Acupuncture Frequently Asked Questions
Is there anything I should know for my first appointment?
For your first appointment, be sure to wear loose comfortable clothing and eat something at least one hour prior. Your first appointment will last about hour and a half, with all consecutive appointments lasting one hour. The first half of the appointment will be a thorough interview process as we discuss the main reasons for your visit and all else relating to your health, past and present. Your pulse will be assessed and your tongue looked at sometime during the intake, two tools used by Chinese Medicine practitioners for diagnostic purposes. Session will culminate with administration of acupuncture, in which the needles are retained for about 25 minutes. We have music and an ultraviolet heating lamp for your total relaxation.
The benefits of acupuncture start immediately. After your first treatment you could experience an excellent night of sleep, higher energy, more focus, less stress and pain reduction.
How does acupuncture work?
Systemic balance is critical to one's health and wellness, in western medicine this is known as homeostasis. Any imbalance can result in disorders such as pain, injury, insomnia, digestive issues, stress, gynecological disorders, allergies, depression, colds and a myriad of other complications. Acupuncture helps restore one's nature balance so organs and bodily systems can work together in harmony. This sets the stage for the body to repair itself and maintain its own optimal health.
From a Western medicine perspective, research has shown that acupuncture treatment triggers different physiological responses, such as:
Does acupuncture hurt?
Acupuncture needles can have a certain sensation after they are inserted, but few would call it pain. Unlike hypodermic needles which are used for the delivery of liquids and have a hollow edge to cut the skin, acupuncture needles are solid and part the tissue rather than cut it. Acupuncture needles are also much finer then hypodermic needles. About 40 acupuncture needles can fit into the tip of one standard 18 gauge hypodermic needle! Due to the acupuncture needles being so fine and the swiftness of the insertion, the pain reflexes on the nerve endings are not even stimulated. There are some areas of the body that will always be more sensitive including the fingers, toes and palms, but it's generally nothing more than a quick little prick. By the time all the needles are inserted, you generally do not feel any of them and are consumed with a sense of calm relaxation.
What do we know about the safety of acupuncture?
Acupuncture is generally considered safe when performed by an experienced, well-trained practitioner using sterile needles. Improperly performed acupuncture can cause serious side effects.
Properly administered, acupuncture does no harm. However, there are certain conditions you should notify an acupuncturist about before undergoing treatment. If you have a pacemaker, for instance, you should not receive electroacupuncture due to the possibility of electromagnetic interference with the pacemaker. Similarly, if you have a tendency to bleed easily, or if you are a hemophiliac, you may want to consider a different type of care.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates acupuncture needles as medical devices for use by licensed practitioners and requires that needles be manufactured and labeled according to certain standards. For example, the FDA requires that needles be sterile, nontoxic, and labeled for single use by qualified practitioners only.
Keep in Mind
What does acupuncture treat?
Acupuncture is extremely successful in the treatment of a multitude of conditions. The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified approximately 40 diseases that are effectively treated with acupuncture. However Chinese Medicine is a complete medical system that is capable of diagnosing and effectively treating a wide range of conditions.
How often do I need to come in for treatment?
Typically acupuncture treatments are given 1-3 times per week. The exact duration of treatment varies case to case but generally depends on the condition, your basic level of health and how well you respond to acupuncture. Usually frequent treatments are done for the first few weeks; after that, the frequency of treatment may be reduced as wellness is restored. Average cases take around 6 treatments to resolve, while more challenging chronic cases can take 10+.
Do you have to be certified to practice acupuncture?
Absolutely. The state of California has the most strict guidelines in the country to practice acupuncture. It requires four years of study in a graduate Master's degree program followed by passing the California State Board Examination. The L.Ac. after my name stands for Licensed Acupuncturist. California license number AC 11495.
Is acupuncture covered by my insurance?
Most insurance companies are beginning to recognize the benefits derived from acupuncture and are adding it as part of the regular benefits package.
Questions that you can ask your insurance provider are listed below.
· Does my policy cover acupuncture?
· Is there a deductible? If so, how much is my deductible?
· Has my deductible been met? Is there a yearly maximum on Acupuncture coverage? If so, has any been used?
· Is there a lifetime maximum on Acupuncture? If so, has any been used?
Are there any side effects of acupuncture?
Acupuncture has minimal side effects, making it an affordable, safe and effective treatment approach for variety of conditions.
The insertion of acupuncture needles may come with a brief painful sensation, and there is a slight possibility of minor swelling, bleeding, discoloration of the skin, bruising at the sight of the needle and fainting. Momentary euphoria or light-headedness may occur after acupuncture treatment.
The attending acupuncturist can easily handle any immediately reported problems that arise from acupuncture treatment and the possibility of minor problems need not be a cause for concern.
It seems as though getting treated by an acupuncturist on a regular basis is unnecessary. Wouldn’t I be better off waiting until I really need to see the doctor?
Chinese Medicine is known to be first and foremost as preventative medicine. Think of it as a savings account for the future. Isn't it nice to retire and reap the fruits of your savings? Only in this case it is your good health you will be enjoying. Regular acupuncture treatment is an investment in quality of life. Why wait until your health deteriorates or until you need urgent or emergency care? Traditional Chinese Medicine's ultimate goal of treatment is prevention. The value of optimum health is priceless!
Does acupuncture have any side effects?
Acupuncture exhibits minimal side effects for the patient. That makes for a much more of a practical and effective approach to treat various conditions. Compare to addressing your health issues with western medication, acupuncture can help avoid harsh side effects of pharmaceuticals such as drug addiction, insomnia, etc.