Acupuncture Services

Ashley Mahood Paraiso

Ashley found acupuncture and Chinese medicine while working with refugees in Washington, DC. During this time, Ashley turned to yoga to help manage her stress and find her inner calm. Eventually her journey for balance and mind/body health led her to acupuncture and Chinese medicine, and she graduated from Maryland University of Integrative Health with a master’s degree in Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs.

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture has been used as an effective mode of medical treatment for thousands of years. It is based on the concept of qi (pronounced “chee”), which is life force, or energy. Qi may take different forms, but the qi we talk about frequently in acupuncture flows through the body along channels (or meridians). When the qi and blood become tired or blocked, pain and other symptoms may arise. The ancient Chinese classic book Huang Di Nei Jing explains, “If there is free flow, there is no pain; if there is pain, there is lack of free flow”.
 Acupuncture needles manipulate the movement of qi and has the ability to bring the qi and the channels in which they flow into balance. They encourage the “free flow” of qi mentioned above. When the body is in balance, it works efficiently and effectively, and the mind, body, and spirit thrive.

The Mind-Body Connection and Acupuncture

One reason why acupuncture is a unique and elegant modality is due to its ability to treat both the physical and mental body. When we experience chronic pain (in the physical body), it isn’t long until our mental body reacts with its own story (perhaps something like, I’m scared what the future holds for me, or who am I if I am not well?). Some people may experience imbalance in the mental body that later manifests into physical discomfort. For example, a person who struggles with self-worth may also suffer from asthma or constipation. While these may seem unrelated, an acupuncturist is trained to observe such connections to determine where an imbalance lies and how to best support this unique person. For me, the beauty of acupuncture is that it not only helps with the symptoms the person is experiencing, but it supports the person as a whole, both mind and body.

 Acupuncture needles help bring the self into balance. Balance creates the conditions for your body and mind to work efficiently and effectively, to heal itself, and to thrive. Acupuncture can be a standalone modality, or you can combine it with other Elev8MD treatments to make your progress faster, go further, and last longer.

What Can I Expect At My First Appointment

During you first appointment (the intake), we will discuss how you would like acupuncture to support you, as well as your health history and other questions and concerns. The intake and treatment last up to 90 minutes.

In order to get the most out of your treatment, please complete the intake forms prior to your appointment or arrive 20 minutes early to complete them in the office.

What to Expect During Treatment

Follow up acupuncture sessions are up to one hour long. We will feel your pulse and look at your tongue. These are traditional methods of garnering information about how your body systems work, and give information that is used to determine a Chinese medical diagnosis. This helps to determine where to place the needles.

During the treatment, you will lay on a massage table. Once the needles are in place you will relax on the table for about 20 minutes. This is when the needles do their work moving qi. It is common for people to fall asleep or to feel deeply relaxed like they just had a massage or a yoga class.

 It is recommended that you drink plenty of water before and after an acupuncture treatment, and that you do not arrive on an empty stomach.

Do Needles Hurt? Where are They Placed?

Acupuncture needles are filiform (not hollow, like a syringe). They are very thin, and some are not much thicker than a strand of hair. Many needles are inserted very superficially, only a few millimeters. You may feel a pinch or a prick when the acupuncture needle is inserted, or you may feel nothing. Once the needle is inserted, most people no longer notice it is there. If a needle is uncomfortable, please let us know so we may remove or adjust it.

 While there are acupuncture points and meridians (pathways the energy follows) all over the body, the most common areas are the wrists, between the knees and ankles, the back, the abdomen, and outer ears. We welcome feedback about any areas that you do not want to be needled.

This is YOUR acupuncture treatment. We will not insert needles anywhere you are not comfortable. We encourage people to tell us if they have a fear of needles. This is not uncommon and we’ll take time to make sure you are comfortable with your treatment. Although it is common to place needles in the area of pain, it is not the only way.

What Other Therapies May be Used?

  • Cupping – Silicone or glass suction cups are placed on the body, which are either left in one place for several minutes or slid along the surface of the skin to promote circulation. This may leave a red mark that looks similar to a bruise for a few days. You may have seen these marks on Olympic athletes. Cupping helps move stagnant blood and qi that causes pain, and helps circulate healthy blood and qi to heal the area.
  • Gua sha – Similar to cupping, gua sha helps move blood and qi that leads to pain, and encourages healthy circulation. A smooth utensil similar to a rubber spatula is used by pressing it against the skin and rubbing. This can also leave a red mark that will go away within several days.
  • Electrostimulation (“e-stim”) – Small clips are placed on the needle, which are attached to a handheld e-stim machine. Very low levels of electric current flow to the needles and encourage the flow of blood and qi to an area. You may feel a dull buzzing sensation in the area.
  • Chinese herbs – Traditionally, acupuncture and Chinese herbs go hand in hand. Adding herbs to your treatment plan can improve progress. Herbs are generally taken daily and are in the form of either a capsule or a tea. Like acupuncture, Chinese herbs help the blood and qi of the body flow smoothly, and address underlying causes of pain and imbalance. It is not required that you take herbs while in acupuncture treatment, and it is up to your discretion to agree to or decline an herbal prescription. Herbs are an additional cost.

What Does Acupuncture Treat?

Acupuncture is a form of the ancient practice of Chinese Medicine, which is a complete system of medicine and in that sense, it can be used to effectively treat a wide variety of aches, pains, symptoms, and disease. Chinese Medicine is the longest continuously practiced form of medicine in the world. Acupuncture can also be used as a vital tool to complement Western medical treatments. It can also be used as an important part of an overall wellness and prevention plan to keep the body and mind in balance and thriving. Acupuncture is non-invasive and has little or no adverse side effects. Acupuncture commonly treats, but is not limited to:

  • Pain and Injury
  • Emotional Issues
  • Fertility (including natural conception and IUI/IVF/egg freezing)
  • Pregnancy and Post-Partum Support
  • Menstrual and Women’s Health Issues
  • Digestion
  • Respiratory Issues
  • Frequent Colds and Illness
  • Cancer support, including treatment to help reduce the side effects of radiation and chemotherapy
  • Support for Addictions
  • Chronic or debilitative disorders with no clear explanation or origin

 Acupuncture can be an important part of self-care and stress management. When qi flows freely we are better able to navigate our emotions, become more self-aware, and are less likely to get “stuck” in our habitual thought and emotional patterns.

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8000 Corporate Center Drive, Ste 212
Charlotte, NC 28226

M-W-F: 9am-5pm
T-TH: 11am-7pm
Saturdays and Sundays:  Closed

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