Frequently Asked Questions on Acupuncture

The Acupuncture Medical Group offers a unique, results-oriented style of acupuncture. The AMG also offers custom herbal prescriptions, continuing, education classes for professionals, and wellness workshops for the general public. The AMG’s mission is to provide patients with the highest quality care.

Avi Magidoff is a specialist in Japanese acupuncture techniques and classical Chinese medicine. Avi is one of the foremost practitioners of acupuncture in North America, especially Japanese style as influenced by Nagano-Matsumoto, and regularly teaches acupuncturists and other health care professionals in the U.S. and Europe.

At the AMG I use a highly-effective, modern, Japanese style that is based on both classical Asian thought and modern medical understanding. I work closely with both patients and physicians to ensure that acupuncture is utilized in the most effective manner possible. I attribute my clinical success to two main factors: special palpatory diagnostic techniques and a holistic approach.

Palpation A Key Diagnostic Tool

I palpate the abdomen, throat, neck and back in order to determine treatment strategies. This enables me to obtain instant feedback from the patient and eliminates unnecessary treatment trials. Pressure pain on any of these areas is used to both diagnose the underlying causes of the patient’s chief complaint and to determine treatment points. My philosophy is “to make every needle count.”

Palpatory techniques have been used for hundreds of years in Japan as a primary diagnostic tool. Palpation was also used extensively in modern, Western medical practice. As we grew to rely more heavily on laboratory testing and machine-imaging, this art form has lost much of its power and subtlety. Yet, palpatory diagnosis can be an extremely accurate tool for assessing and treating patients as many disorders will reflect as pressure pain on the abdomen, throat, neck and back.

Beginning in the 1950s, Dr. Kyoshi Nagano expanded and refined classical techniques to encompass modern physiology and pathology. His student, Kiiko Matsumoto, has continued to explore and develop this rich legacy.  Avi Magidoff has continued to work along this path, linking it back to the Daoist philosophy that is the root of all classical Chinese medicine. The resulting palpatory maps can be used to assess many conditions, to ascertain causative factors, and to indicate treatment strategies.

Using the patient’s physical responses as a guide, it is possible to resolve the pressure pain on the reflex areas with acupuncture, and thus to simultaneously diagnose and treat the patient.

Holism - Releasing the Hold of Past Patterns

My style is unique in that I practice holism with respect to both time and space. I find correlations, not only between different parts and systems of the body, but also etween injuries of the past and disorders of the present.

In my clinical experience, treating previous disorders, even when they no longer seem to bother the patient, is often the key to treating current complaints. Thus I might treat allergies in order to release plantar fasciitis pain, or treat an appendectomy scar tissue in order to treat gallstone discomfort, or right shoulder pain, etc.

How does it work?

In my clinical experience, treating previous disorders, even when they no longer seem to bother the patient, is often the key to treating current complaints. Thus I might treat allergies in order to release plantar fasciitis pain, or treat an appendectomy scar tissue in order to treat gallstone discomfort, or right shoulder pain, etc.

The exact mechanism of acupuncture has, not yet been explained by modern science. It has been shown, however, that “stimulating acupuncture points can affect the nervous, endocrine, circulatory, and immune systems." It is generally thought that acupuncture has pathways other than the nervous system and operates via signals other than currently known neuro-humoral ones. These pathways and signals may be part of a system that precedes the development of the nervous system and other physiological systems in the human embryo.

The traditional, Chinese, philosophical view is that human beings are an energetic conduit between heaven and earth, that the flow of energy is continuous, and that disease is the result of a blockage in the normal flow of energy. By tapping into the energy pathways (the meridians) and releasing blockages, acupuncture enhances the free flow of energy in the body.

My own understanding of how acupuncture works is that needles break down connective tissue and align fascia polymers into a higher crystalline state which enhances conductivity along fascial planes. The “free flow of Qi” described in traditional Chinese medicine can thus be perceived as conduction of biochemical, bioelectrical, and biomechanical signals through the connective tissue.

Conditions treated by Acupuncture

Acupuncture is best known in the U.S. for its successful treatment of acute and chronic pain. In addition to pain management, acupuncture can also be used for a wide variety of conditions. The World Health Organization has recognized that acupuncture is helpful for the following conditions:










sinus infection

sore throat







high blood pressure


anxiety and stress


irregular periods







morning sickness



poor eyesight

ringing in the ears

Acupuncture can be used to treat a wide variety of conditions. Since medicine is not an exact science, one cannot completely predict the effectiveness of treatment for any particular individual. However, one can usually assess the success of treatment within one or two treatments. In addition to its therapeutic effects for specific disorders, acupuncture is also commonly used to maintain health, increase vitality, and reduce stress.

Does it hurt?

The Japanese style I practice emphasizes that the treatment is more successful if the client does not feel the needles. The Chinese style, on the other hand, uses a stronger needling technique with the intention of “getting the Qi,” a sensation of heaviness or an electrical feeling. American patients generally do not have an appreciation for the feeling of “getting the Qi,” and I tend to avoid it. Most of my clients do not feel the needles at all. Once the needles are in one usually falls into a state of deep relaxation.

What to expect in a treatment

After we discuss your specific condition, health aspirations, and treatment expectations, I take your pulse, look at your tongue, and palpate the abdomen, chest and neck, to ascertain a diagnosis. I look for pressure pain on these areas. Different areas on the body reflect different problems and different root imbalances. Finding these areas of pressure pain, and correlating those with pulse findings, enable me to diagnose your condition and determine what points to use. I then find the exact spots on the arms and legs that release the pressure pain on the abdomen, and those are the points that are needled. Once the abdominal reflexes (pressure points) are cleared, you will fall into a deep state of relaxation lasting about 20 minutes. A similar process is then repeated on the back.

In addition to needles, I may also use moxibustion, which is the warming of points with a special herb, or a variety of other non-needle techniques.

How soon before I see results?

You should see some results during your first treatment, at least in terms of the clearing of the abdomen, which indicates that health is being restored.

For complaints involving pain, the results are usually obvious within the first treatment, and it is quite common for patients to come experiencing pain and leave totally pain free. Internal disorders (e.g., gynecological complaints), intermittent disorders, or those that involve symptoms that cannot be reproduced in the treatment room, may be slower to improve. The success of the treatment is evaluated based on how easy it is to clear abdominal reflexes, and your own observations during the week that follows the treatment.

Most conditions are initially treated once per week. Conditions involving extreme pain may rarely require more frequent treatments for a short period. I definitely expect you to see some clear results, though not necessarily a complete cure, within four to five treatments.

Often patients will feel the maximum effects of acupuncture for the first few days after acupuncture. A good rule of thumb is that once the results of acupuncture treatment can be maintained for the entire week between treatments, the interval between treatments can be increased to two weeks. Once the results are maintained for two weeks, the interval is increased to three or four weeks. Once this level of continuity has been achieved, you may only need maintenance treatments every couple of months or seasonally.

What is Japanese acupuncture? How is it different?

The Chinese acupuncture style tends to use thicker needles and stronger stimulation. The Japanese style is gentler, using thinner needles. This is an important difference for many patients.

In China, where treatment cost is very low, patients are treated daily. In Japan, patients pay out of pocket (as many do in this country) and opt to be treated only once a week for scheduling and financial reasons. Thus the Japanese style has been refined to address problems with fewer and gentler treatments. I find that it is well-suited to the needs of modern Americans. The Japanese style gives me a greater ability to target your problem directly with acupuncture, without the need to use herbs, allowing me to prescribe herbs or dietary therapy rarely and only when absolutely necessary.

What is holistic health

My own definition of holistic health is to view the person as a whole, understanding that each part of the body and mind can affect any other part. In my specific model of holism, I employ the homeopathic approach of treating the oldest injury/trauma that is still reflected in the body. Treating the first disorder acts to initiate a “domino effect” allowing all subsequent problems begin to “dissolve.”

Clearing the person of past injuries that have not been fully resolved allows the body to be fully available for healing in the present and the present complaint is often resolved without further intervention.