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Frequently Asked QUESTIONS

What are the Qualifications for a Licensed Acupuncturist (LAC) in Colorado?


Caleb Gates is a Licensed Acupuncturist in Colorado has NCCAOM certification and is a graduate of The Colorado School for Traditional Chinese Medicine. The designation of licensed acupuncturist (L.AC) in Colorado is awarded by  DORA, a state regulatory board. Most states including Colorado require the passing of the NCCAOM (National Certification Commission for Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine) examinations as a requirement for licensure to practice acupuncture. Eligibility to sit for the national exams requires a minimum of 1500 hours study in an accredited school of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine.


Is Acupuncture Safe?


One of the most striking aspects of acupuncture is the almost complete absence of adverse effects and complications from its use. Most patients find that the treatments are relaxing and cause minimal discomfort. Acupuncture is a safe technique, provided that practitioners are properly trained and follow appropriate techniques. Practitioners of acupuncture use single-use, sterile disposable needles and have been trained regarding precautions and contraindications to acupuncture. The York Acupuncture Safety Study, a prospective study of 34,407 acupuncture treatments found no serious adverse effects and only 43 cases of minor adverse effects, the most common of which were nausea and fainting.

It is important to inform the practitioner about your medical history, medications, and if you are pregnant or could possibly be pregnant, as acupuncture treatment may have to be modified or may not be appropriate.


How big are the needles and does acupuncture hurt?


Most patients experience little or no pain as very fine, sterile, disposable needles are used. Acupuncture needles are so thin, you can actually fit around 40-50 acupuncture needles into the head of a needle typically used for injections and are often compared to the thickness of a strand of hair! They are designed to pass through the skin.


Patients often use words like this to describe the sensation: pressure, warmth and tingling, ” Sometimes they say, “this feels amazing. I am so relaxed!” Most people find the experience calming, and some even fall asleep during sessions.



What is the difference between Dry Needling  and Acupuncture?


While dry needling is a form of acupuncture, there are still many differences. Dry needling is simply a style of needle manipulation using trigger points in muscles and is a one dimensional approach versus the approach a Licensed Acupuncturist employs which uses points on the hands and feet to balance intricate yin and yang relationships of the meridians and organs. Traditional acupuncture has been using trigger points as a source of pain relief for years. However, sometimes needling only the exact pain location can cause more pain.  Dry Needling Practitioners (PT’s, chiropractors, and even MD’s) have less training than a Licensed Acupuncturist and often will use large manipulation techniques with the needles, which can cause discomfort to the patient resulting in  a more painful experience.


What should I do before an Acupuncture Treatment?

If you have not eaten for more than six hours before your appointment, eat a light meal at least 30 minutes  prior to treatment. Hydrate before your treatment. Avoid alcohol, tobacco, food or drinks that color your tongue (such as coffee) 30 minutes before your treatment. Avoid Vigorous exercise or sexual activity within the hour before treatment

Please also avoid the use of perfumes, colognes or strongly scented cosmetics. You should continue to take any prescribed medications on schedule.


What Activities should I avoid after Acupuncture?


Strenuous physical activities should be avoided for at least two hours after treatment.

A good feeling after acupuncture should not be mistaken for full recovery. Be sure that you have regained your strength and stamina before “overdoing it” or engaging in any activities that you were unable to perform before your acupuncture treatments.


Acupuncture needle placement is done skillfully and precisely.


Questions about Acupuncture


Acupuncture can result in immediate pain and symptom relief.  However,  acute or chronic symptoms can take more time to start shifting. Each Acupuncture treatment has a cumulative effect. So if the intensity and frequency of symptoms is decreasing, this signifies acupuncture is working.


While treating  the root cause of your chief complaint you may notice some positive benefits along the way. “Side Effects” may include more energy, better sleep, improved digestion, decreased stress, and more capacity to perform. Often other unrelated ailments  will improve, as acupuncture balances the whole body.

How Does Acupuncture Work?


Acupuncture points stimulate our bio-electric body,  which activates our sensory nerves by sending signals via nerve reflex zones and the meridians/channels which stimulate all our organs, the immune system, nerves, muscles, brain and especially the Hypothalamic Pituitary-Adrenal Axis (HPAA), which is involved in our fight, flight and freeze response.


Acupuncture can reduce a stress response of the HPAA and stimulate the HPAA to release neurotransmitters and endorphins, the body's natural pain killing hormones that are at least 33% more potent than morphine. Endorphins play a significant role in the hormonal system. Thus acupuncture is effective for a myriad of health issues such as pain, PMS and stress. 


Acupuncture also has a regulating effect on the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system to control blood pressure, skin temperature, pulse and heart rate. Acupuncture affects different regions of the brain to modulate the nervous system's response to disease. Acupuncture releases endorphins and neurotransmitters to relax the body, which includes serotonin, thus affecting our emotional state. 


Physiological effects of acupuncture include increased circulation, decreased inflammation, decreased swelling, relief of muscle spasms and increased neutrophil and T-cell count to support the immune system. 


Acupuncture restores homeostasis. Homeostasis refers to the body’s ability to regulate its environment and maintain internal balance. All diseases involve a disturbance of homeostasis, and nearly all diseases involve some degree of pain and inflammation.


Acupuncture promotes blood flow which breaks up blockages called blood stagnation in Chinese Medicine.

Acupuncture Stimulates

the Body's natural ability

to heal itself.

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I first went to see Caleb after a knee surgery, when after many months and many interventions, the swelling in my knee would not go down. After two or three acupuncture treatments, the swelling was gone and I had my knee back. I then saw my 13-year –old, who has had serious pollen allergies, enjoy her first symptom –free spring and fall in several years , as a result of acupuncture. Since then, my family and I have gone to see Caleb for many matters, large and small. We have greatly appreciated both his manner and his practice, and I feel that my family is healthier as a result of his care.

 ~ E.S.

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