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What is Acupuncture and what are Acupuncture Points?

Acupuncture and Oriental MedicineOver two thousand years ago it was observed that when very specific areas on the body were stimulated with pressure, heat, or needles, certain responses repeatedly occurred in the body. These very specific areas are the Acupuncture Points and they are found using muscle, bone, and tendon landmarks.  These Points are related to each other along pathways called Channels, some of which are illustrated by the dots and lines on the figure in the picture.  Every Point and Channel is responsible for specific body functions AND each has a physical and emotional function. Points are often chosen for their functions and less often for their location. This is why when you have a headache I will likely treat Points on your feet. We select only a few points to use each time.

How Many Treatments Will I Need?

The benefits of acupuncture are cumulative. Many people notice immediate results AND acupuncture treatment is a process.

This is a variable recommendation but broadly speaking, it is best to come in 2 times a week for 4 weeks, at which time we will re-evaluate and determine if appointments should be spread to once a week. This is variable because the longer you have had the symptoms, the more time we may need to help the symptom get unstuck from your body.  I know that life is busy – and making/creating the time to heal yourself should be a high priority. At least coming in once a week for the first 6-8 so visits is second best. 

Many people will notice immediate improvements, however keep in mind that chronic conditions take longer to respond, depending on the type, severity, and duration of the condition. 

What Does Acupuncture Feel Like?

Acupuncture nAcupuncture - eedles are super-thin (see them compared to a pen and lines on paper), flexible, sterile and disposable. You may feel a slight sensation when needled, however it is not at all like getting a shot at the Dr's office, I assure you.  Post-treatment, patients often feel both mentally and physically relaxed.

Your First Visit

Upon booking your appointment I will email you an intake form. This form asks questions about your current state of health, past illnesses, and family history. These questions are important because the holistic approach of acupuncture takes everything into account. Your current symptoms may not seem related to past health issues, but our bodies are complex landscapes and everything that happens to them leaves its mark.

In the first appointment, we will spend time discussing your health history and current symptoms.  Then I’ll perform a traditional exam of palpating some acupuncture points and feeling your pulses to gather diagnostic information. We will discuss nutrition and lifestyle as well. 

In the follow-up appointments we will speak about what changed since the last treatment. Each treatment is crafted especially for you and what you need.

Why do you feel my pulse on both wrists? Why do you look at my tongue?

When I am feeling your pulse, I am checking in with the Channels. Each Channel has a correlation to the different places on your wrist where I feel your pulse. Further, the Channels have relationships with one another so I am feeling what Channels need support and which Channels are over-working. What is happening at the pulse informs my decision on which points I use to treat you that day.

Similarly, different parts of the tongue are correlated to different channels. Observing the tongue’s shape, size, coat, and color helps to inform me about what is happening in your body and therefore informs my decision on how to treat you.

What is the training to be an Acupuncturist?

We Acupuncturists are required to undergo extensive 3-4 year Master's degree education, including detailed study of human anatomy and training in Clean Needle Technique. I passed the comprehensive national board examinations administered by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM).  As required by law, I use pre-sterilized, disposable, single-use needles to ensure your complete safety.

Acupuncture -

Dr. Leanne Ekstrom, D.OM., Dipl.OM.


910 17th St NW; Suite 1020

Washington, DC 20006

By Farragut North & West Metro

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