear or distal location (elbows to fingers, knees to toes, or scalp) in a group setting to induce a relaxation response. You will then rest with the needles in for about 20-30 minutes. From beginning to end, the total appointment lasts approximately 30-45 min.

Individual Acupuncture Sessions

Private appointments with the Doctor of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine can be booked at WM at a highly discounted rate for those preferring a private setting or have more complicated health conditions such involving chronic pain, digestive disorders, reproductive health challenges, inflammation, headaches and migraines, allergies, recurrent colds and illness, anxiety, depression, sleep troubles, musculoskeletal injuries, and post-surgical rehabilitation. In a private treatment room overlooking nature, your provider will consult with you regarding your medical history and current health concerns, get an idea of your overall wellness through a verbal intake process and hands-on assessment (tongue evaluation, pulse taking, and palpation), and create and share with you an individualized treatment plan. Your treatment plan may include Acupuncture, manual therapies of cupping, gua sha, medical massage, acupressure, education and instruction of stress management tools, meditation, breathing, healing movements or stretches, and Chinese Medicine healing food guidelines. From beginning to end, the total appointment lasts approximately 45-50 minutes. 

questions and answers about acupuncture
What is Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine?
 Originally called “Medicine” in the area now known as China, and sometimes referred to as Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Chinese Medicine is a complete system of medicine that has been treating people of all ages and levels of health and disease for thousands of years. While this medicine continues to evolve with science and human needs, Chinese Medicine is integrated into many hospital systems in East Asia, is now practiced across the globe by dedicated students and practitioners of Medicine, and is recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a holistic, evidence-based, non-pharmacological Traditional Medicine option to treat some of the globes most pressing health concerns. Chinese Medicine includes four main modalities of care: acupuncture, herbal medicine, tui na (medical massage), and yang sheng (nourishing life recommendations including qi gong, tai chi, food therapy, meditation, and routines). Chinese Medicine in the United States has a long and complex history reflecting the ongoing struggles of colonization and romanticization. There are currently over 50 accredited and pre-accredited Master’s and Doctorate programs in the United States. Completing a Master’s degree typically takes three years for acupuncture and four years for herbal medicine. Post-graduate doctoral degrees are a recent advancement of Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture studies in the United States. The Veteran’s Administration and Military Health System was one of the first government medical systems to embrace the integration of Acupuncture and Licensed Acupuncturists. Other healthcare systems and insurance are slowly making Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine available to their patients and customers. All states except South Dakota, Oklahoma, and Alabama currently require licensing to practice. Each state’s requirements, laws, and regulations vary significantly. In Virginia, the profession of Acupuncture and Licensed Acupuncturists are regulated by the State’s Board of Medicine. Find rules and regulations for Virginia HERE.
What happens in an Acupuncture Treatment?

Your Licensed Acupuncturist will check in with you before every treatment session to get an update on any health status changes or your concerns. If Acupuncture is deemed to be appropriate by the Licensed Acupuncturist, you will be asked to expose the area of the body used for treatment and lie on a massage table.  Linens, draping, and patient gowns are available if clothes are restricted. The area of the body being treated will be prepped with isopropyl alcohol. The needles are quickly tapped or inserted into the body. You may or may not feel the needles going in. The most sensitive areas are the ears, hands, and feet.  A lot of people don’t feel the needles. The needles are retained for 20-30 minutes, sometimes upwards of 45 minutes in a private setting. Once the treatment is over, the L.Ac. will remove all the needles and dispose of them. In a group setting, you will have a few minutes to relax before leaving. In a private session and depending on what you are seeking treatment for, the L.Ac. may offer other forms of manual therapy or health advice before the end of the session. The L.Ac. will remind you of your next appointment or the next part of your treatment plan.  

You are always welcome to ask questions during your appointment.

What is the difference between Community Acupuncture “The Acupuncture Lounge” and a private appointment?

The Acupuncture Lounge is designed to remove as many barriers to receiving Acupuncture for its rest and restoration effects. There are main differences between community acupuncture and private acupuncture are:

SETTING & SPACE: The Acupuncture Lounge is a type of community acupuncture setting where people are treated in an open space and group setting simultaneously, while private acupuncture is in a one-to-one setting.

COST: The Acupuncture Lounge is less expensive with a savings of $35-$100 per session.  Private acupuncture at W&M is deeply discounted from local and national averages to make it as accessible for you to receive holistic, non-pharmaceutical care from a Doctor of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine. 

TIME:  The provider will spend about 5-10 minutes with you to get you settled into your treatment, while in a private session the provider spends 35-55 minutes with each patient.  

Please note, community acupuncture is a model of care that bridges healthcare and public health. This model of care is not new or unique to the United States. Organizations like Acupuncturists Without Borders, National Acupuncture Detoxification Association (NADA), and POCA use community acupuncture to make Acupuncture accessible to as many people as possible.

What are the different modalities used in a treatment?

Your highly-trained Doctor of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine will determine the best individualized treatment plan based on your health history and current health conditions. The following is a list of  non-pharmacological modalities from Chinese Medicine used in the prevention, correction, and maintenance of a disease, injury, or pain:

Acupuncture: the use of micro-sized, one-time use, sterile stainless steel, filiform needles in different areas of the body

Acupressure: the stimulation of reactive points with the use of a manual tool or fingers

Tui Na: medical massage

Qi Gong: a movement or healing technique focusing on biofield energy

Gua Sha: a type of superficial scrapping

Cupping: the use of suction on the body

Education: instruction of lifestyle practices such as daily routines, meditation, breathing, healing movements, or stretches

Healing Food Guidelines

What does it feel like to get Acupuncture?

Your Licensed Acupuncturist will always do their best to make the acupuncture experience as pleasant as possible. You may or may not feel the needles go in. Common sensations during needle insertion include no sensation, a pinch, tapping, or dull achy throb.  While the Acupuncture needles are retained, there are a variety of responses.  The most common is a deep state of relaxation and sleep as a part of the body’s natural healing process. While the needles are retained, common sensations and experiences include dull, achy, throbbing, intense throbbing, internal sensations like stomach gurgling, gas moving, heat, and/or cold, deep relaxation, tiredness, sleep, snoring, and/or dreaming.  While these are general experiences, every person is different and your experience might be different.

It’s important to share with your Acupuncturist if you experience unpleasant sensations.  Inform your practitioner immediately if you experience constant burning or pinching lasting longer than 10 seconds or a sharp nervy pain that travels. These sensations are not expected to be part of your experience in the session and you should communicate.

 I want to try Acupuncture but I’m afraid of needles, can I still get treatment?

This is up to you.  Surprisingly, a lot of people who get Acupuncture regularly are afraid of needles, especially once they experience the effects of acupuncture.  Keep in mind that there is a big difference between hypodermic needles (designed to cut skin and inject substances) used for vaccines and filiform Acupuncture needles (symmetrical, solid, and designed for the least amount of pain).  Your Licensed Acupuncturist has had many years of training and practice and has the highest level of education for Acupuncture in the country and will make all attempts to make the process as pain-free as possible.  

What’s the difference between Dry Needling and Acupuncture?

Dry Needling is a term used by Physical Therapists, Chiropractors, or other healthcare professionals who have taken Dry Needling training. The definition of “Dry Needling” is not clearly defined but is often associated with the use of acupuncture needles (one-time use, sterilized stainless steel filiform needles) to stimulate tissues near areas of pain to positively affect the site of pain. Education requirements to practice Dry Needling range from a weekend class, upwards of 200-300 hours, in comparison to a Licensed Acupuncturist of a Chinese Medicine background who has studied Acupuncture for 3 or more years. If you look at the first evidence-based research on Dry Needling, most of the evidence used for mechanisms of action, treatment modality, and effectiveness came from Acupuncture studies. Dry Needling can be very therapeutic but also narrow in scope of practice for conditions outside of pain.

How should I prepare for my appointment?

Please make sure you are well-hydrated and have eaten something light before your appointment.  At the same time, please do not come having overeaten. Complete your intake form emailed to you after you made your appointment and schedule your appointment in your calendar so you don’t miss it!

What are the aftercare recommendations after I receive Acupuncture?

Your body will continue to integrate your treatment over the next 12-24 hours. The following aftercare instructions will allow you to receive the maximum benefits from your treatment:

  • Drink more water or non-caffeinated tea than usualStay hydrated with room temperature or warm beverages.  
  • Support your body’s ability to heal by eating easy-to-digest, whole foodssoups, well-cooked grains, cooked vegetables, well cooked low-fat meats.  
    • Suggested Foods
      • Steamed Vegetables
      • Fresh Fruit
      • Whole grains-rice, quinoa
      • Hormone-free animal products
      • Wild Fish
      • Miso soup
      • Bone broth soup
      • Light Soup
    • Foods to Avoid/Limit
      • High Fat & High Sugar foods (soda pop, desserts, candy)
      • Greasy/Deep-fried foods
      • Heavily processed foods (most pre-packaged foods)
      • Creamy sauces
      • Alcohol
      • Recreational drugs (edibles or smoked)
  • Listen to your body. Some people feel very relaxed and calm after treatment and want alone time, quiet time, or a nap.  Honor this if you can.  You may feel very energized like you have more energy than usual.  While it will be tempted to do more with this extra energy, please do not use it all up. 
Gua Sha & Cupping Aftercare Instructions
These treatments can leave discoloration on the skin. These red, purple or even bruise-like marks, called “Sha”, can last from several days to a couple of weeks.  Please take the time to show and explain these markings to anyone who may be concerned about your health. Taking a mineral or Epsom salt bath 3-5 hours after your treatment, or later that evening before bed, can help to diminish the marks (3-6 C mineral salts/Epsom salts to a tub of hot water).

Some things you can do to protect this newly exposed area:

  • Please follow the food guidelines above
  • Keep your markings covered to protect them from the elements (wind, cold, heat).  Keep your marks out of direct sunlight.  Avoid swimming in the ocean or cold water until the marks decrease significantly.
  • In the hours following your appointment, try not to physically exert yourself to the point of sweat ing profusely.

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