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Frequently Asked Questions

What is acupuncture?


Acupuncture is one of the oldest medical procedures used in the world today.  It involves the insertion of fine needles along body pathways called meridians or channels, in which your body’s qi (pronounced qi) flows  Acupuncture stimulates specific points along the meridian to correct any imbalances and restore health.



What is qi?


Qi (pronounced chee) is a Chinese term that can be translated as “vital energy” or “vital substance” that controls bodily functions and animates the body.  Qi helps protect the body from pain, illness and disease.  A person’s health is influenced by the quality, quantity and balance of qi.  Any kind of pain or illness represents an obstruction or imbalance in the normal flow of qi.



What are meridians or channels?


These are the pathways through which qi flows.  There are 14 main channels in the body.  They cover the entire body, from the top of the head to the tips of the fingers and toes.  These channels connect internally to organs, such as the lungs and the large intestine.  Acupuncturists use points along these channels where qi is close to the surface.  Stimulating these points causes your body to rebalance itself and healing to occur.



How is the flow of qi disrupted?


Stuck qi is like a traffic jam.  Substances the body needs cannot get where they need to go and therefore become unavailable to it.  Many things can cause imbalances or obstructions of qi in the body.  These include trauma, stress, overexertion, lack of exercise, seasonal changes, poor diet, emotional changes and excessive activity.  When the imbalance of qi is extended or in excess, pain and/or illness occur in one or more of the body’s systems.  If the body is in a weakened state, illness or pain can occur even more easily.



Is acupuncture safe?


Acupuncture is an extremely safe form of treatment.  Injuries are rare among patients treated by trained professionals.  The FDA requires that sterile, non-toxic needles be used and that they be labeled for single use by qualified practitioners only. The most common side effects are mild bruising or a few drops of blood after the needle is removed at the site of insertion.  Sometimes you may feel some localized sensation after the treatment.  This usually goes away after a few hours.  There is a chance that symptoms may be aggravated after a treatment.  Though this may not be pleasant, in rare cases it can be part of the healing process.


On very rare occasions people may experience nausea or fainting during the treatment.  This is uncommon, and usually happens when someone has not eaten before the treatment.  The most serious injury possible from acupuncture is an organ puncture, particularly to the lungs, which is called a pneumothorax. This is incredibly rare when acupuncture is performed by a licensed acupuncturist.



What conditions can acupuncture treat?


Acupuncture can be used to treat a number of health problems.  The World Health Organization (WHO) and the National Institute of Health (NIH) recognize acupuncture’s effectiveness to treat the following disorders:


Pain: low back pain, sciatica, headache, migraine, shoulder pain, tennis elbow, wrist pain, fibromyalgia, carpal tunnel syndrome, arthritis, osteoarthritis, tooth pain, dental pain and trigeminal neuralgia


GI Problems: digestive trouble, nausea, colitis, diarrhea, hiccough, indigestion, irritable bowel syndrome and vomiting


Women’s Health: reproductive problems, menopause, PMS, menstrual irregularities, morning sickness, fertility and UTIs


Immune System: sinusitis, rhinitis, bronchitis, tonsillitis, sore throat, pneumonia and common cold


Emotional Health: stress, seasonal affective disorder (SAD), anxiety and depression


Other Disorders: sleep disturbances, chronic fatigue, asthma, dizziness, gingivitis, eye problems, incontinence, addictions and smoking cessation.

Billing and Fees

How Much Does it Cost?


Current Fees For Payment at Time of Service*
Initial acupuncture evaluation and treatment: $145             
Follow-up acupuncture treatments: $95
Herbal medications are separate and usually range in price from $10 - $25 per week



Do You Bill Insurance? 

At this time we do not bill insurance.  If your insurance plan covers acupuncture we are happy to supply you with a super bill that you can submit to your insurance company for reimbursement.  
Please call your insurance company to verify benefits before you schedule your first appointment.  Many insurance companies only cover acupuncture for certain conditions - pain syndromes and certain types of nausea related to chemotherapy or pregnancy.  Your insurance company may only cover a limited number of treatments.  You may be responsible to pay for treatments until you meet your deductible.  Make sure you clearly understand your benefits before you start treatment.



How Many Treatments Will I Need?

A typical course of treatment is 10 treatments.  You will most likely be asked to come in 1-2 times per week for 3 to 10 weeks.  Some people will need more than one course of treatment to get the best results. Once you are feeling better, the frequency of treatments will be spaced out.  Everyone responds differently to acupuncture, so so the number of treatments vary.  Generally the longer and more complicated the problem, the more treatments you will need to remedy it.  In most cases patients see a notable decrease in symptoms during the first course of treatment. Many patients choose to continue with maintenance treatments every month or so depending on their preference. 


Can I combine acupuncture with other therapies?


Absolutely! Acupuncture often enhances the work that you're doing with other practitioners.  For example, if you are being treated for back pain it may be important to get into an exercise and stretching program to maintain good posture and body mechanics to keep the back pain away. When acupuncture is performed before a chiropractic treatment, many chiropractors have an easier time adjusting and the adjustments may hold better. Physical therapy programs also complement acupuncture. It is important to continue taking prescription medications when you first begin having acupuncture. Often people find that they are feeling so much better from their acupuncture treatments they may go back to their doctor to have their medications adjusted.



What Should I Expect During My First Visit? 

The first visit usually lasts around 90 min. Eat a little something before you come.  Please fill out paperwork ahead of time (you will receive it in your Welcome Email after the appointment is scheduled) or arrive 10-15 minutes early to fill it out at the office.  If you have a referral or chart notes you would like me to see, please bring those as well.

The first visit includes a thorough intake, lasting 30 minutes.  You will be asked about your primary complaint as well as your general health history.  This will give a complete picture of how your body functions.  Often a pulse and tongue diagnosis are done.  This helps identify meridians and patterns involved in your disorder.  Next we will discuss a treatment plan.  Initially this often includes 2-3 visits per week.  The last part of the visit involves the acupuncture itself.  The needles are inserted and then left in from 20 to 45 minutes. Other modalities such as cupping might be used as needed.


What Should I Expect During My Follow-up treatments? 


Follow up visits are shorter, lasting about an hour. There is a short intake, then the needles are put in and again left for 20 to 45 minutes.


After your visits, make sure you stay hydrated!  Acupuncture releases toxins from your tissues that need to be flushed out.Take time every day to breathe and relax.  Remember, stress is one of the primary contributors to many disorders.



How can I get the best results from acupuncture?


An acupuncture treatment can be enhanced by doing or avoiding certain activities:

Follow any diet and/or lifestyle instructions given to you.  This may include but not limited to dietary advice, stretching or meditative exercises, hot or cold therapy, herbal formulas, supplements, moxa application, or self-massage on specific acupressure points. These are for your benefit and will increase the results from treatment. If you are given herbs, take them as prescribed.  You will have to take them 2 to 3 times a day for maximum results.


Eat a light meal or snack 30 minutes to 1 hour before the treatment.  Avoid coming to a treatment with a stomach that is too full or too empty, after sexual activity or under the influence of drugs or alcoho.


After the treatment take it easy for a few hours so you can assimilate the effect of the acupuncture.  Wait at least an hour to eat a full meal or drink alcohol.


While undergoing care you will benefit most by refraining from or reducing the use of caffeine, cigarettes, alcohol and other drugs.


To achieve faster results you can do a few simple things every day to take care of yourself.  You can get enough sleep, practice proper nutrition, participate in light recreational exercise (outdoors if possible), avoid stressful situations, and set aside some time each day for mental and physical relaxation.


Be aware that as the energy shifts in your body as a response to acupuncture you may experience different sensations, from euphoria to what is called a healing crisis where symptoms may worsen.  You may want to know if what you are experiencing is appropriate for you at the time, so don’t be afraid to call with any questions you may have.


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