FAQ

HOW DOES ACUPUNCTURE WORK?

Very simply, acupuncture works by stimulating points on the body to create a state of balance or homeostasis. Tiny needles (literally the size of a piece of human hair) are inserted strategically into specific points and this triggers a response from the body. Commonly this response is immediately experienced as a calm and relaxed sensation.

There are many theories that explain the physiological reasoning behind why people feel better after receiving acupuncture. A few examples are:

  • release of endorphins causing pain reduction & a “happy” feeling
  • release of shortened muscle fibers, resulting in relaxation of tight muscles
  • reduction of inflammation markers in the body
  • regulation of the parasympathetic nervous system (the opposite of “fight or flight” response, sometimes known as “rest & digest”)

WHAT CONDITIONS CAN ACUPUNCTURE TREAT?

Acupuncture treats an extremely wide range of ailments. Here are a few examples of conditions commonly treated with acupuncture:

  • acute pain
  • allergies
  • anxiety
  • arthritis
  • asthma
  • back pain
  • chronic pain
  • constipation
  • depression
  • digestive disorders
  • dizziness / vertigo
  • eczema / psoriasis
  • fertility issues
  • gout
  • headaches / migraines
  • high blood pressure
  • insomnia
  • low energy
  • nausea / vomiting
  • neck pain
  • neuropathy
  • painful periods / PMS
  • sciatica
  • shoulder & arm pain
  • sports injuries
  • stress

DOES IT HURT?

Chinese medicine has been used to treat all varieties of physical and psychological disorders for thousands of years. In the US, acupuncture first gained prominence particularly in the treatment of asthma, allergies, nausea, post-stroke recovery, PMS, fertility and acute and chronic pain of any kind. The World Health Organization (WHO) maintains a list of diseases and disorders that can be treated with acupuncture.

As mentioned before, acupuncture needles are about the width of a human hair. Often there is no sensation at all upon insertion, however occasionally there is a slight sting or prick that lasts for an instant. Once in place you may feel sensations such as tingling, warmth, or a slight dull pressure, which signals your body’s response to the needles and is a positive reaction. Generally people do not find this to be an unpleasant sensation or describe it as pain. Once needles are inserted patients often fall into a very relaxing sleep!

IS IT SAFE?

All needles are single-use, sterile disposable needles, and present no risk of infection. Side effects from acupuncture are both rare and minor.

WHAT KIND OF TRAINING DO LICENSED ACUPUNCTURISTS RECEIVE?

Licensed acupuncturists must hold a Master of Science. This entails over 3100 hours of post-graduate work and nearly 1000 hours of clinical training and internships – about 4 years of full-time study beyond a bachelor’s degree. Graduates must then pass four National Board exams given by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) as well as any licensing exams given by the state government in the location where they wish to practice.

WHAT IS A TYPICAL ACUPUNCTURE SESSION LIKE?

We will begin your first acupuncture appointment by talking about your specific health concerns and discussing your relevant health history. I will also feel your pulse and examine your tongue, both of which are very useful tools for diagnosis.

You will then lie down and I will insert needles into strategic points on your body based on our discussion and your health concerns. I may also use additional Chinese medicine healing techniques, such as tui na massage, cupping, gua sha and/or moxibustion. Patients generally do not need to disrobe, as most points can be accessed by rolling up clothing. The needles are typically left in for 20-35 minutes while you rest and relax.

Your first treatment will last about 90 minutes and follow-up treatments will last about 60 minutes.

HOW SHOULD I PREPARE FOR MY TREATMENTS?

Wear comfortable, loose clothing and have a snack or small meal about an hour before your appointment. If your appointment is in the morning, it is best to have breakfast beforehand.

HOW LONG WILL I NEED TO GET TREATMENT?

The number of treatments needed varies greatly, depending on the patient’s individual constitution, current condition, length of illness and individual response to treatment. We generally expect to see progress within the first few treatments.

The goal of Chinese medicine is for the patient to not need treatment! Our goal is to help patients receive maximum therapeutic benefit as quickly as possible, so that they do not need continuous, long-term treatment. Many patients still like to come in regularly for stress relief and general health maintenance.

DO I NEED A DOCTOR’S REFERRAL FOR ACUPUNCTURE?

It is not necessary for a doctor’s referral for acupuncture.

DO YOU ACCEPT INSURANCE?

While I do not bill insurance directly, I can provide a super-bill receipt for you to submit to your insurance company for reimbursement.

WHAT FORMS OF PAYMENT DO YOU ACCEPT?

I accept payment in the form of credit card (Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express), check or cash. I also accept Health Savings Account (HSA) cards.