As a Doctor of Acupuncture, I receive an assortment of questions from friends, family members, neighbors, colleagues, and patients. Enjoy some of the most popular inquiries and my thoughtful responses below.
Is acupuncture a religion?
No, it is not. Acupuncturists may feel a call to healing, but we come from every race and ethnic group and practice our own religious choices.
I never heard of acupuncture. How can it help?
Acupuncture has existed for several thousand years, embedded into the medical system of China. Yes, in their hospitals! Could 1.5 billion people be onto something?
How many acupuncture treatments are required?
Every individual is different. For example, if a patient with addiction issues visits our office, we support the elimination of symptoms rather than a cure. As symptoms alleviate, we determine the frequency of the treatments until we get to a monthly maintenance status.
For pain, the rough rule of thumb is that the longer the condition has existed, the longer it will take to treat. Younger people may respond faster than older people. We may be able to mitigate acute conditions in 3-4 treatments. Typically, a window of 8-12 treatments is necessary to make a lasting change in body patterns.
How often do I need acupuncture treatments?
For acute conditions (sprains, strains, injuries in general), we recommend treatments 2 times a week. Otherwise, once a week works!
How long will acupuncture take to help me?
Some people may experience a profound feeling of well-being and relaxation after the first treatment. We generally look for improvement after 4-6 treatments.
Does acupuncture hurt?
In general, acupuncture is painless. A few point locations may be more sensitive, but we will immediately stop if you feel discomfort.
How big are the needles?
Acupuncture needles are solid filiform needles (nothing is injected into the needles). As such, they are really thin. To compare; a hypodermic needle is 25-27 gauges. Acupuncture needles range from 30-40 gauges. (The higher the number, the thinner the needle.) Let’s put it this way: we need magnets to pick them up when they fall on the floor! Too small to see!
How safe is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is very safe in the hands of a well-trained and experienced practitioner. The most common, but not usual, side effects may be slight bruising at the site of needle insertion. Older individuals on blood thinners may bruise more easily.
How does acupuncture feel?
Once the needles are inserted, patients often feel more relaxed, even sleepy. Sometimes there is a charged feeling (like electricity) or a feeling of movement around the needles. Many patients feel as if they are meditating or falling asleep.
Why do I need acupuncture in addition to the treatment I'm receiving in physical therapy or from my doctor?
Long-term pain patterns are tough to change. The stress-reducing and re-balancing effects of acupuncture are proven to mitigate symptoms while altering the pain pattern your body has become accustomed to. Acupuncture becomes another tool in your kit to return to a pain-free life.
Is acupuncture constrained by any medication(s)?
No. If your practitioner prescribes an herbal formula, we will review your medications to ensure there are no possible interaction issues.
Why does acupuncture work?
Acupuncture is energy medicine, and the needle locations are based on protocols for balancing and clearing the channels. Here’s a more straightforward explanation: Issues are caused by blocked energy resulting in pain, anxiety, etc. Clearing those channels will enable your energy to flow freely, and you will feel better!
Is facial acupuncture REAL acupuncture?
Yes! We use body points to support our Chinese Medicine diagnosis, plus facial points for collagen production, relaxing wrinkles and lines, and lifting sagging areas over time.
Is acupuncture covered by insurance?
Our practice is out-of-network for all insurance plans. Check with your insurance carrier to see if you have out-of-network coverage for acupuncture. We can provide a Superbill that you can submit to your insurance carrier or Health Savings Account for reimbursement. Medicare indicates that they cover acupuncture, but only for lower back pain and ONLY if performed under the auspices of a medical doctor.