FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Where is Shire Acupuncture located?
How do I get into the building? Is there elevator access?
Is there parking? How much does parking cost?
Shire Acupuncture is located directly above Marketplace Cafe in downtown Pittsfield, MA at 55 North St. Our clinic is upstairs on the second floor of the building in suite 205. We share the building with the Beacon Cinema, which is located below us on the first floor, and Berkshire Yoga Dance and Fitness, located to the right of us on the same floor.
There are two entrances to the building, one on North St. and the other on McKay St:
The door to the front entrance on North St. can be found between Marketplace Cafe and the Beacon Cinema. If you go through the door and walk to the top of the staircase, you will find us on the left side of the second floor at the end of the hallway.
The door to the back entrance can be found on McKay St., under the 'McKay Street Shops' sign. If you enter the building and walk down the long hallway, you will find an elevator and a staircase at the very back. You can take either of these routes to the second floor. If you use the elevator, walk past the yoga studio and staircase to find us. If you take the stairs, you will emerge at the hallway in which we are located.
The Shire Acupuncture sign can be found on the front door of suite 205, located at the end of the hallway. When you arrive, please come in and have a seat in our waiting area.
There are several places to park near the clinic:
In the front of the building, there are paid parking spots all along North St. that are open to the public. The cost for these spots is $0.50/hour, with the first 30 mins. free. These spots can be paid for on the online 'Passport Parking' app or at the parking meter with coins or credit cards.
In the back of the building, there is a paid parking lot & garage on McKay St. These spots can be paid for using the same paid parking system.
The 'Passport Parking' app is free to download and easy to operate. If you have any difficulty accessing the app, feel free to contact us and we will be happy to guide you through it.
What does acupuncture feel like? Does it hurt?
How big are the needles? Are they thrown away after each use?
Do I have to get needles if I want a treatment?
Acupuncture feels different for everyone. Most people experience sensations of heaviness, pressure, dull aching, tingling, soreness or numbness. Others notice feelings of heat or other sensations in the needled area. At times, one may also feel a slight 'electrical' sensation, that typically resolves in a matter of seconds. As energy travels along the channel being needled, any of these sensations may arise at other locations of the body nowhere near the actual needles themselves.
Every person has a different sensitivity level to stimuli, therefore experiences with acupuncture tend to vary from person to person. Experiences may also vary for a single person from treatment to treatment, as hormones flucuations and other changes occur. For example, women tend to be more sensitive to stimuli during menstruation.
When most people hear the word 'needle' they usually associate it with feelings of pain. Acupuncture needles are entirely different than the needles used for injections or getting your blood drawn. The needles used for acupuncture are very thin, most of them as thin as a strand of hair. You may feel a slight prick upon insertion of needles, but they do not typically cause pain or discomfort.
All acupuncture needles are sterile and made from stainless steel. They are one-time use only and are properly discarded in a biohazard sharps container upon disposal.
During treatments, the use of acupuncture needles is almost always employed. If you do not want needles for any reason, however, please inform us as there are other non-invasive techniques, such as magnets, that can be used instead.
How can I best prepare for my treatments?
As with any new experience, feelings of anxiety or nervousness before or during your acupuncture treatments may arise. In order to feel more grounded and balanced, we highly recommend that you eat something before each treatment. Also, making sure you are properly hydrated is very important. Receiving treatments while experiencing very low blood sugar, extreme hunger or dehydration may lead to feelings of lightheadedness, dizziness or unease. If you have forgotten to hydrate properly, we are happy to offer you tea or water.
Acupuncture points are located all over your body. In order for your acupuncturist to have access to these areas, it is very helpful to wear loose clothing to your appointments. If you are unable to wear loose clothing for any reason, we can supply you with a gown.
If you have any other questions about how to best prepare for your treatment, please feel free to contact us during our usual office hours and we will be glad to help you.
What should I do after my treatments?
How will I feel?
First and foremost, it is essential to drink plenty of water after receiving acupuncture. During treatments, your body undergoes various changes as it works to repair and restore itself back to health. As stagnation in the body is broken up and cleared away, freshly oxygenated blood is circulated to muscles and other tissues of the body. This detoxification pathway relies on adequate cellular hydration, making water a vital part of the healing process.
As with all treatment modalities, eating a healthy, balanced diet can help aid in the healing process. Foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean proteins and other nutrient-packed foods provide the necessary vitamins and minerals that your cells need to flourish. It is always a good idea to eat a healthy meal after each of your acupuncture treatments.
When it comes to musculoskeletal conditions, it is important to avoid aggravating problem areas after acupuncture treatments. Putting stress or strain on areas of pain or discomfort the day of your treatment may affect the outcome of the healing process. In order for you to receive the most amount of benefit from your treatments, we highly recommend that you do not plan any vigorous activities that day.
After treatments, most people report feeling relaxed and grounded. Your mind may seem quieter than usual, and you might feel slightly tired or drowsy. If you feel tired or drowsy right after treatment, please take your time before getting into your vehicle. Feel free to relax in our waiting area and drink some tea or water.
On occasion, some people experience an aggravation of their current symptoms following acupuncture treatment. Although it may be unpleasant, this is a very normal response as the body is working hard to repair and rebuild itself during the healing process. It is also usual for new, 'secondary' symptoms to arise after treatments, especially with pain conditions. For example, if your pain subsides after being treated for left arm pain, but then you notice a new discomfort in your right arm the next day, do not be alarmed. This is simply your body's way of maintaining balance, as one corrected disharmony often leads to a secondary disharmony in another location of the body. This secondary pain will most like go away on its own. If not, it is easily treated with acupuncture and its adjunctive therapies.
Does acupuncture have side effects?
What are the risks involved?
Acupuncture is a very safe and natural therapy, but sometimes side effects do occur. As mentioned above regarding typical sensations associated with treatments, the most common side effects include feelings of heaviness, pressure, dull aching, tingling, soreness or numbness in areas of the body. Muscles twitches can also occur.
Although uncommon, one may feel tired, drowsy or fatigued after treatments. These effects are typically temporary and short-lived, only lasting a a few hours or a day at the very most.
Aside from feelings of soreness or aching at the site of their insertion, the most common risk associated with acupuncture needles themselves are the formation of small hematomas or bruises upon their removal. This can occur if small blood vessels in the skin are punctured during their insertion. These bruises are typically pain-free and heal within a few days. Very small amounts of bleeding, usually the size of a spec, may also occur after removal of needles from the skin. Most all bleeding stops after gently pressing the area with a q-tip or cotton ball.
As mentioned above about how to best prepare for treatments, feelings of lightheadedness, dizziness and unease may also arise. On rare occasions, fainting may occur. Typically only experienced by those with very low blood sugar or dehydration, these symptoms have also been seen in cases of anxiety, low blood pressure, diabetes and other more serious conditions. Please tell your acupuncturist if you have any condition that may increase your risk of these symptoms.
Extremely rare risks associated with acupuncture include nerve damage and punctured organs. All acupuncturists are required to undergo extensive training on the anatomy of the human body, therefore complications this severe are almost never encountered.
If it very important to let your acupuncturist know if you have a bleeding disorder or any other condition that may affect your body's response to puncture by needles. If you wear a pacemaker or are pregnant, it is equally as imperative to discuss these details so that your practitioner knows to employ the safest practices for your unique circumstances.
Can I still get treatments if I am pregnant?
How safe is it?
Can acupuncture help manage my pregnancy symptoms?
Not only is it okay to receive acupuncture treatments while pregnant, many pregnant women seek out acupuncture to help them feel better during the gestational process. With pregnancy often comes feelings of fatigue, cramping, headaches, acid indigestion, stomachaches, constipation, breast discomfort, emotional changes and other discomforts. Acupuncture and its complementary techniques can serve as natural and effective ways to manage these symptoms. If you are experiencing any difficulties due to being pregnant, or if you are simply looking to relax and feel great throughout your pregnancy, we are happy to treat you and look forward to being a part of your new journey.
All licensed acupuncturists in the country are required to attend a graduate degree program, which typically takes between 3 to 4 years to complete. During this time, they are specially trained on how to care for individuals with unique circumstances, including pregnant women. There are several known acupuncture points and regions of the body that are contraindicated to needling while a woman is pregnant. Practitioners make sure to completely avoid stimulation of these areas in order to ensure the safest practices for you and your baby. Getting acupuncture treatments is therefore considered safe during pregnancy.
If you are or may be pregnant, or are trying to get pregnant, please make sure to let us know during your first visit to the clinic.