Frequently Asked Questions
- How old is Chinese Medicine?
- How does it work?
- What are the needles like?
- Does the US FDA regulate acupuncture needles?
- Does it hurt?
- Do I have to believe in Acupuncture for it to work?
- Do you use herbs?
- How do herbs differ from western medicine?
- Can I take Chinese herbs when I am on medication?
- How quickly can I expect to feel better?
- How often should I be treated?
- Does acupuncture always help?
- What should I wear for the treatment?
- Does insurance cover acupuncture?
You are invited to contact me today, and I will personally respond to any questions or comments promptly.
How old is Chinese Medicine?
Chinese medicine goes back over 3,000 years
How does it work?
Chinese medicine uses tiny needles to access and activate qi (pronounced “chee” – most closely translated into Western thought as “vital energy”), which helps nurture the body back to health by helping resolve energy imbalances.
What are the needles like?
Acupuncture needles are solid, not hollow like needles used by doctors. They are small and hair-thin and can literally be bent with your pinky.
Only sterile, disposable needles are used so there is no risk of infection. We use a needle once, then dispose of it.
US FDA Regulation of Acupuncture Needles
In 1996, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) removed the experimental status tag on acupuncture needles. The FDA reclassified acupuncture needles, regulating them as it does medical devices such as surgical scalpels and hypodermic syringes. Acupuncture needles must now be manufactured according to single-use standards of sterility.
Does it hurt?
People experience the needling sensation differently. There are different styles of needling. Acupuncture needles I insert are rarely described as painful and can be quickly adjusted if the patient feels any discomfort. If any sensation is experienced during insertion, it is often compared to a mosquito bite and disappears very quickly. Once the needles are inserted, they may be manipulated to obtain a mild “Qi” sensation.
This is how an acupuncturist engages the energy in your body in order to balance it. Often people describe their sensations as warming, heavy, numb or tingling. I take great care to make my patients very comfortable so that they can relax while the needles are in place. The more you can relax during an acupuncture treatment, the better the results. Many people even fall asleep during treatment.
Following treatment it is common to feel a tremendous sense of relaxation and calm.
Do I have to believe in it for it to work?
No. Acupuncture works whether or not you think it will. Acupuncture is even used successfully on animals and children. They do not understand or believe in the process yet they get better anyway. Of course a positive attitude helps with any type of therapy but it is not necessary to believe in acupuncture (or to feel it working) for it to work.
Since positive expectations and belief in a particular therapy help to increase therapeutic results, I encourage you to raise any concerns or doubts you may have about acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine. I’d like to help you to better understand acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine so that you may have the most positive healing experience possible.
Do you use herbs?
Yes, my primary training and licensure is as both an acupuncturist and a practitioner of Oriental Medicine. I often use herbal formulas and nutrition to support the acupuncture treatment.
How do herbs differ from western medicine?
Chinese herbal formulas tend to be much gentler than western medicines, and work to not only help relieve symptoms, but to help return the body to balance and equilibrium, so that herbs will no longer be needed. This is why we often modify the herbs as treatment continues, since the body starts to shift towards being healthier, and therefore the herbs are modified to meet the changing needs of the body.
Can I take Chinese herbs when I am on medication?
It depends on the medications you are taking. This would have to be evaluated on a case by case basis.
How quickly can I expect to feel better?
In general, I tell my patients they should start to feel the benefits from acupuncture in 2-3 treatments. If the problem is acute, sometimes improvement is felt after 1 treatment, and may only need 3-5 treatments to resolve. If the problem is chronic and long term, it may take many treatments to help resolve.
How often should I be treated?
Typically I treat patients once a week. If the condition is acute and painful, I may want to do treatments 2-3 times per week for the first couple of weeks.The benefits of acupuncture treatments tend to hold longer as you receive treatments. What typically happens is that my patients start to need to see me less and less, so after a while they come periodically for maintenance or prevention.
Does acupuncture always help?
No, but it usually does. If you do not feel any benefit after 3-5 treatments, then acupuncture may not work for you.
What should I wear for the treatment?
Just wear loose fitting clothes that can be easily rolled up above your elbows and knees.
Does insurance cover acupuncture?
We are currently an in-network provider for Blue Cross/ Blue Shield, Pacific Source, United Healthcare, and Allegiance. Please call your insurance company to verify your acupuncture benefits, including copays, deductibles, and the number of visits allowed per year. We also accept Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs). If your insurance company is not listed above, please speak to us. We will happily do our best to assist you with insurance claims.