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Frequently Asked Questions
How old is Chinese Medicine?
Chinese medicine goes back over 3,000 years
How does it work?
Chinese medicine uses tiny needles and herbs to help nurture the body back to health by helping resolve energy imbalances. (See history of Chinese medicine for more information).
What are the needles like?
Only sterile, disposable needles are used so there is no risk of infection. We use a needle once, then dispose of it.
Acupuncture needles are small and hair-thin. They are solid, not hollow like needles used by doctors. The end of an acupuncture needle is smooth and rounded. Acupuncture needles are not designed to cut the skin. Instead, when an acupuncture needle is inserted, the round edge pushes the tissue aside without cutting it. Acupuncture needles are so thin it's as if they can glide through the spaces between the individual cells of the body.
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 needling differently. There are different styles of needling. I do Japanese style needling technique which involves gentle needle insertion under the skin, allowing the qi to rise to the needle. Acupuncture needles I insert are rarely described as painful, and can be quickly adjusted if the patients does feel 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 help balance it. Often people describe their sensations as warming, heavy, numb or tingling. I take great care to make my clients 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. 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. You are invited to contact me today, and I will personally respond to any questions or comments promptly.
Do you use herbs?
Yes, although my primary training is as an acupuncturist, I have also been trained in herbal medicine, and sometimes use herbal formulas 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 not be needed further. That 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 a 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, so what typically happens is that my patients start to need to see me less and less, so after a while they only come only periodically for maintenance.
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?
Acupuncture is reimbursable by many pre-tax contribution plans, such as Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA), Health Savings Accounts (HSA), or Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRA). Check with your benefits administrator to find out whether you are covered. I can provide the required documentation to help you get reimbursed for my services.
You may have other coverage through Blue Cross Blue Shield and Preferred One, a No-Fault plan or Workman's Compensation; I can provide you with a form to submit to your insurance company for reimbursement. Please check with your benefits manager or insurance company for their rules about acupuncture coverage and reimbursement.
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