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Acupuncture FAQs

How does acupuncture work?
Acupuncture encourages the body to heal itself. It stimulates the central nervous system and causes chemicals to be released into the muscles, the spinal cord and the brain. These biochemical changes stimulate the body’s natural healing abilities, promoting physical and emotional wellbeing.

Does acupuncture hurt?
Acupuncture shouldn’t hurt when done by a trained professional. The needles are very thin – only about the width of a single strand of hair. There may be discomfort at the insertion (similar to a mosquito bite), but this lasts only a moment. A common sensation experienced during acupuncture is called deqi. Deqi is tingling, numbness, heaviness or other feelings that occur after the needle is properly placed in the body. Certain areas of the body may be more sensitive on some individuals.

What kind of needles do you use?
At St. Luke’s, we use pre-sterilized single-use needles. They are as thin as a strand of hair (.16mm - .25mm), making the acupuncture process painless for most people.

What can I expect at an acupuncture session?
The first time you see your acupuncturist, they will discuss the reason for your visit and your treatment goals. They will also talk through your overall health, diet, sleep and stress levels. After that, you will lie down on a massage table and needles will be inserted into 20 to 30 acupuncture points. Then, you’ll have a chance to relax for around 20 to 25 minutes with the needles inserted. The lights will be dimmed and calming music will be played to create a relaxing atmosphere. A lot of people even fall asleep! Then, the needles will be removed.

How often do I need to come in?
Acupuncture tends to be most effective with a series of follow-up sessions that occur weekly or every 2 weeks.

What do you treat?
Acupuncture can address both acute and chronic pain, headaches, inflammation, hormone imbalances and indigestion. It can also be used to support the immune system, balance emotional health, lower the body’s stress response and relax muscles.

What training does an acupuncturist have?
Becoming a licensed acupuncturist (L.Ac.) requires completing a Master’s degree. This involves three to four years of coursework followed by clinical training. St. Luke’s licensed acupuncturist Kristina Polzin has a three-year Master’s degree in Oriental Medicine and is board certified by the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice. Before coming to St. Luke’s, she had a private practice in Duluth for 8 years.

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