FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHAT IS ACUPUNCTURE?
Acupuncture is one of the oldest forms of healing in the world. It originated in China as many as 5000 years ago, and the first medical text about acupuncture was written over 2200 years ago. That acupuncture continues to be practiced today is strong proof of the power of this medicine.
The theory on which acupuncture is based is called meridian (or channel) theory. Meridian therapy describes the flow of Qi (vital energy or life energy) through the body. Qi connects all the tissues and organs of the body, circulating from one area of the body to another along certain pathways (called meridians or channels). For the body to function properly, Qi must flow freely and in the correct strength and quality through each of the meridians. When the flow of Qi is interrupted or unbalanced, illness – of the body, mind and/or spirit will occur. Symptoms such as pain, anxiety, insomnia, digestive issues, etc. are signals of an imbalance in the body's Qi.
The goal of acupuncture treatment is to restore balance to the Qi of a person's body. Restoring balance to the body's Qi allows the person's body, mind, and spirit to heal and can resolve the symptoms and concerns for which the person has sought treatment.
Acupuncture can address specific diseases and health concerns. It can also be used preventatively, to maintain health despite the many demands and challenges of a busy lifestyle.
WHAT DOES ACUPUNCTURE TREAT?
People come to acupuncture for a wide variety of symptoms. Some of the most common include:
Mood disorders (Stress, Anxiety, Depression, etc.)
Chronic and Acute Pain (Low Back, Neck, Shoulders, Knees, etc.)
Women's Health (PMS, PMDD, Menopause, Post Partum, etc.)
Infertility (Male and Female)
*For a full list of what acupuncture has been proven to treat, you can visit our blog, or Evidence Based Acupuncture
WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT ON MY FIRST VISIT?
Your first acupuncture appointment will usually last about 90 minutes. We begin with an in-depth conversation about your health concerns, past health history, lifestyle, goals for treatment, and any questions you may have about Chinese Medicine and the treatment process. This conversation is an important part of the diagnostic process, and allows your acupuncturist to get to know you and understand how best to address your health concerns.
Depending upon your specific health concerns, your acupuncturist may use aspects of physical examination, most often palpation (examination by touch) to help understand your condition and in order to select the most effective acupuncture points for your treatment.
Your acupuncturist will ask to look at your tongue. The structure, color, and coating of your tongue provides information about your physical health.
Your acupuncturist will spend some time feeling your pulse. Your pulse will be palpated in six different positions—three on each wrist. Each position provides information about different aspects of your health and the causes for your symptoms.
Once acupuncture needles have been inserted into your body, your acupuncturist will usually leave you to relax in your serene treatment room for up to 30 minutes, allowing the needles sufficient time to influence your body. Most people look forward to this opportunity to relax during an otherwise hectic day and generally feel refreshed afterwards.
WHAT ABOUT FOLLOW UP TREATMENTS?
Follow up visits typically last about one hour.
Your individual needs determine how often, and for how long, you will need to receive treatment, generally once a week for six to eight weeks on average. As your condition improves, and your symptoms are alleviated, the frequency of your treatments may be slowly reduced to every other week, monthly, or even seasonally.
DOES IT HURT?
Unlike hypodermic needles, acupuncture needles are solid and hair-thin. They are also inserted to much more shallow levels than hypodermic needles, generally no more than half an inch to an inch. While each person experiences acupuncture differently, most people feel only a minimal amount of sensation as the needles are inserted. Some people report feeling a fullness or dull ache, while others feel nothing at all. Either way, within a few minutes you should feel relaxed and comfortable.
ARE THE NEEDLES STERILE?
All acupuncture needles are sterile, single use, and predominantly stainless steel.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
Costs will vary depending on whether or not you use insurance and based on your individual plan. We currently are in network with all major insurers in the area, including: Cigna, United, Aetna, Anthem, BlueCross BlueShield, CareFirst, and the VA (through the Community Cares program). You can also pay with FSA or HSA accounts. Call us today and we can check if your insurance will cover acupuncture!
HOW SHOULD I PREPARE FOR TREATMENT?
If possible, please try to wear comfortable clothing for your appointment. Depending on your treatment needs, you may often remain fully clothed during your treatment. However, gowns and linens are always available if you would prefer to partially disrobe or if your treatment makes partial disrobing appropriate.
Please eat sensibly (avoiding caffeine) a few hours before your appointment. It is best to be neither hungry nor extremely full during your treatment.