Acupuncture services are offered by Andrew Raak, L.Ac. Andrew is nationally certified and licensed by the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice.

What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a healing art that was originally founded in China and is one of the oldest healing disciplines in the world – dating back at least 3,000 years. In short, acupuncture is a multifaceted discipline that primarily uses the insertion of tiny needles (about the width of an eyelash) into specific parts of the skin in order to stimulate the various systems of the body to work more efficiently.

How does it work?
By stimulating points on the skin, the brain is made aware of very specific portions of the body in need of more attention. This facilitates the ability to direct what we might call “nerve energy” (“Qi”) to related sections of the body. Oftentimes, and for reasons such as trauma, chemical, mental, or emotional stress, lack of sleep, poor eating habits, etc. there is a lessening of electrical energy, a sort of blockage running through various channels of our bodies. By calling the attention of the nervous system to these blockages, blood flow and healing can naturally follow.

How does the practitioner know where to insert the needles?
Part of what makes acupuncture so powerful is that it is very holistic in its focus. In other words, acupuncturists understand that symptoms are indicators of underlying causes. A skilled practitioner spends a great deal of time gathering as much information about you as possible in order to form a true picture of what systems of the body need to be supported in order to facilitate healing. Sometimes symptoms can help the acupuncturist discover and treat an underlying problem you were not even aware of.

Is it painful?
Rarely! Because the needles are so small, the vast majority of the time you don’t even know they are there. It is not uncommon to feel a slight prick upon insertion or removal of a given needle but the sensation is generally not very intense and usually doesn’t last more than a few seconds. You may be surprised to learn that an acupuncture treatment is actually quite relaxing and many people find it easy to take a nap during their treatments.

Who can benefit from acupuncture?
Anyone! Whether for stress management, dealing with pain, aching joints, allergies, digestive or skin disorders, infertility or a host of other ailments, acupuncture can be a great benefit to anyone.

What can I expect on my first visit?
The first visit is usually a bit more lengthy. Because the information gathering is thorough, the length can be up to 90 minutes. Most follow-up visits last just under and hour.

How many treatments are necessary?
That depends greatly on what you have come in for, how long it has been a problem, and how diligent you are with implementing minor lifestyle changes that can greatly improve outcomes. Some people expect miraculous results at their first visit. Understand that while many brag of the “magic” of acupuncture, results are more often gradual. Typically you will begin to feel a difference after your first 2-3 treatments, with 6 treatments being an ideal “course” over 2-3 weeks. After you have made some progress, and if it is within your means, the goal is to reduce treatments to a maintenance approach of 1-2 visits per month. This investment in your health keeps problems from resurfacing and maintains balanced physical health.

If this stuff is so great, why can’t you fix me with one session?
Believe me, I wish we could. The reality is that acupuncture is a health practice that aims to train your body to function correctly. It is not an external pill or stimulus that simply shuts off an alarm. It draws attention to your body to say, “let’s figure out what’s wrong and get it working again.” We consider acupuncture to be a cumulative treatment, meaning one treatment builds on another. So the harder you treat or “train” up front, sets the standard and allows easy management later. If you were trying to get in shape, it’s easy to understand how you would put in a lot more work initially and then could maintain your physical health with less intense training.