What is acupuncture? Acupuncture is the placing of needles into points on the body to treat physical, mental, and emotional conditions. Acupuncture was first mentioned in the Chinese classic called the Neijing, which is said to have been written somewhere between the Warring States period and the Han dynasty. Acupuncture needles have also been excavated in tombs in China as early as 200 B.C. As acupuncturists today, we use single-use filiform stainless steel needles; occasionally a practitioner many choose to use a golden or silver needle. When receiving acupuncture, you might expect a sharp or dull aching sensation where your acupuncturist has inserted the needle. If anything is uncomfortable, be in communication with your provider and advocate for what works best for you. If acupuncture is not desired or is contraindicated, the use of acupressure, tuning forks on the selected points, teishin application, and much more can be used as alternatives. There are some risks when receiving acupuncture such as bruising at the insertion site and minor bleeding. Some more serious risks include what we call needle shock, which can be described as feelings similar to the symptoms experienced before fainting (lightheadedness, cold sweating, etc…); needle shock can most likely occur if one has not eaten before their treatment or is dehydrated, be sure to eat something before your appointment. A collapsed lung, otherwise known as pneumothorax, is a very rare occurrence and can happen naturally and spontaneously outside of the acupuncture setting. Still it warrants mentioning so that you are well informed – be aware if you experience shortness of breath, chest pain, cough, and fatigue as these can be signs of a collapsed lung. If you have any questions or concerns before you receive acupuncture, be sure to talk with your provider. So you may ask again, what is acupuncture? Acupuncture is a wonderful healing art that can facilitate so much healing. I would encourage you to give it a try if you haven’t experienced it before!