Explore our collection of commonly asked questions. If you don’t find what you’re looking for, don’t hesitate to reach out to us directly.

Acupuncture is the strategic placement of thin, stainless steel, single-use needles into specific points on the body that correspond to meridians or pathways. These stimulation points are called acupuncture points or acupoints. Traditional Chinese medicine holds that there are 365 commonly used acupuncture points on 20 meridians on the human body.
The bigger picture- Acupuncture acts on the central nervous system to activate the ‘rest and digest’ response of the parasympathetic nervous system, which maintains long-term health and a healthy balance across all body functions.

The parasympathetic nervous system affects the same bodily functions as the sympathetic nervous system (aka- fight or flight response), but in a completely different way. It works to slow down certain responses and bring about a state of calm to the body, allowing it to rest, relax and repair itself.

Conversely, when the sympathetic nervous system is activated (stress response), the body simply cannot prioritize healing or reproduction- it is focused on survival instead. Blood is shunted away from the internal organs and brain, towards the limbs, so you can “run away from the lion” or other perceived threat.

At a cellular level- research has shown that we are increasing the intracellular concentration of ATP to improve cellular function and health. We are essentially creating a ‘micro-trauma’ to the body at a specific point, where the body then responds by sending its resources along specific pathways to initiate healing. This results in an activation of the immune system, improved circulation and local repair (the body lays down collagen and elastin).

Each point has its own actions, which can be amplified when used in combination with other points. We can strengthen specific organ systems, improve detoxification pathways, fortify our inner resources and improve communication along the feedback loop between the body and the brain. Research has shown that acupuncture can help to reduce inflammation and regulate hormones to achieve optimal health. This is why we experience deep restful sleep, positive mood, high energy, smooth digestion, glowing skin, increased productivity and mental acuity after receiving regular acupuncture treatments!

Good to know- Acupuncture is dose-dependent and the effect is cumulative, meaning that each session builds upon the last. You can’t have treatments too close together, but you can have them too far apart- the result being that you may lose any ground gained and end up starting at square one again. The more consistent and close together your treatments are scheduled- the better and longer-lasting the results will be. The correct treatment ‘dosage’ will vary between persons. Normally, when treating an active or stubborn condition, we typically treat 1-2 times per week until it starts to resolve, then we can scale back to weekly, then every two weeks, then eventually once per month or ‘as needed’ for general maintenance. As a rule, if symptoms are arising before your next treatment, it’s possible that you’ve left it too long and a tighter treatment schedule is recommended. Everyone is different and may respond differently. Your practitioner will make recommendations based on your specific health concerns.

1. Acupuncture improves blood flow

The main order of business in supporting reproduction is to ensure your reproductive organs are receiving adequate nourishment. Stress and/or aging can lead to a decline in blood flow to the ovaries and uterus. Acupuncture can increase blood flow  by slowing down (or “down-regulating”) the nervous system (central sympathetic nervous system) which then causes the blood vessels to dilate. Once dilated, they release a flood of nutrient dense blood to the ovaries and uterus. Increased ovarian blood flow may help with response to fertility medications. Increased uterine blood flow ensures a thick uterine lining and creates an ideal environment for implantation. Better response, better eggs, better lining.

2. Acupuncture reduces stress

Undergoing fertility treatments can cause a profound impact on your stress levels – acupuncture can help reduce stress. Research shows that when acupuncture needles are placed in the skin, the body releases its own natural pain killers (endorphins). Endorphins are responsible for the relaxed feeling one gets after a session. It causes your muscles to relax, your breathing to slow, and your mind to calm. We call it “acu-bliss”. This blissful benefit from acupuncture was cited by IVF patients as helping them feel more relaxed during their fertility treatment, and as a result, also feel more “in control”.

3) Acupuncture improves your odds of having a baby with IVF

The ultimate goal is to have a healthy mother and baby and to give yourself the best chance of success. The acupuncture and IVF research is a little confusing, even after consulting two of the larger analyses, from Mannheimer, and Cheong, respectively. In some studies, acupuncture performed on the day the embryo is placed back in the uterus improved pregnancy rates when compared to a control, while in other studies investigators saw no difference in pregnancy rates. How can we explain this? I think we are looking at the wrong “dose” of acupuncture. Just like the amount of gonadotropins is important to ensuring egg development, so is the dose of acupuncture. In Lee Hullender Rubin’s  published research, she looked at five years of data on women who did IVF alone and compared that with women who added acupuncture on the day of embryo transfer and women who had acupuncture during their IVF cycles, around 13 to 15 sessions. The women who added more acupuncture sessions were twice as likely to have a baby compared to women who did IVF alone, and 60% more likely when compared with women who just had two acupuncture treatments on the day of embryo transfer. Acupuncture helped their IVF outcomes. The key difference was that patients received more treatment.

There are many common sensations associated with acupuncture, such as tingling, numbing, warm feeling, feeling of circulation or movement along a pathway, throbbing, feeling of a bit of a prick as it passes through the top layer of skin (where the pain-receptors are). Usually, these sensations are quite subtle and can be interesting to track in the body as you rest. Oftentimes, there is no sensation at all. There should not be any pain- please communicate with your practitioner if you feel pain or discomfort during acupuncture. Sensations will likely be more intense if you are currently on your period, pregnant, experiencing a lot of tension or emotional unrest. Again, please discuss with your practitioner if you are feeling especially sensitive so that they can make any necessary adjustments to make sure you are as comfortable as possible.

Yes! Acupuncture practiced by a ‘Registered Acupuncturist’ (R.Ac) or ‘Registered Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner’ (R.TCMP) is considered to be extremely safe. In most cases, these registered practitioners have at least 3-5 years of training, including at least 1-3 years of hands-on practice in a student clinic setting.

  • A holistic approach to reproductive medicine that may include conventional therapies, drugs and/or procedures or surgeries when necessary.
  • Virtually always involves multidisciplinary care, often with OB/GYN’s, REI’s, endocrinologists and Primary Care Physician’s.
  • Demands practitioner fluency in conventional reproductive medical procedures, medications, ART (assisted reproductive technologies), anatomy and physiology of the reproductive, nervous, and endocrine systems in addition to our own modalities.
  • Requires fluency in western pathophysiology of disease pathomechanisms pertaining to the neuroendocrine and reproductive systems.

There are many factors to consider. Your practitioner will make an individualized treatment plan based on your particular needs and health goals. While each person is different, a general recommendation is to come in for treatment 1-2 times per week until the condition improves, then scale back to weekly, then every two weeks, then eventually once per month or ‘as needed’ for general maintenance. As a general rule, if symptoms are arising before your next treatment, it’s possible that you’ve gone a bit too long without treatment and a tighter treatment schedule is recommended.

In fertility care, a dedication to weekly treatments for at least 3 months prior to IUI/IVF is recommended. Each case is different and there are several determining factors.

In pregnancy care, seek treatments as necessary throughout pregnancy, for the relief of nausea and vomiting, threatened miscarriage, fatigue, low back pain, anxiety, heartburn, constipation, hip/pelvic pain, hypertension, gestational diabetes, hemorrhoids, stress, anxiety, poor sleep, edema. The treatment schedule during the third trimester should include more frequent visits to help prepare for labor and delivery, including taking steps to prevent and manage conditions that commonly arise during the third trimester.

In most cases, it is recommended that both partners receive treatment. The fertility journey can cause a great deal of stress, anxiety and even depression. It can impact sleep patterns and digestion, energy levels, sex drive and more. Acupuncture can help anyone struggling with these obstacles, to improve quality of life, emotional resiliency, the relationship itself and one’s outlook on the future. If both partners are contributing genetic material, it is important that both partners are involved in the process of receiving on-going care, ideally for the 100 days leading up to conception, whether naturally or through IVF. If there are no fertility concerns whatsoever, and no mental/ emotional struggle, stress or other concerns, it is still recommended that the partner receive an initial assessment and at least 3 treatments.

Yes! In the hands of a well-trained practitioner, acupuncture has much broader applications beyond pain relief. The World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes the use of acupuncture in the treatment of a wide range of common illnesses including:

Upper Respiratory System 

  • Acute sinusitis
  • Acute rhinitis
  • Common Cold and Flu
  • Acute tonsillitis
  • Respiratory System
  • Acute bronchitis
  • Bronchial asthma (Most effective in children and uncomplicated conditions.)

Eye Disorders

  • Acute conjunctivitis
  • Central Retinitis Myopia (in children)
  • Cataracts (without complications)

Mouth Disorders

  • Toothache
  • Post Extraction Pain
  • Gingivitis
  • Acute and Chronic Pharyngitis

Gastrointestinal Disorders

  • Spasms of esophagus
  • Hiccough
  • Gastroptosis
  • Acute and Chronic Gastritis
  • Gastric Hyperacidity
  • Chronic Duodenal Ulcer (pain relief)
  • Acute Duodenal Ulcer (without complications)
  • Acute and Chronic Colitis
  • Acute Bacillary Dysentery
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Paralytic Ileus

Neurologic and Musculoskeletal Disorders

  • Headache and Migraine
  • Trigeminal Neuralgias
  • Facial Palsy (early stage, i.e., within 3-6 months)
  • Paresis Following a Stroke
  • Peripheral Neuropathies
  • Sequelae of Poliomyelitis (early stage, i.e., within 6 months)
  • Meniere’s Disease
  • Neurogenic Bladder Dysfunction
  • Nocturnal Enuresis (bedwetting)
  • Intercostal Neuralgia
  • Cervicobrachial Syndrome
  • Frozen Shoulder
  • Sciatica
  • Low Back Pain
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Back and Knee Pain
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Sports Injuries and Pains

Reproductive & Gynecological Conditions

  • Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
  • Dysmenorrhea (menstrual cramps)
  • Spotting and Excessive Bleeding
  • Amenorrhea (Loss of Menstrual Period)
  • Impotence
  • Infertility
  • Incontinence
  • Prostatitis

Mental Emotional Problems

  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • ADHD
  • PTSD

Moxibustion is a form of heat therapy in which mugwort (a commonly used herb) is burned on (direct moxibustion) or near (indirect moxibustion) the skin. The purpose of moxibustion is to heat acupuncture points in order to stimulate the flow of qi, strengthen the blood and further activate the acupoint.

There are two types of direct moxibustion: scarring and non-scarring. In the procedure of scarring moxibustion, the moxa is placed on an acupuncture point, burned and remains on the skin until it burns out completely. In the procedure of non-scarring moxibustion, the moxa is placed on an acupuncture point, burned, but extinguished or removed before it burns the skin. * We do NOT practice scarring moxa at The Acupuncture Oasis.

There are several forms of indirect moxibustion. One method is to light one end of a moxa stick and hold it close to the acupuncture point for a few minutes until the area is sufficiently warmed and stimulated. Another method uses both acupuncture needles and moxa. A needle is inserted into an acupuncture point and retained. A protective layer of cream is applied, then a tiny piece of moxa is burned at the base of the needle in order to activate the point. Usually, this is repeated 3-5 times.

Moxa for breech presentation: This is usually done before 35 weeks. A skilled practitioner will apply moxa to the outer corner of the pinky toenail. A specific protocol is used and we will share it with you so that you can continue care at home. Supplies and instructions will be supplied.

Discover the Healing Benefits of Acupuncture & Traditional Chinese Medicine