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Frequently Asked Questions


Q: What should I expect on my first visit?


During your first office visit, we spend a lot of time getting a complete picture of your health and lifestyle. The first visit can last from an hour to an hour and a half and is very important for the physician to get a clear and complete picture of your health to arrive at a comprehensive diagnosis essential to achieving excellent treatment results. A simple medical history form will be required for you to fill out so we can better assess your current condition. We will ask questions about various functions, energy levels, emotional state, and specific symptoms you may have. Unlike Western medicine, we treat the whole person instead of focusing on the symptoms of your condition. We will explain your treatment plan and what to expect from the treatment. As your acupuncture session comes to an end, we will discuss helpful take-home information pertaining to your condition that can assist your healing away from the clinic and schedule your next appointment.



Q: How should I prepare for treatment?


  • Arrive five to ten minutes early to unwind and relax.

  • Wear loose fitting or comfortable clothing that can be rolled above your knees and elbows to better access the acupuncture points.

  • Please do not come to an acupuncture treatment with an empty stomach, but do avoid eating a heavy meal one hour prior to treatment.

  • We will email you our new patient intake forms for you to complete prior to your first appointment.

  • Please bring your insurance ID card along with a photo ID if you wish for us to check for acupuncture coverage.



Q: How often would I need to come in for treatment?


We follow the 3 phases of care to make sure that what you are getting treated for can heal and you can enjoy long-lasting relief. The exact duration of your treatment varies case to case but generally depends on the condition/pain level, your basic level of health and how well you respond to acupuncture. Usually, frequent treatments are done for the first few weeks; after that, the frequency of treatment may be reduced as wellness is restored. Acute conditions generally will take fewer treatments to resolve, usually three to six. Chronic Conditions will take longer and may depend on the person. Optimal results occur with two to three treatments for three weeks. When you experience results, we will slowly decrease the treatments to one to two treatments per week, and eventually, taper off. Because each treatment builds on the last, we expect you to feel progressively better with each treatment. After your condition stabilizes or symptoms do not reappear, one treatment every one to two weeks will be sufficient to maintain the progress. Herbs are often prescribed to be taken in between treatments to address internal medical conditions and may be used on their own.


Q: What are the 3 phases of care?


Phase 1: Acute Care/Relief Care

  • If you are in pain or experiencing symptoms when you come into our office, the first objective is to help you feel better. We will customize a plan of action for you to start feeling better as quickly as possible.

Phase 2: Maintenance Care

  • During the corrective care phase, your bodies systems are allowed to heal more completely, thereby helping to prevent future injury, discomfort, and illness. It is typical to follow up once or twice a week, depending on your overall health and the severity of your problem. Any injury or illness that is unrelated to your original and primary problem can be addressed in your follow up visits.

Phase 3: Wellness and Preventive Care

  • Once your body has fully healed, it is important to come in for periodic treatments or follow-ups to avoid problems in the future, check your progress, and answer any new questions you may have. This is designed to undo the daily stressors of life and to address common causes of injury such as too much sitting or repetitive movements.

Pasadena Chen's Acupuncture & Wellness Center


Q: Does acupuncture hurt?


This is the most common question asked about acupuncture because many people associate needles with pain. Acupuncture needles are about the thickness of a cat’s whisker as opposed to the hypodermic needles people usually think about when they hear needle. In fact, about 40 acupuncture needles can fit into the tip of one standard 18 gauge hypodermic needle! Because the acupuncture needles are so thin, they are virtually painless when inserted. There are some areas of the body that will always be more sensitive including the fingers, toes, and palms, but it's generally nothing more than a quick little prick. After insertion, you will then usually feel a unique sensation that can vary from achy, to tingling, to heaviness, to warmth, or nothing at all; this is the body basically starting its “healing work.” Each person’s experience is different, so if you ask your practitioner they will explain to you what is going on. Should you experience any discomfort, inform the practitioner, and they will adjust the needles accordingly. By the time all the needles are inserted, you generally do not feel any of them and are consumed with a sense of calm relaxation.


Q: Is acupuncture safe?


Acupuncture is very safe when practiced by a Licensed Acupuncturist. Acupuncture needles are extremely safe because they are pre-sterilized, individually packaged, and for single use only. Acupuncture treatment needles are NEVER reused. Another reason acupuncture is safe is unlike surgeries or medications there are no side effects. It is safe and natural health care.


Q: How much training do acupuncturists need?


  • Licensed acupuncturists (L.Ac) complete an average of 3,100 hours of master’s level training. This consists of on-site training at a nationally accredited school or college of acupuncture.

  • An additional 960 hours clinical practice is required.

  • Required to pass a national board exam in acupuncture in order to become licensed (NCCAOM/California Acupuncture Board Certification).

  • Required to complete regular continuing education units to maintain certification and license to practice medicine



Q.  What does acupuncture treat?


Acupuncture is extremely successful in the treatment of a multitude of conditions. The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified approximately 43 diseases that are effectively treated with acupuncture.  However, Chinese Medicine is a complete medical system that is capable of diagnosing and effectively treating a wide range of conditions including: 


  • Acute & chronic musculoskeletal disorders

  • Neurological disorders – headache, migraine, Bell’s palsy, post-stroke symptoms, trigeminal neuralgia, carpal tunnel syndrome, and neuropathy

  • Gastrointestinal disorders – gastritis, constipation/diarrhea, indigestion, IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), hemorrhoids

  • Respiratory disorders – common cold, sinusitis, seasonal allergies, bronchitis, asthma, rhinitis

  • Gynecological disorders – PMS (premenstrual syndrome), PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome), irregular menstruation, fertility enhancement, menopause symptoms, 

  • Cardiovascular disorders – circulatory problems; hypertension, palpitations, poor circulation

  • Emotional disorders – stress, anxiety, insomnia, depression

  • Weight Loss

  • Fatigue

  • Cancer treatment support

  • Smoking cessation

  • Preventive medicine & wellness maintenance



Q. How does acupuncture work?


Systemic balance is critical to one's health and wellness, in western medicine this is known as homeostasis.  Any imbalance can result in disorders such as pain, injury, insomnia, digestive issues, stress, gynecological disorders, allergies, depression, colds and a myriad of other complications.  Acupuncture helps restore one's natural balance so organs and bodily systems can work together in harmony.  This sets the stage for the body to repair itself and maintain its own optimal health. 

From a Western medicine perspective, research has shown that acupuncture treatment triggers different physiological responses, such as:


  • Releasing of endorphins and natural opioids to alleviate pain.

  • Affecting both the brain’s short- and long-term ability to reduce pain sensation.

  • Stimulating the immune system and increasing white blood cells, which defend the body against infection.

  • Regulating blood sugar metabolism, which helps the body use energy more efficiently.

  • Increasing blood circulation and producing beneficial changes in blood pressure; Decreasing cholesterol and triglycerides.

  • Increasing stomach peristaltic activity and regulating digestive fluids, thereby improving digestion.

  • Regulating and stimulating serotonin, a neurotransmitter that is directly related to sleep, appetite, and moods.

  • Increasing the availability of receptors in the brain that process and weaken pain signals.


For more details go to the ​ABOUT ACUPUNCTURE section.


Q. Does insurance cover acupuncture?


We accept most PPO Insurances and will gladly check your insurance coverage for acupuncture care.  If you have insurance coverage for acupuncture, we will bill your insurance for you as part of our services. In addition, acupuncture and herbs are also covered by most FSA & HSA accounts.

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