Frequently asked questions
Does acupuncture hurt? Is it painful?
No. Our method of acupuncture is not painful. Infact, many of our patients find acupuncture treatment very relaxing and often nap during their sessions.
We take great care to make sure everyone is comfortable during their treatment.
Do you accept insurance?
In order to provide you the best care, we do not accept insurance. HOWEVER, if your insurance plan covers acupuncture, we can provide you with an itemized bill that you can submit for reimbursement. Many of our patients with insurance coverage do this.
How does acupuncture work?
Acupuncture achieves the desired results by stimulating specific points near or on the surface of the skin - acupuncture points - that have the ability to alter biochemical and physiological conditions in the body. Because acupuncture points are designated areas of electrical sensitivity, inserting needles at these points stimulates sensory receptors. This in turn stimulates nerves that transmit impulses to the hypothalamic-pituitary system in the brain. The hypothalamus-pituitary glands are responsible for releasing neurotransmitters and endorphins, the body's natural pain-killing hormones (thought to be some 200 times more potent than morphine). Endorphins play a significant role in the hormonal system, which is why acupuncture is effective in treating back pain, arthritis, PMS and infertility. The substances released as a result of acupuncture relax the body, and also regulate serotonin in the brain, which affects emotional states. Other physiological effects include increased circulation, decreased inflammation, relief of muscle spasms and increased T-cell count, which supports the immune system.
Do I have to "believe" in order for it to work?
No. As a case in point, acupuncture works very well for horses, dogs and cats, most of whom probably don't "believe" in acupuncture. It is always beneficial to have confidence in your practitioner, but faith in a particular technique is not necessary to obtain results.
What should I expect?
WHAT WILL HAPPEN ON MY FIRST VISIT?
For your initial consultation, the acupuncturist needs to assess your general health. You will be asked about your current symptoms and any treatment you've received so far. It is also important to gather detailed information about your medical history and that of your family, your diet, digestive system, sleeping patterns and emotional state. The purpose is to identify what needs to be addressed in order to target your specific complaint, and to boost your overall vitality.
Stimulation of specific areas affects the functioning of various organs. However, those areas may not be close to the part of the body where you are experiencing a problem. For example, if you suffer from headaches, needles may be inserted into your foot or hand. There are 365 specific acupuncture points on the body, and an unlimited number of non-specific points. An experienced acupuncturist will use a selection of these for each session. Often during the course of a few sessions, different points will be selected as the patient's condition changes. Other techniques, such as electro-acupuncture, massage, or tapping with a rounded probe, are particularly suitable for small children or for people with a fear of needles.
WHAT SHOULD I DO BEFORE TREATMENT?
We recommend wearing loose, comfortable clothing to receive acupuncture treatment. You should be aware that the acupuncturist may need to access points on your torso, arms and legs. It also helps to be in a calm state. Try to arrive 5 or 10 minutes before your appointment to give yourself a chance to relax. Try to avoid the following:
Eating a big meal within one hour of your appointment
Fasting for more than six hours before your appointment
Alcohol, tobacco, food or drinks that color your tongue (such as coffee) immediately prior to treatment or just following a treatment
Vigorous exercise or sexual activity within the hour before treatment
We also recommend that you avoid wearing any metallic jewelry, watches, or earrings. Makeup and nail polish should be minimized or eliminated. Please also avoid the use of perfumes, colognes or strongly scented cosmetics.
HOW MANY SESSIONS WILL I NEED?
Length, number and frequency of sessions vary. For most conditions, a series of several sessions is necessary to achieve the maximum benefit. After an initial consultation, the acupuncturist should provide you with a treatment plan that includes the techniques to be used, as well as the frequency and duration of treatment.
A typical series of sessions consists of 6 to 12 visits, once or twice a week, with sessions lasting 30 to 90 minutes each. Acute conditions, such as sprains, generally require less time and frequency, whereas more chronic or severe ailments may require several (or several dozen) sessions. Appointments are scheduled further and further apart after the optimal response has been achieved. Some people experience great benefits from weekly or monthly sessions.
HOW LONG DO APPOINTMENTS LAST?
The length of acupuncture sessions varies depending on your condition. Typically, your first visit will be longer than your subsequent visits. Sessions can be as short as 30 minutes to as long as one hour.
HOW WILL I FEEL AFTER ACUPUNCTURE?
Patients normally feel relaxed and calm. You may feel tired or drowsy for a few hours if the experience is particularly strong. You may also experience a short-term flair-up of symptoms in the healing process. After a session, it is a good idea to sit quietly and relax. A gentle walk or very mild exercise can also be helpful. Avoid big meals, vigorous exercise, alcohol and stressful situations.
DO I HAVE TO RECEIVE ACUPUNCTURE TO BE TREATED?
No. Complete Oriental medical care also encompasses Chinese herbal medicine and structural therapeutics.
What are the side effects of acupuncture?
Generally, acupuncture therapy is well tolerated, however there are some side effects from time to time, such as bruising, light-headedness, feeling sleepy or tired after a treament, exacerbation of symptoms for a short time do to an increased healing response, muscle twitching, or even a release of emotion.
Beneficial side effects to acupuncture therapy include: improve sleep, increased energy, better digestion, clear thinking, balanced emotions, increased circulation, icreased immunity, reduced pain, and improved menses.