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Frequently Asked Questions

We're glad you have questions about acupuncture!
Here are some of the most common questions we’ve received.

WHAT IS ACUPINCTURE?

Acupuncture is a form of treatment of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).  It utilizes fine, stainless steel, filiform needles that are inserted into specific points on the body to stimulate a healing response in the body.  

 

 

DOES ACUPUNCTURE HURT?

            Acupuncture is actually quite painless - no really, we mean it!.  There are certain sensations that are considered 'normal' and common, including heaviness or aching, tingling or moving, or electric 'zingers' … or maybe nothing at all! These feelings can often give us more diagnostic insight and are generally thought to be therapeutic in nature as long as it is not preventing you from being comfortable and relaxing.

 

Any sensations should fade and pass quickly.  If there is continued discomfort where a needle is inserted, let your acupuncturist know so that they can adjust or remove that needle.  Acupuncture should never be a painful or uncomfortable experience.  

 

HOW DOES ACUPUNCTURE WORK

           Acupuncture works by balancing the body’s Qi.  This is a Chinese Medical term and while it can seem a bit ambiguous, acupuncturists are effecting change on the flow of qi throughout 12 major channels by stimulating specific acupoints, which in turn provide symptom relief and optimize overall health.

Acupuncture by nature is simple, safe, and effective and although It is not fully understood how placing a needle in a particular point elicits specific responses, research continues to measure physiological changes and support various mechanisms of action for the effectiveness of acupuncture treatments. 

 

IS THERE ANYTHING IN THE NEEDLE?

            Absolutely not!  Acupuncture utilizes sterile, single use, filiform (solid) stainless steel needles unlike the hollow (hypodermic) syringes used to give shots.

All the sensations you may feel- physical, mental, or emotional - is all your body finding balance.  How cool is that?!

 

IS ACUPUNCTURE SAFE?

            Acupuncture is a very safe form of medicine with minimal adverse side-effects.  The needles are sterilized, single use and disposable; and although it is not without risks as we are inserting needles into the body, acupuncturists undergo rigorous, years-long training and are regulated by state medical boards and national boards in order to adhere to proper technique and ensure clinical safety.

 

WHAT SHOULD I LOOK FOR IN A QUALIFIED ACUPUNCTURIST?

            Today, acupuncturists are trained in accredited graduate programs, are licensed by most states and regulated by national boards. Some physicians, chiropractors, physical therapists and other allopathic practitioners offer treatments known as “medical acupuncture” or “dry needling”; however, while acupuncture is dry needling, dry needling is not acupuncture!  We strongly recommend looking for a practitioner with formal training, national certification, and an active license to practice Oriental Medicine (acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine).

WHY COMMUNITY – OR GROUP – ACUPUNCTURE

Community acupuncture is a way to give effective acupuncture to a high-volume of people at a low cost. This involves treating everyone in a communal space while they rest comfortably in recliner chairs, which may vary some, or maybe greatly, from the common perception of what an acupuncture treatment is like - meaning 1 patient being treated alone in 1 room laying on some sort of massage table.  Unfortunately, these treatments can be fairly pricy, which not only limits who has the means to receive acupuncture but often deters those from committing to and completing a plan of care.

With this business model, patients are able to access the care they need while benefiting from a supportive community healing environment.

 

 

HOW MANY TREATMENTS WILL I NEED?

            The answer to this question, frustrating as it can be, is that it depends.  Factors including duration, intensity, accompanying symptoms, and your overall constitution will all inform how long it might take to start seeing results.  Your acupuncturist will discuss a treatment plan at your first visit depending on these findings; but in general, it is recommended that new patients expect to have 3 to 5 treatments to see how acupuncture works for their body.  

Consistency in treatments is going to be key.  One of the benefits of the payment sliding scale is that it allows patients to come in as frequently as they may need - often two to three times per week.

 

WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT?  HOW DO I KNOW IT’S WORKING?

            Again, everyone is different and the range of responses after acupuncture is vast. Typically, acute issues will respond more quickly than chronic ones but acupuncture works best when you get it regularly.  Therefore, depending on your treatment plan you will likely have more frequent appointments in the beginning and then once continued, consistent symptom relief/improvement is achieved you will taper appointments down and decrease the frequency into a management phase.

CAN I COMBINE ACUPUNCTURE WITH OTHER THERAPIES?

            Yes, you can combine acupuncture with any other type of health care or exercise at any time.  There are virtually no limitations after receiving an acupuncture treatment and we encourage you to continue any other health practices or modalities in addition to your acupuncture care.  

Additionally, if you already receive acupuncture you can keep seeing your acupuncturist privately and come to our community acupuncture in between sessions.

 

DO YOU TAKE INSURANCE/ MEDICARE/ MEDICAID

            Unfortunately, we do not work with any insurance companies at this time. However, the sliding scale is typically lower than a co-pay. All patients pay at the time of service. 

CAN I READ OR USE MY PHONE DURING THE TREATMENT?

Using your phone or reading is discouraged while in the treatment areas. An acupuncture treatment is not only relaxing but is helping your body rest, recover, and heal and concentrating on a phone or a book engages brain activity that interferes with that process. Furthermore, increasing that type of activity can be disruptive to others’ treatments in the treatment room. 

 

WHAT CAN ACUPUNCTURE TREAT?

So many things!! Acupuncture is probably best known for treating pain -from acute injuries to chronic pain conditions - but it truly is a whole-systems medicine providing a calming effect on the nervous system and can therefore help with stress management, sleep, digestion, allergies, anxiety, and more.

 

Can you treat my back or hip pain if I’m seated in a recliner with my clothes on? 

Don’t you need to put the needle exactly where I’m feeling pain?  

Although it may seem counterintuitive, the effectiveness of acupuncture is not dependent on placing needles at the site of pain or area of concern.  For example, some of the most reactive and potent points to treat low back pain, hip pain, and sciatica, are on the hands and ankles/feet!  Even when no needles are placed at the site of pain we are able to obtain significant pain relief.

 

 

STILL HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT ACUPUNCTURE?!

​Check out the Resource Page for more information!

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