Frequently Asked Questions
Why would I see an acupuncturist?
Many patients seek acupuncture treatment for relief from a specific physical condition. However, traditionally acupuncture was used as a form of wellness care to cultivate health, balance, and vitality. In ancient China, acupuncturists were only paid when patients remained well, and waiting for illness to develop before seeking treatment was equated to beginning to forge weapons once a battle has begun. I believe the ideal use of acupuncture is to make it a regular part of your self-care regime, and I receive treatment every few weeks in support of my own health and wellbeing.
What about the needles; are they safe? Do they hurt?
Acupuncture needles are extremely thin, no thicker than two human hairs. They are also solid, so bear no resemblance to the hollow, hypodermic needles used in western medicine. Each needle comes individually packaged and sterilized, and is discarded immediately after use. Sensations vary from person to person, ranging from nothing at all to a brief ache or heaviness in the area being needled. Some points are more sensitive than others. By and large patients describe the sensations as fleeting and the treatment experience as deeply relaxing.
What are the benefits of regular treatment?
Patients receiving regular acupuncture treatment usually report getting sick less often, improved energy and vitality, and a clearer sense of ease and wellbeing in their lives. Recent studies indicate that regular acupuncture treatment may contribute to reductions in long term health care costs. A survey conducted by Claire Cassidy, Ph.D. suggests that people receiving acupuncture see their physicians less often and use fewer medications. Over two thirds of those surveyed reported having avoided a recommended surgery.
Is acupuncture covered by insurance?
An increasing number of insurance companies do reimburse for acupuncture treatments. Be sure to consult your insurer for the terms of coverage on your policy. I will provide you with a coded receipt at each treatment that you can submit to your insurance company for reimbursement. Full payment is due at the time of treatment.
How does acupuncture work?
Acupuncture is based on observance of natural laws that govern the movement of energy both in nature and in our bodies. This energy, called "Qi" (pronounced "chee"), moves through the body in a precise network of channels. In states of health, the unimpeded movement of qi supports the many diverse functions of body, mind, and spirit. When qi movement is obstructed, the resulting imbalance may manifest in the form of specific symptoms. The insertion of acupuncture needles at specific points along these channels helps clear energetic blockages, restoring the natural flow of qi in support of the body's innate healing capability.
How frequently do I need to come to benefit from treatment?
The frequency of treatments varies with each individual. In the beginning, you will be seen in weekly one-hour sessions. As internal harmony is restored and you begin to experience improvement in your condition, we can space treatments out, initially to every other week, and eventually to monthly or even seasonal visits. Weekly treatments are usually only required for the first 4-8 weeks.
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The World Health Organization* recognizes the ability of acupuncture and traditional Oriental medicine to treat over 43 common disorders including:
Gastrointestinal Disorders, such as food allergies, peptic ulcer, chronic diarrhea, constipation, indigestion, irritable bowel syndrome, gastrointestinal weakness, and gastritis.
Uro-genital Disorders, including stress incontinence, urinary tract infections, and sexual dysfunction.
Gynecological Disorders, such as irregular, heavy, or painful menstruation, infertility in women and men, menopausal, and premenstrual syndromes.
Respiratory Disorders, such as emphysema, sinusitis, asthma, allergies, and bronchitis.
Disorders of the Bones, Muscles, Joints and Nervous System, such as arthritis, migraine headaches, neuralgia, dizziness, carpal tunnel syndrome, back pain, neck and shoulder pain, fibromyalgia, and other pains.
Circulatory Disorders, such as hypertension, angina pectoris, arteriosclerosis, and anemia.
Emotional and Psychological Disorders, including depression, anxiety, eating disorders, insomnia, and other psycho-somatic disorders.
Addictions, such as alcohol, nicotine, drugs, sex, food, and gambling.
Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat Disorders
Note: Acupuncture is often an effective therapy for other chronic, painful, or debilitating disorders which have no clear explanation or origin.