Acupuncture Needles on PointsAcupuncture is a way of adjusting the circulation of energy (called Qi, pronounced “chee”) through the body by placing small needles at specific points on the body: acupuncture points. Normally, the Qi circulates through pathways called meridians or channels. The channels are energetically linked with the internal organs and with each other. By moving Qi when it is stagnated, slowing down Qi when it is moving too fast, or redirecting Qi when it is moving incorrectly, acupuncture helps the body to realign itself and ultimately leads to healing. When the channels are open and the energy is moving smoothly and appropriately, the body functions optimally.

There are many different theories and styles for manipulating Qi, reestablishing channel flow, and resolving organ dysfunction. Of these, Dr. Smith has studied Traditional Chinese style, Master Tung’s methods, Japanese style (Kiiko Matsumoto’s teachings), and scalp and auricular (ear) acupuncture. Because of her extensive training, she can tailor her style and needle selection to the needs of each patient.

Acupuncture Needles

Acupuncture NeedlesAcupuncture needles are very different from the needles used to draw blood or to gain venous access. Needles used to draw blood are much larger in diameter, are hollow on the inside, and are intended to cut through tissue: they are sharp, and patients often, if not always, bleed or bruise where the needle was inserted.

By contrast, acupuncture needles are small in diameter, filliform or solid (not hollow), and are intended to part tissue rather than cut it. This occasionally results in miniscule amounts of bleeding or small bruises at the acupuncture site, but more commonly there is no evidence that a needle was placed at a particular site.

Because the needles push tissue aside rather than cutting through it, many people do not experience pain with acupuncture needles. Often the sensation is described as “pressure” or “a heavy sensation.” If the needles do illicit any pain, Dr. Smith will manipulate them to alleviate the discomfort immediately.

Dr. Smith uses only sterile, single-use, disposable needles in her practice.


If the energy, Qi, is particularly stuck in an area of the body, Dr. Smith may use Electro-acupuncture to move the Qi. Acupuncture needles are placed in the body and then small clips are attached to the needles. The clips are attached to a device that creates a very small, gentle, electrical pulse through the needles. This is done in needle pairs so that the current may pass through the tissues in a directed fashion. Many patients enjoy the tingling that the current creates, but often the current is so gentle that you may not feel it.

It is important to tell Dr. Smith if you have a history of seizures, epilepsy, or heart conditions or if you have a pacemaker in place. Electro-acupuncture may not be safe in those situations.