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Q & A

Some common questions about acupuncture are answered below. Call us if you have other questions or if you are interested in improving your life through acupuncture treatment.

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is an effective form of health care that has evolved into a complete and holistic medical system. Practitioners of acupuncture and Chinese medicine have used this noninvasive medical system to diagnose and help millions of people get well and stay healthy.

An acupuncturist will place fine, sterile needles at specific acupoints on the body. This activates the body’s Qi and promotes natural healing by enhancing recuperative power, immunity and physical and emotional health. It also can improve overall function and well-being. It is a safe, painless and effective way to treat a wide variety of medical problems.

What will happen at my first appointment

Your initial visit is a great opportunity for us to get to know each other. We will carefully go over an extensive health history, an evaluation of your current condition, and the development of a treatment plan for moving forward. We will also utilize traditional tongue and pulse taking to facilitate a TCM diagnosis, and go over any recent lab work or test results. Lastly, your first treatment will include an acupuncture session, and a detailed discussion about nutrition, recommended herbs and supplements, and lifestyle modifications if relevant. Please plan for approximately 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Why do they want to feel my pulse?

There are twelve pulse positions on each wrist that your acupuncturist will palpate. Each position corresponds to a specific meridian and organ. Your acupuncturist will be looking for twenty-seven individual qualities that reflect overall health. If there are any problems, they may appear in the pulse.

Why do they want to look at my tongue?

The tongue is a map of the body. It reflects the general health of the organs and meridians. Your acupuncturist will look at the color, shape, cracks and coating on your tongue.

Why did my acupuncturist recommend herbs?

Herbs can be a powerful adjunct to acupuncture care. They are used to strengthen, build and support the body or to clear it of excess problems like a cold, fever or acute pain. Your practitioner may suggest starting with herbs and then adding acupuncture to your treatment in the future. This is suggested to build up your internal strength so you can receive the full benefits acupuncture has to offer.

Is acupuncture safe for children?

Yes. In some instances children actually respond more quickly than adults. If your child has an aversion to needles, your acupuncturist may massage the acupuncture points. This is called acupressure or tuina.

How many treatments will I need?

While it is difficult to gauge the exact number of treatments a patient will need to resolve their issue/s, we do know that the more chronic and severe the condition is, the longer it usually takes to heal.  Short-term acute conditions, such as colds and flus, can often be resolved within one treatment and a few days of taking herbs and supplements.  Long-standing problems, such as chronic digestive issues or skin conditions, may take several weeks to a few months to fully heal.  In our initial visit, I will assess your recommended number of treatments, and a timeline for optimal results.

How much does it cost?

Rates vary and depend upon what procedures are performed. It is best to consult with your acupuncturist about costs.

Do you take insurance?

We are not associated with any health insurance company. However, if your insurance plan allows for out-of-network acupuncture benefits, services may be partly covered. We are happy to provide a superbill for partial reimbursement on request. Please check your coverage carefully by asking the following questions:
Do I have out-of-network acupuncture benefits?
What is my out-of-network deductible and has it been met?
How many sessions per calendar year does my plan cover?
What is the coverage amount per acupuncture session?

How should I prepare for my appointment?

Please wear or have with you comfortable, loose-fitting clothing.  Ideally, you should not be too hungry or too full when you come for acupuncture.  Eating a light snack and being well hydrated is advisable.  Try to avoid alcohol and caffeine for at least 2-3 hours prior to your treatment.  Also please bring along any recent lab work or test results.

How safe is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is extremely safe. It is an all-natural, drug-free therapy, yielding no side effects just feelings of relaxation and well-being. There is little danger of infection from acupuncture needles because they are sterile, used once, and then discarded.

How are acupuncturists educated?

Today, most acupuncturists undertake four to six years of extensive and comprehensive graduate and post-graduate training at nationally certified colleges and universities. All acupuncturists must pass a national exam and meet strict guidelines to practice in every state. Our acupuncturists are nationally board certified and state licensed.

What can acupuncturists treat?

Acupuncture is recognized by the National Institute of Health (NIH) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to be effective in the treatment of a wide variety of medical problems. Below are some of the health concerns that acupuncture can effectively treat:

  • Addiction
  • Anxiety
  • Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Bronchitis
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Colitis
  • Common cold
  • Constipation
  • Dental pain
  • Depression
  • Diarrhea
  • Digestive trouble
  • Dizziness
  • Dysentery
  • Emotional problems
  • Eye problems
  • Facial palsy
  • Fatigue
  • Fertility
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Gingivitis
  • Headache
  • Hiccough
  • Incontinence
  • Indigestion
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Low back pain
  • Menopause
  • Menstrual irregularities
  • Migraine
  • Morning sickness
  • Nausea
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Pain
  • PMS
  • Pneumonia
  • Reproductive problems
  • Rhinitis
  • Sciatica
  • Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
  • Shoulder pain
  • Sinusitis
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Smoking cessation
  • Sore throat
  • Stress
  • Tennis elbow
  • Tonsillitis
  • Tooth pain
  • Trigeminal neuralgia
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Vomiting
  • Wrist pain

Does acupuncture hurt?

Acupuncture needles are very thin and flexible, quite unlike hypodermic needles used to give “shots” or take blood.  Oftentimes, you cannot feel them being inserted, however at times they might produce a slight pricking sensation.  It is typical to occasionally experience a heavy or mild aching feeling in the area around an acupuncture point.  Please notify me if you are experiencing sharp pain, burning sensation, or numbness and tingling after the acupuncture needle has been inserted.

Are there any side effects?

Most patients report a sense of deep relaxation and rejuvenation after acupuncture, and can continue about their day with no restrictions. Occasionally, some patients may report feeling light-headed, dizzy, tired, or nauseous after a treatment. Symptoms usually disappear within 10-30 minutes, but it is always advisable to listen to your body and rest if you need to. Slight bruising or residual muscle ache at the needle insertion site may also be experienced.

When will I feel better after a treatment?

Your relief may be immediate, come on after a few hours, or may be noticeable within a few days. This relief may be permanent, or may last days, weeks or months. Depending on your condition, and how severe or chronic your symptoms have become, you may begin to experience relief after one or several treatments.
In rare instances, symptoms may briefly become worse or “flare-up” after a treatment. The post-treatment flare-up is self-limiting, and usually resolves within 24 hours. If you notice an exacerbation of symptoms after your treatment, please notify me for support about how to manage the flare-up.

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