Frequently Asked Questions


What is it ?

Acupuncture has evolved from its roots over 2200 years ago, where nine types of classical needles were described in ancient manuscripts.  Today, we use sterile disposable thin gauge needles that are inserted usually less than a half-inch deep into areas that are either tight (excess) or flaccid (deficient).  These needles are so thin, you could fit over 20 of them into a standard hypodermic needle. At most, you might feel a small pinch, but usually you won't feel any discomfort at all.  Most people say they love the way their bodies feel with the needles inside of them and don't want us to take them out.

How does it work?

The way that I like to describe it is from a musical metaphor.   If your body is a 12 string guitar with 12 primary acupuncture channels, we tune these strings into creating functional connectivity and maximum performance.  If a channel is too sharp (tight), we tune it down and if it's too flat (weak), we tune it up. When your strings are in tune, your instrument functions in a way that creates health and harmony.  The acupuncture points are nodes on the body's fretboard. When we insert a needle and connect with an energetic channel, we can turn the pegs and tune the strings into creating balance and connectivity between the brain, nervous system, internal organs and tissues of the body in a holistic dynamic.

What are Qi and Qi channels?

Qi is most often described as vapor, as in the steam that arises from the activation of fire to water.  This resembles prana from Ayurveda and pneuma from ancient Greek medicine. It has also been called "vital life force".  In Chinese medicine, functional Qi and properly circulating blood are the most important aspects of maintaining a healthy body.   All treatments are focused on guiding Qi and blood through the proper channels to create harmony and balance within a vast communication network.

The ancient physicians described these channels like water-ways.  The 12 channels begin in the body in the torso and abdomen and spread to the head, fingers and toes. As the ocean when its full overflows to its tributaries, so our Qi flows from the organs to the extremities like rivers and streams and springs.   Another way to see this is the body as a living tree, with our internal organs as roots and the legs and arms as its branches. When the internal organs are filled with nutrients, the soil of our bodies are fertile with life. If the branches are dried up or stagnant, then the internal environment is also adversely affected.   By treating the branches, we can affect the roots and by nourishing the roots we can heal the branches. This is how acupuncture, moxa, bodywork and herbs can help regenerate the mind/body.

What is the science?

The research on acupuncture goes back over a half-century now.  In short, we stimulate sensory nerves (especially C afferent nerves) that send signals to the brain via the spinal cord that relay bio-chemical (endorphins) and electrical signals back to pertaining organs and tissues in the body.   This process has been demonstrated repeatedly in fMRI studies where different areas in the brain light up when an acupuncture point is stimulated. Other times, we can over-stimulate motor nerves that release tight myo-fascial tissue (gate-theory), allowing for the body to relieve spasms and release pain.

Our style

Although I've learned dozens of styles over 18 years now, the acupuncture style itself has been informed mainly by the Japanese, including Koji Ichihashi, who I studied over a year with at his home and Ikeda Masakazu and Kiiko Matsumoto, whose work I've studied for over a decade.  The Japanese styles are more palpation (hands-on) and reflex based (checking for changes in the body immediately after acupuncture stimulation). Also, the needles used are much thinner and the depth of insertion is usually less deep than in Chinese styles. Because of this, the acupuncture treatments tend to be more gentle, but increasingly effective.


Are the herbs clean?

All of the herbs that we use are the purest quality : organic or non-pesticide and non-sulfured.  They are 3rd party lab-tested to be free from over 200 pesticides, heavy-metals, molds and contaminants.

What forms of herbs do we carry?

For internal use, we prescribe raw herbs, powdered extracts, tinctures, pills and tablets. Externally, we carry herbal salves, patches, oils and liniments for dermatological issues and pain management.  

Do I have to take herbs and how often?

I often advise them for chronic cases and when the body needs daily supplementation. The body does best when it does its homework and gets frequent training.   Of course, they are always optional.


“Kokko Wellness is a treasure.”

Jim, Psychotherapist