Frequently Asked Questions

How widely accepted is acupuncture in the United States?
In 1997 at the Consensus Development Conference on Acupuncture, held at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), it has been reported that acupuncture is being “widely” practiced by thousands of physicians, dentists, acupuncturists, and other practitioners for relief or prevention of pain and for various other health conditions. According to the 2002 National Health Interview Survey, an estimated 8.2 million U.S. adults have used acupuncture, and an estimated 2.1 million U.S. adults had used acupuncture in the previous year.

Is acupuncture safe?
Acupuncture is a safe procedure. Acupuncture needles were approved by The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1996. The FDA requires that at all times sterile, disposable, nontoxic needles are to be used and labeled for single use only. In addition, unlike some western medicine and treatments, acupuncture is absent of serious side effects.

Is acupuncture safe for pregnant women as well?
Acupuncture has not been reported to have side effects on pregnant women, with respect to complications such as miscarriages etc.  In fact, acupuncture has been reported as a safe and effective treatment for morning sickness, insomnia, lower back pain, breach presentation and inducing labor.

Does acupuncture hurt?
You may feel a slight pinching, tingling, heaviness or warmth at the  needle site or traveling up and down the affected meridian pathway. This is normal, and in fact can be seen as a good sign- meaning that is mild and will rapidly go away. If this is not the case, please notify us so certain adjustments can be made.

Even patients taking anticoagulants can receive acupuncture?
Yes.  You are not at risk if  you take an anti-coagulation medication, and concurrently receive acupuncture, because the needles aren’t
aimed at the blood vessels.  However, upon removal of the needles,we will pay special attention to the recently inserted area to make sure there is no bleeding.

What should I expect during my first visit?
Before your first visit, feel free (we highly recommend it) to attend a Cornerstone Acupuncture informational seminar in order to learn
more about acupuncture, its abilities, meet our current or previous
patients  (if available), learn more about me, Dr. Ma, and my work, and
ascertain if our personalities are compatible.During your first office visit, we will, firstly, discuss at length your medical history, and may perform a physical examination. Secondly, we will discuss your necessary treatment plan (prognosis, progression, duration and frequency of treatments). Thirdly, you will  receive your first acupuncture treatment. In total, consultation and procedure, will take approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Is there anything I should do during my first treatment?
Relax and enjoy the treatment.  Try not to move excessively  during the session. If uncomfortable, please notify us, we are here to assist you. 

Is there anything I should do before engaging in acupuncture treatment?

Acupuncture etiquette is the following:

Try to relax. There is nothing to be afraid of. If you have any pressing concerns about the treatment please be sure to
address it to us beforehand. Do not come to an acupuncture session on an empty stomach. Dizziness or fainting can occur during or after treatment

Are there certain people who should not undergo acupuncture?

Acupuncture is practically for everyone. However, a patient with certain medical conditions, such as a low platelet count, or is undergoing (or recently undergone) radiation or surgery, must please inform us so that we can develop an appropriate treatment strategy specifically for

What to expect after treatment and what are some common side effects of acupuncture?

After treatment you will feel relaxed and experience a sense of well-being. Side effects and after-effects from acupuncture are
actually quite rare. The most common after-effect is, one, drowsiness and light headed-ness possibly when you first get up. This is due to the fact that acupuncture has the capability of releasing large amounts of endorphins. This after-effect is normal and usually
disappears after 10 minutes. And two, a slight sensation where the needles were inserted. This sensation will soon disappear as well.

The most common side-effect from acupuncture can be, one, slight bruising and, or, minimal bleeding. Bleeding after needle removal will dissipate in a matter of seconds. If bruising does occur, it will disappear in a few days. And two, slight pain and discomfort on body, which will no longer be the case after a day.

Pneumothorax, an extremely rare condition, can result from acupuncture.

There is no need to feel discouraged from receiving further treatment if the common side-effects mentioned above were to take place.

“My hair has stopped falling out and has started to fill back in, and my thyroid levels are close to normal!  I doubt I would have seen these changes if I continued the course of treatment recommended by my endocrinologist and dermatologist.  I truly believe the turnaround in my health is attributable to Dr. Ma.”

Marianne G.

Meniere's Disease, New York, NY

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