What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture involves inserting thin, single-use, sterile needles through the skin to identify and correct imbalances within the body’s “energy” flow, called “qi” or “chi”. Acupuncture as a form of medical treatment has become more popular in the U.S. in recent decades, particularly as an adjunct to Western treatments or as part of an integrative system of care.

What can acupuncture treat?

Acupuncture most often is used to treat acute and chronic pain disorders; emotional disorders, such as anxiety and depression; digestive complaints; and neurological conditions, such as migraine or stroke. It also has been used to treat respiratory conditions, circulatory conditions, gynecological disorders and infertility. There is also evidence to support its use to treat fatigue and addictions. A general sense of well-being often is promoted through the balancing of the energy of the body. 

Does my insurance cover my treatments?

 For many of pour patients, HSA/ FSA cards are used to pay for services. Since we do not have a contract with any insurance providers, we can provide you a super bill which you can use for reimbursement. To find out if you have out of network benefits, contact your health insurance provider. It’s always helpful to ask how much coverage you have and what percentage or amount they cover per visit.

How does acupuncture work?

There are multiple scientific theories about how acupuncture works. Wester Medicine explains the success as stimulation of sensory neurons that signal changes within the peripheral and central nervous system and that acupuncture promotes the release of the body’s own natural painkillers  alleviating or easing pain. Insertion of acupuncture needles also may block the transmission of pain signals through the nerves to the brain.

Is acupuncture safe?

Acupuncture is generally safe when performed properly by a competent and licensed practitioner. The most common side effects of acupuncture are soreness and minor bleeding or bruising at the needle sites. 

Acupuncture may not be safe for people who are taking blood thinners (anticoagulants) or who have bleeding disorders. Electroacupuncture should be avoided by anyone with a cardiac pacemaker, infusion pump, or other electrical device.

Acupuncturists use single-use, sterile, stainless-steel needles to ensure your complete safety. Needles are responsibly disposed of via sharps containers after their use.

What can I expect at my first acupuncture treatment?

Each practitioner of acupuncture has a unique style. Your practitioner may ask you about your symptoms, behaviors and lifestyle. The practitioner may perform and exam including pulse and tongue diagnosis and palpitation of meridians. This history gathering and physical exam will help your practitioner determine the type of acupuncture treatment that will help you the most. 

We recommend that you wear loose fitting clothing. If some areas are not accessible, you may be asked to dress down and will lie under a sheet.

 

Is acupuncture painful?

Acupuncture needles are thin, so insertion is usually painless. However, you may feel a slight aching sensation, tingling or warmth. Between 5  and 20 needles are used in a typical treatment. Your practitioner may gently stimulate the needles after placement or apply heat or mild electrical pulses to them. If at any time you have discomfort, let your practitioner know.

 

Web links for Acupuncture research:

 

https://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/mayo-clinic-q-and-a-curious-about-acupuncture/