FAQs about Acupuncture

Q: What is acupuncture?

A: Acupuncture is an ancient system of natural medicine developed in China over 2,000 years. It centers primarily on the concept of maintaining the proper flow of Qi (Energy) through the body. This is achieved through the stimulating certain points in the body by the insertion of very fine needles. The term acupuncture describes a family of procedures involving stimulation of anatomical points on the body by a variety of techniques.

American practices of acupuncture incorporate medical traditions from China, Japan, Korea, and other countries. The acupuncture technique that has been most studied scientifically involves penetrating the skin with thin, solid, metallic needles that are manipulated by the hands or by electrical stimulation. This may be combined with heat, mild electrical stimulation, massage and herbal medicines.

In the past two decades, acupuncture has grown in popularity in the United States. The report from a Consensus Development Conference on Acupuncture held at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in 1997 stated that acupuncture is being “widely” practiced—by thousands of physicians, dentists, acupuncturists, and other practitioners—for relief or prevention of pain and for various other health conditions.

Q: What problems can be treated by acupuncture?

A: The World Health Organization has said that acupuncture is suitable for treating the following:

  1. Ear, Nose, and Throat Disorders: Toothaches, pain after tooth extraction, earaches, sinus inflammations, nasal inflammation or dryness.

  2. Respiratory Disorders: Respiratory Disorders: Uncomplicated bronchial asthma in children or adults.

  3. Gastrointestinal Disorders: Digestive tract problems, hiccups, inflammation of the stomach, chronic duodenal ulcers, inflammation of the colon, constipation, diarrhea, dysentery caused by certain bacteria.

  4. Eye Disorders: Inflammation of the conjunctiva, inflammation of the retina, nearsightedness (in children), and uncomplicated cataracts.

  5. Nervous system and Muscular Disorders: Headache, migraines, certain facial paralysis or nerve pain, partial weakness after a stroke, inflammation of nerve endings, bed wetting, frozen shoulder, tennis elbow, sciatica, low back pain, and osteoarthritis.

Acupuncture has been used for centuries in China to treat many other problems, such as knee pain, sprains and strains, and most gynecological complaints.

Q: How does acupuncture work?

A: Modern Western medicine cannot explain how acupuncture works. Traditional acupuncture is based on ancient Chinese theories of the flow of Qi (Energy) and Xue (Blood) through distinct meridians or pathways that cover the body somewhat like the nerves and blood vessels do. According to the ancient theory, acupuncture allows Qi to flow to areas where it is Deficient and away from where it is Excess. In this way, acupuncture regulates and restores the harmonious energetic balance of the body. In Chinese there is a saying, “There is no pain if there is free flow; if there is pain, there is no free flow.”

Q: Are there different styles of acupuncture?

A: Yes, there are. Acupuncture originated in China but has spread to Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Europe, the British Isles, and America. In different countries, different styles have developed based on differing opinions as to theory and technique. Patients should talk to their practitioners about their particular style and learn as much as possible about the treatment being proposed.

Q: What criteria should one use in choosing an acupuncturist?

A: Patients should ask about where the practitioner trained, how long the training was, how long he or she has been in practice, and what experience the practitioner has had in treating the patient’s specific ailment.

Acupuncture is a licensed and regulated healthcare profession in more than 40 states (New York is one of them) in the United States. Ask your practitioner if your state requires a license to practice. In states that do not currently require licensing, patients should ask their practitioner if they are certified by the NCCAOM (national acupuncture board). Acupuncturists who have passed this exam are entitled to add Dipl. Ac. (Diplomat of Acupuncture) after their name.

Before scheduling the appointment, ask for a free consultation, or at least the opportunity to speak with the acupuncturist on the phone. If they are too busy to talk to you on the phone, they may be too busy to give you high quality care. If they are with a patient when you call, leave a message so they can call you back. You’ll want to discuss such details as rates for visits, insurance billing, and the practitioner’s appointment cancellation policy. Remember to make a list of questions before you call.

Q: How deep do the needles go?

A: That depends upon the nature of the problem, the location of the points selected, the patient’s size, age, and constitution, and the acupuncturist’s style or school. Usually, needles are inserted from ¼ to 1 inch in depth.

Q: Does acupuncture hurt? What does it feel like?

A: Acupuncture needles are very fine—not much thicker that a human hair. People’s experience of acupuncture varies and can include some mild, but temporary, discomfort or a feeling of a slight electrical impulse. Many people report entering a state of relaxed awareness, and other fall asleep during treatment. Some people are super-sensitive (and receive fewer and even thinner needles) while others may not feel much at all. While most acupuncture is not painful, some of the deeper treatments of Classical Acupuncture can involve some discomfort. If I feel your condition warrants this type of treatment, I will discuss it with you thoroughly before proceeding.

Q: Are the needles clean?

A: The best practice among acupuncturists in America today is to use sterilized, individually packaged, disposable needles. Needles should not be saved and reused for later treatments. This eliminates the possibility of transmitting a communicable disease by a contaminated needle.

Q: How do I know acupuncture is safe?

A: All licensed acupuncturists are highly trained in avoiding and possible harmful effects of acupuncture. Acupuncture needles are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration and sterile, disposable and single-use only. Acupuncture licensing requires passing a written and practical exam demonstrating expertise on preventing infection and transmission of bloodborne diseases, as per OSHA standards. Licensed acupuncturists have also demonstrated their knowledge of the specific angle and maximum safe insertion depth of each acupuncture point.

Does acupuncture have side effects?

A: Possible side effects from acupuncture occur infrequently and are generally mild but can include slight bleeding or bruising at a needle insertion site or light-headedness. Supporting techniques, such as cupping, can leave temporary red marks on the skin, but I will advise you of this and get your permission before proceeding. This being said, sometimes acupuncture can cause your symptoms to temporarily worsen before significantly improving. This is called a “healing crisis”, and should last no more than two days. If your symptoms worsen and do not improve after two days, please contact me immediately.

Q: What should I know about the proposed treatments?

A: When you visit me for consultation, I will explain the nature of your problem and what treatment I am recommending. I will tell you what benefits and risks there are to the proposed treatment, what other treatment options are available to you through me or by referral to other practitioner or physician.

If you agree to go ahead with the treatments, I will tell you what to expect, what to do if you don’t experience that progress and what to do if you feel worse.

Q: What can I expect after treatment?

A: You may note a spot of blood at one or more needle sites and/or small bruise could develop. These shouldn’t be harmful, but please talk to your practitioner if you are concerned. Patients often experience the most dramatic results in the first treatment. Some patients experience an immediate total or partial relief of their pain or other symptoms. This relief of their pain may return. In a few cases, there may be no immediate relief only to notice the pain diminish over the next couple of days. Generally, you should expect to feel better.

Most patients will have more questions than the above list. I am used to answering question such as: Should I continue to see my medical doctor? Should I continue taking my present medication? What should I eat? Is there anything I can do for myself at home? What signs or success should I look for first and after how long? I may discuss these questions in person with you.


Other Conditions Commonly Treated by Dr. Zheng

  • Hot flashes, menopause, PMS, irregular menstruation
  • Stress, depression, anxiety, insomnia, fatigue
  • Hey-fever, sinusitis, asthma, bronchitis
  • Infertility, impotence
  • Dizziness, vertigo, Meniere’s disease
  • Hypertension, diabetes, obesity
  • Stroke, paralysis, Bell’s palsy
  • Indigestion, diarrhea, constipation
  • Quitting smoking, beauty & rejuvenation



  • We offer free initial consultation
  • We accept health insurance plans which cover for acupuncture treatment. We may contact your insurance company to verify your acupuncture benefits. If you need us to do so, please tell us your insurance information including your full name, birthday,insurance ID number, and insurance company’s Tel. number.