Traditional Needle Acupuncture

images-17Traditional acupuncture, usually based on the principals of Traditional Chinese or Japanese Medicine, utilizes small, disposable, sterile needles, about the thickness of a kitten’s whisker, to penetrate the skin in order to stimulate acu-points; this stimulation is a communication between the outside of the body, and the inside, and helps regulate muscle, bone, nerve, tissue, organ, blood, cell, Qi, and brain function.

Although needle acupuncture is basically painless, upon insertion of a needle, the patient may feel a slight “pinching” sensation.  Unlike what one might expect to feel when having blood drawn, an acupuncture needle feels more like a mosquito bite…if it’s even felt at all.  If performed correctly, the patient should feel nothing once the needles are in place.

For best results using needle acupuncture, the needles should remain in place for roughly 30 minutes, as it takes that length of time for the body’s Qi energy to complete one cycle through each of the main meridians.  In some more severe cases, the needles may be left in place longer, for a greater effect.

The number of needles used during each treatment will depend on which school of thought Dr Sweeney concludes would be best to address your particular issues.  Some treatments may consist of 2 needles, while others may require many more.  If you have a fear of needles, PLEASE discuss this with Dr. Sweeney; he will take this into consideration when creating your acupuncture treatment plan.

The M.E.A.D. System

Knowing Your Energy: The Secret to Vibrant Health

Ancient wisdom meets cutting-edge technology

The Meridian Energy Analysis Device, or “MEAD”, is a computerized imaging tool used to analyze the energetic status of the body’s acupuncture meridian system.

fullman1. What are Acupuncture Meridians?

Acupuncture meridians are invisible energy pathways in your body that have been used therapeutically for over 5000 years.  These meridians conduct life-force energy, or Qi (pronounced “chee”) in and around all the parts of your body.  Blockage or interference in these meridian pathways can result in energetic imbalances that may contribute to negative health conditions.  The primary goal of acupuncture treatment is to restore energetic balance and proper energy flow to these meridians, thus allowing your body to function normally and return to health naturally.

2. How is the MEAD System used?

The MEAD is used to measure, and document, what is actually happening with your body’s acupuncture meridians.  Dr. Sweeney will use the system in a short examination by touching a moistened “Q-tip” type probe to specific acupuncture points on your wrists and ankles.  The system then converts various electrical readings from your body into a graphical representation using complex mathematical calculations and algorithms.

3. How can the MEAD help me?

The MEAD system allows Dr. Sweeney to measure and analyze the electromagnetic energy level of each acupuncture meridian in your body.  Armed with this information, along with other exam findings, he can make better-informed decisions about your condition, and provide the best treatment options possible.

4. Why Did my Healthcare Practitioner Choose MEAD?

MEAD is the premiere measurement tool of its type on the market today.  Recently, it was adopted by the Chinese Government as the official meridian analysis tool in every hospital in China, where TCM is still the primary, and chosen method of healthcare.  It provides a fast and efficient exam, gives the most advanced treatment options, and allows Dr. Sweeney to easily track your progress.  MEAD is the natural choice for practitioners who are committed to high-quality care and outstanding results.  Dr. Sweeney insists on providing this level of care for his patients, and this is the most important reason he has chosen the MEAD system.

Needle-Free Acupuncture

Needles aren’t necessarily necessary

Although needles are one of the best, most effective tools used in acupuncture, there are endless ways to stimulate an acupoint; however, there are only about 50 other methods commonly used.  Below, is a sampling of a few that we use in our clinic.

Electronic Stimulation or “E-Stim”…AKA, MicroCurrent:

Heavily used in physical therapy settings, E-Stim uses a small electric current, which is passed through various body tissues, in order to stimulate, sedate, or otherwise have a controlling effect on muscles, nerves, or other tissues.  The type of E-Stim most frequently used in acupuncture is called Mcrocurrent, generally referred to as ElectroAcupuncture.  Usually applied via moistened “Q-Tip” type applicators or sticky pads (like those used with TENS units), microcurrent is used to stimulate a carefully selected acupoint, just as Dr. Sweeney would with a traditional needle.  The amount of electric current used is so small, that the patient generally can’t even feel it!…it’s known as “sub-threshold”.  Microcurrent is a nearly perfect match to the body’s own electromagnetic current, and that is why it works so well.  In our practice, Microcurrent is usually applied along with Color Light Therapy, and is Dr. Sweeney’s first line of therapy if a patient has a fear of needles, or if needles are contraindicated for a particular procedure.

Moxibustion, or “moxa”:

Moxa is basically the dried herb Artemisia vulgaris, commonly known as mugwort.  The most common form used in acupuncture, is as a compressed cigar-shaped roll.  One end is lit on fire, and allowed to smolder, while the practitioner holds it near a patient’s carefully selected acupoint.  The heat generated by the burning mugwort is the perfect temperature needed to activate the chemical compounds in the herb.  By a convection process, which never touches the skin, the special chemical compounds are transferred to the patients acupoint, having a very special healing effect on the meridians.  Like needle acupuncture, moxibustion tends to take anywhere from 10-30 minutes to have the greatest effect, depending on what effect is desired, and the doctor’s strategy.

Laser Acupuncture:

A medical-grade low-level, or “cold” laser (a laser which generates no heat), is set at a specific wavelength (color) and frequency (flash rate), and is used to send photons of light directly into the body’s tissues.  The light waves bounce around inside the cells, encouraging them to perform more efficiently; which in turn, causes a healing effect within the tissue.  This technique can be used for many purposes other than acupuncture; however, for our purposes, the light is focused on a carefully selected acupoint, which has a stimulating effect on that point much like moxa or a needle; there is no pain, but this therapy is a little less potent.

Other methods of point stimulation may include: Chinese massage therapy (Tui Na), Chiropractic manipulation, pressure beads (small pellets made of steele, gold, silver, ceramic, or moxa set in a “sticky” pad and placed on the point like a band-aid), Tai Shin (a spring-loaded tool with a pointed tip, much like a little pogo-stick, used to “tap” on the point), direct or indirect heat, and so on.  Dr. Sweeney will determine which is best for you.

What is Color Light Therapy?

The recorded use of light and color for healing purposes dates back to early Egyptian times, when crude prisms were used to break apart white sunlight into its various colors (the visible light spectrum or “rainbow”), which were then shined onto the patient.  These colors were found to have remarkable healing effects on the body.

It has been discovered that, not only is light able to enter our bodies through our eyes, it can also enter via acupoints…the points on the body used for acupuncture.  The light is then able to travel along the acupuncture meridian system like a fiber-optic network, allowing the light photons to interact with our tissues, nerves, organs, and cells.  By using specially selected frequencies, or “colors” of light, and applying them to the correct places of the body, positive change on a deep level can be achieved.  Have you ever noticed how some colors make you feel happy or sad, hungry, or even relaxed?, or that you typically prefer bright sunny days as opposed to dark dreary ones?  Well, that’s color light therapy at work.  Colored light has been used to help a multitude of conditions including; jaundice, depression, fatigue, fibromyalgia, and migraines, to name just a few.  Colored light has also been effective in emotional and spiritual healing as well.

“We know today that man is essentially a being of light. And the modern science of photobiology is presently proving this.  In terms of healing, the implications are immense.  We now know, for example, that light can initiate, or arrest, cascade-like reactions in the cells, and that genetic cellular damage can be virtually repaired, within hours by faint beams of light.  We are still on the threshold of fully understanding the complex relationship between light and life, but we can now say, emphatically that the function of our entire metabolism is dependent on light.”
–Dr. Fritz Albert Popp, Biophysicist

When this special colored light is combined with specific microcurrent, a unique, and powerful combination of synergistic effects occur within the body, allowing the patient to achieve, in many cases, immediate and lasting, positive results.


Within acupuncture, there exists what are called microsystems, specific areas on the body where a multitude of acupuncture points can be accessed within a very small space.  In, and around the auricle of the ear, there are over 200 acupoints, which give access to just about all other areas of the body.  Along with points for organs, muscles, bones, blood, Qi, nerves, and brain, there are also specific points for allergies, addiction, weight-loss, energy-balance, smoking, blood pressure, relaxation, fertility, and the list goes on.  Auriculotherapy is best used as an adjunct therapy during, or after acupuncture; however, it is most certainly a therapy that can stand on its own.

Although many acupuncturists actually do use smaller than normal needles specially designed for ears, Dr. Sweeney prefers to use microcurrent to get the job done, as it simply feels better to the patient, and has nearly the same beneficial effect.

Below, are only some conditions which may be helped with Auriculotherapy:
  • Alcoholism
  • Allergies
  • Anxiety
  • Asthma
  • Bladder Control
  • Constipation
  • Depression
  • Drug Addiction
  • Gall Bladder
  • Headache
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Hyperactivity
  • Impotence
  • Insomnia
  • Knee Pain
  • PMS
  • Shingles
  • Sinusitis
  • Smoking Withdrawal
  • Sore Throat
  • Stuttering
  • Toothache
  • Vision Problems
  • Weight Control
We Offer the Following Services

Doctors of Chiropractic – often referred to as Chiropractors or Chiropractic Physicians – practice a drug-free, hands-on approach to healthcare, which includes patient examination, evaluation, diagnosis and treatment. Chiropractic Doctors have broad diagnostic skills, and are trained to recommend therapeutic and rehabilitative strategies; as well as nutritional and lifestyle counseling and support.

Here is a brief overview of the array of specialized services offered by our clinic. Please take some time, and explore what we have to offer.

Chiropractic Manipulation San Antonio
Functional Integrative Medicine San Antonio
Acupuncture Services San Antonio
Massage Therapy San Antonio

Schedule an Appointment Online

or call (210) 340-2150 to make an appointment

Meet Our Team
Dr. Lara Sweeney, DC
Dr. J. Lara Sweeney, DC IFMCP

Dr. Lara Sweeney has an impressive array of training, education, and certification. More ...

Dr. Jay Sweeney, DC
Dr. Jay Sweeney, DC DABCA

Dr. Jay Sweeney has an impressive array of training, education, and certification. More ...

Michelle Anderson
Michelle Anderson, LMT

Michelle has over 19 years massage & soft-tissue experience & is versed in a wide range of techniques More ...

Amanda Hughes
Amanda Hughes

Amanda is our "Go-to" person for all things "food"; whatever you might need from the world of diet and nutrition, she is eager to help.

Contact Us

Our friendly and knowledgeable staff is ready to help you! If you should call our office outside of our regular business hours or otherwise get our voicemail, please leave a message, and we will get back with you as soon as appropriate.

Please Call our office:

(210) 340-2150

Our office hours are:

Monday through Thursday
9:00am – 1:00pm and 3:00pm – 5:30pm

9:00am – 1:00pm

Weekends & Holidays

We Accept:


Proudly serving San Antonio and all of our South Texas neighbors:

Alamo Heights, Bandera, Blanco, Boerne, Buda, Bulverde, Canyon Lake, Castle Hills, Castroville, Cibolo, Converse, Devine, Fair Oaks Ranch, Floresville, Garden Ridge, Helotes, Hill Country Village, Hollywood Park, Hondo, Kerrville, Kirby, Kyle, Leon Valley, Live Oak, Lockhart, New Braunfels, Olmos Park, Pleasanton, San Marcos, Schertz, Seguin, Selma, Shavano Park, Stone Oak, Terrell Hills, Universal City, and Uvalde.

We also welcome new patients form Austin, Houston, Dallas / Ft. Worth, all of Texas, and from across the Nation!

Our Address

1931 NW Military Hwy.
Suite 204
Castle Hills, TX 78213

Our building “The Pavilions at Castle Hills”, is located at the corner of NW Military Hwy. and Sunflower in Castle Hills. It’s a two-story brown brick building; “First Serve Tennis”, “Bicycle Heaven”, and “Hearing Aid Labs” occupy the front. Our office is located on the second floor, on the back side of the building. Plenty of parking is available in both the front and rear lots. There are stairways located at either end of the building; and for your convenience, there is an elevator located on the back side of the building, at the end of the south tunnel.