What is Traditional Chinese Medicine?

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a comprehensive, extensively utilized stand-alone system of medicine that originated in China over 5,000 years ago. Acupuncture, although arguably the most recognized aspect of TCM, is just one of the facets at the practitioner’s disposal. TCM encompasses other modalities in addition to needling, including carefully crafted Chinese herbal remedies, Chinese style therapeutic massage (Tui-Na), cupping, moxibustion, and Gua Sha.

Acupuncture & TCM take a holistic, or whole-body approach to health. This means your acupuncturist will take into account your whole self, not just your symptoms, in order to get to the root of your health concerns.

What is acupuncture & how does it work?

Acupuncture is the insertion of hair-thin needles in certain points along “channels” of the body to evoke a response alerting the body to release chemical and electrical messages. Whenever anything happens to your body – stress, poor diet, a poor night’s sleep, trauma, whatever it is – the nervous system can easily be thrown out of whack. Everything inside becomes imbalanced which can cause any possible symptom. Acupuncture taps into the nervous system and brain waves to balance out whatever is “out of whack”. Once the nervous system and brain waves are in harmony, the body can properly function and begin to heal itself. Acupuncture sets the body into healing.

Is Acupuncture Safe?

The simple answer to this question is yes! It has been used for well over 2500 years to help billions of people to get well and stay healthy, all without drugs and surgery.   Only disposable needles are used at Phoenix Rising Acupuncture.  It is important that only a Licensed Acupuncturist perform acupuncture.

Generally, acupuncture does not hurt; it is rare to find an acupuncturist who uses the motto “no pain, no gain”. An acupuncture needle, which is the diameter of a strand of hair, provides a sensation much different from the hypodermic needles many of us have grown accustomed to fearing at the doctor’s office. Typical sensations reported from acupuncture include a feeling of “heaviness”, “warmth”, or “tingling”; surprisingly, most people experience a welcomed state of relaxation during their treatment.

Lori Earley, the Licensed Acupuncturist at Phoenix Rising Acupuncture, uses the highest quality needles with a gentle technique to ensure the most pain-free, comfortable, and relaxing experience.

Do acupuncture needles hurt?

Not all acupuncturists are created equal. “Certified acupuncturists” or “acupuncture specialists”, including some medical doctors, chiropractors, and physical therapists, typically receive very few hours of acupuncture education with no hands on training. Licensed Acupuncturists have completed a four-year Master’s Degree in Oriental Medicine from a nationally accredited college of acupuncture. Training includes over 2,000 hours of TCM specific education, with an extensive biomedicine portion, in addition to 1 – 2 years of supervised clinical experience. It is important to understand the difference in order to ensure maximum safety and effectiveness of acupuncture treatments. The key is to look for “L.Ac.,” which stands for “Licensed Acupuncturist”. Licensed Acupuncturists must successfully pass several national board exams as well as fulfill state and local requirements. Don’t be afraid to ask a practitioner for their credentials; it is crucial that you feel confident in your provider’s qualifications and skill level.

How can I be sure my acupuncturist is qualified?

Usually, a series of treatments is needed to resolve an issue. The length of treatment depends on how long the condition has been present and how quickly the patient responds to treatment. Generally, for an acute condition, the patient responds more quickly. For chronic conditions, it is estimated that for every year the patient has suffered from the condition, it takes about that many months for the condition to be resolved. However, there are no guarantees, and there are cases in which patients respond more quickly. Typically, a series of 6-12 acupuncture treatments are required, then the health of a patient will be re-evaluated.

How many treatments will I need?

Leading national and international health organizations, including the National Institutes of Health and the World Health Organization, recognize acupuncture to be effective in the treatment of a variety of medical problems including:

Genitourinary Conditions

  • Incontinence
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Nocturnal enuresis (bedwetting)
  • Sexual dysfunction


  • Depression
  • Stress & Anxiety
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Seasonal affective disorder
  • Insomnia
  • Eating disorders


  • Headaches & Migraines
  • Dizziness
  • Neuropathy
  • Bell’s palsy
  • Arthritis
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Fibromyalgia/chronic fatigue
  • Low Back Pain


  • Acne
  • Rashes
  • Psoriasis
  • Hives
  • Eczema

Respiratory, Ear, Nose & Throat

  • Colds and Flu
  • Allergies
  • Asthma
  • Sinusitis
  • Post nasal drip
  • Dry Eyes
  • Fluid in Ears
  • Recurrent Ear Infections
  • Tonsillitis


  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Colitis
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Acid Reflux/ GERD
  • Gas/Abdominal bloating
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Ulcers
  • Nausea/Vomiting
  • Weight Loss/Weight Gain


  • Diabetes
  • Thyroid Conditions


  • Hair Loss
  • Healing from surgery
  • Smoking Cessation & Addictions
  • Thyroid conditions

One of the most powerful aspects of acupuncture is that it is highly individualized and specific to any given patient’s condition at different points in time. There is no “one size fits all”; it is a dynamic and fluid medical treatment that adapts beautifully to changing conditions.

What can acupuncture help treat?

Answer: Some insurance companies cover acupuncture treatment and they stipulate that the practitioner be NCCAOM certified. In addition, a majority of flexible accounting spending plans will cover acupuncture. It is recommended to call your insurance carrier to verify coverage and discuss options. Phoenix Rising Acupuncture does not accept insurance; however, Flexible Spending Accounts and Health Savings Accounts are welcomed.

Will Acupuncture Be Covered Through My Insurance?

Initial visits generally last 60-90 minutes. Your acupuncturist will take a detailed health history, perform a physical exam, and provide you with a unique treatment plan.

During your first exam, your acupuncturist will spend time getting to know you and your health concerns. You may be asked a wide range of questions about your symptoms, your diet, your sleep and exercise habits, emotional states and anything that may offer insight into your health.

Once your acupuncturist has gathered enough information, you will receive a comprehensive diagnosis and a treatment plan that will explain:

  • Your underlying imbalances
  • Your treatment plan, including the timeline of care
  • What types of treatment you will receive

It is important to eat before an acupuncture treatment, and it is best to wear loose clothing to each appointment.

What should I expect during my first acupuncture visit?