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Sacramento Boomer

On Point: All You Need to Know About Acupuncture

The fear of needles is a common phobia but it shouldn’t stop you from trying acupuncture, a key component of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). “Acupuncture is the use of fine, filiform—meaning thread-like—needles—inserted into the body to bring change to a person’s health,” explains Wendy Stedeford, MSAOM, LAc, at Wendy Stedeford Acupuncture in El Dorado Hills. “Filiform needles are solid and sometimes as thin as a single human hair.”

Rosie McNeilly, LAc, owner of El Dorado Community Acupuncture in Shingle Springs, wants you to know that acupuncture is a process. “If you’re seeking treatment for a long-standing problem, I recommend committing to at least 10 treatments to give [it] a fair shot at making a difference. Coming in for a single treatment is a bit like taking one vitamin or doing one workout—it’s probably good for you, but you won’t notice any big results unless you stick with it.” 

If you’re on the fence about acupuncture, here are seven reasons why you should give it a try.



Whether you’re recovering from an injury or suffering from chronic pain, acupuncture can help. Emiko Okabe, LAc, owner of Sakura Acupuncture in Folsom, says treatments shorten the time required to heal from trauma. “Acupuncture treatments are helpful for acute or chronic pain, such as neck pain, tennis elbow, frozen shoulder, back pain, bursitis, tendonitis, sciatica, and carpal tunnel syndrome, or trauma from sprains, strains, bruises, or bone fractures.”


Patients receiving regular acupuncture treatments report benefits like improved energy and better digestion. “Acupuncture engages the parasympathetic nervous system, encouraging the body to ease into its natural ‘rest-and-digest’ healing state,” McNeilly says. “Since many people are chronically stressed, their bodies are stuck in fight-or-flight mode almost all the time. This constant stress erodes mental and physical health, and acupuncture is a great antidote.”

Okabe adds, “Acupuncture alleviates causative factors to poor mental health, [including] psychosomatic issues of insomnia, mild depression, anxiety, stress, irritability, and fatigue.”


“The health benefits of acupuncture are far-reaching,” says Jennifer Niemeyer, DAOM, LAc, MSAOM, owner of The Root Wellness in Roseville. “We balance your body by stimulating the central nervous system and your immune system to allow the body to heal itself. The possibilities are endless, and it’s also great to use as prevention to keep from getting sick.”


Want to look a bit younger without going under the knife? “Facial acupuncture is amazing for fine lines, wrinkles, and skin tone,” says Lise Vernasco, LAc, Dipl OM, acupuncturist and owner of Downtown/Midtown Sacramento Acupuncture. “The great thing about acupuncture is that we treat the whole body, so if you come to me for a facial, I can help you with other health concerns at the same time. Come in for back pain and leave with improved sleep!”


Okabe says acupuncture can treat neurological issues, including headaches and migraines; respiratory issues, like hay fever, allergies, sinusitis, and asthma; and gynecological issues, such as irregular menstruation, PMS, and infertility. Whatever the concern, there’s probably a treatment for it. 


Acupuncture can stand on its own or work really well with all other health interventions. “We work great as team members for many kinds of health challenges, such as cancer,” Stedeford says. “Acupuncture can help to alleviate the potential negative side effects of other therapies, such as chemo or radiation. [We] work as a team if the patient is also using Western medicine interventions.”


Acupuncture will help you experience a deeper feeling of calm even if you are anxious about trying it. “The first time people receive a treatment, they can be a little nervous because it’s a new experience,” says Vernasco. “But after they figure out everything is OK, they can relax deeply. Much like exercise and meditation, acupuncture helps with stress relief. All you have to do is relax on the table—no other effort is required.”


Some people decide to try acupuncture only after they’ve tried everything else. What is really important to your healing is finding the right acupuncturist for you. “Whatever challenges a person is experiencing, the acupuncturist finds the pattern and always treats what is manifesting,” Stedeford explains. “They say a poor acupuncturist only treats the manifesting symptoms a person has; a good acupuncturist treats the reasons why those symptoms are manifesting.”

By Kourtney Jason