What does acupuncture treat?
As mentioned previously, we focus our treatments on the body, not the diagnosis. This is a wholistic approach in contrast to the practice of isolating and treating disease based on its symptoms. Regardless, there is a long list of conditions for which acupuncture treatment is most frequently sought and proven to be effective.
Listed below are some of the common diagnoses, disorders, symptoms and conditions for which the World Health Organization (WHO) has stated acupuncture is proven to be an effective treatment or shown to have therapeutic effect. Our clinic's methods have had prior success correcting many of these health issues.
• addiction & substance abuse
• chemo/radiotherapy side effects (pain, nausea, etc.)
• dental pain
• diabetes (type 2)
• facial pain (including craniomandibular disorders)
• gastrointestinal issues (diarrhea, constipation, IBS, gastritis, etc.)
• headaches & migraines
• herpes zoster (shingles)
• hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol)
• menstrual irregularities
• musculoskeletal pain (neck, shoulder, low back, knee, etc.)
• nausea and vomiting
• nerve pain
• obesity/weight gain
• PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome)
• postoperative pain and rehabilitation
• sports & orthopedic injuries
• stroke recovery
• temporomandibular (TMJ) dysfunction
• tennis elbow
• urinary tract infections
How does acupuncture feel?
An acupuncture treatment is essentially time
for your body to adjust while the needles
work to regulate your system and allow its
self-healing mechanism to become activated.
Since sensory perception varies from person to person, some patients may have little to no awareness of the needles, while others may experience sensations such as pressure, tingling or warmth at the point of insertion. For some, these sensations are felt only initially and dissipate once the body gets used to them. For others, they might move around the body providing an unexpected awareness in different areas. This is your Qi or energy moving and communicating within the meridians, further indicating that all parts of the body are interconnected and influence one another. After a session, most patients report feeling relaxed and “lighter,” while some might be energized in response to the needles. Ultimately, the body determines what it needs to balance out the system.
Since acupuncture involves the use of needles inserted though the skin, you would naturally have some sensation of it. However, the needles used in acupuncture are no thicker than a piece of thread. They are made of solid yet flexible stainless steel rendering them virtually painless compared to hollow needles used in hospitals.
Is acupuncture safe?
All licensed acupuncturists (L.Ac’s) are trained and certified in Clean Needle Technique, the only national protocol of standards and guidelines established by the CCAOM (Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine) for the clean and safe clinical practice of acupuncture. All needles used are FDA-approved, sterile and disposable for your safety.
Additionally, acupuncture is a natural treatment with few very to no adverse side effects. If anything, it will result in favorable effects "on the side" as it corrects any imbalances in your system whether or not they manifest as symptoms. For example, if you come to us seeking help with headaches, over the course of treatment you may find that your sleep quality has also improved. Acupuncture encourages your body to determine what is most important to correct in order to heal.
What should I expect from treatment?
Before any needles actually go in, it is necessary to complete a thorough assessment of your condition. We begin by asking questions related to your chief complaint(s). Through a series of tests, we determine where in your body and along your acupuncture meridians we can best begin to improve function.
As in any provider-patient relationship, it is crucial to address the questions of what kind of results will be obtained and how soon you should expect to see them. Without a clear understanding of expectations, a patient may continue to do therapies that yield few or incomplete results and only lead to lost time and frustration. While there are no guarantees with any treatment or medicine, there still needs to be accountability in care on the part of both the provider and the patient.
At our clinic, we consider it part of our responsibility to explain the standard treatment progression to new patients. After an initial assessment has been made, we will provide you with a realistic time frame in which to expect to see results. Remember that our goal is to get the body functioning efficiently in a state of balance to allow it to heal itself. Unless you are coming to us for an acute issue, we have found that the initial healing cycle for most patients with chronic complaints is 6-9 weeks based on the severity of the problem. During this period, you should expect to see an increase of 40-60% in your overall health. This basically means that you should notice a significant improvement (not a complete cure) in your overall physical and mental well-being if you adhere to the program. At the end of this period, progress will be reassessed to determine if and when further visits are appropriate. If the results expected are not achieved within the time frame agreed upon, we will discuss alternative options including referrals to other providers. We do not want to waste your time and money if we feel that our treatments are not working for you.
How often do I need to get a treatment?
As explained previously, the initial healing cycle for most patients who come to us with chronic conditions is 6-9 weeks depending on the severity of the problem. Treatments are most beneficial if received regularly and supported by the patient's commitment to take supplements as prescribed and live a healthy lifestyle as recommended. Since we are trying to build the body back up, consecutive treatments at least once a week are important during the initial healing cycle. For most pain issues and more severe cases office visits twice a week may be necessary.
At the end of this period, we will reevaluate your condition. If your improvement meets the expectations discussed initially, we will begin to space out your visits gradually until your body only requires maintenance as needed.
How long is a treatment session?
The first visit for a new patient ranges from 60-90 minutes. This includes enough time to complete paperwork before your initial examination and assessment.
Follow-up visits range from 45-60 minutes.
How long are the needles left in?
According to the earliest recorded source of acupuncture (Huang Di Nei Jing), Qi or the energy accessed with needles circulates the acupuncture meridians 50 times a day. Using this logic, Qi would require 28 minutes and 48 seconds to travel one complete cycle throughout the body.
However, in our modern day experience, how acupuncture needles are used depends on more than just a single factor written in a text. The amount of Qi your body has relative to your needs, as well as the severity of your symptoms and the length of time your body has been affected by your condition are all important considerations. Like different landscapes in nature, be it tropical, arctic, desert or whatever the terrain, each body has its own idea of what constitutes balance.
For conditions involving myofascial pain, we may implement trigger point needling techniques to effectively break up adhesions causing tension in the muscle. More commonly, needles are retained in the body for a short period of time (anywhere from 5-20 minutes) depending on the effect desired to achieve optimal results. As mentioned previously, balance is calibrated slightly differently in each body and more time does not necessarily yield better results.
How should I prepare for my visit?
Although our treatments are designed so that you do not need to disrobe, we still recommend wearing comfortable clothing to your office visit. Sleeves that can be pushed up to the elbow and pants with legs that can be pulled up to the knees are ideal. In case this is not possible, you are also welcome to bring a change of clothing or remove garments and opt for towel draping if needed. We want you to be as comfortable as possible.
Since you will be asked to remove any accessories that we feel will interfere with the treatment (watches, activity trackers, phones, bluetooths, etc.), you may want to keep jewelry to a minimum.
Arriving for your treatment very hungry or intoxicated is not a good idea either. Preferably, you've had a light meal or snack beforehand to keep your energy going throughout the session.
Finally, it's always best to arrive on time or a little early to ensure that your entire experience is calm, soothing, and pleasant.
What forms of payment do you accept?
Payment by cash, debit/credit card (Visa/Mastercard), or personal check is accepted.
Full payment is due at time of service.
The cost of supplements and shipping is NOT included in any fees, discounts, or insurance.
We accept out-of-network health insurance as payment. We can also provide you with a superbill for reimbursement or documentation purposes. Please be aware that the real concern regarding health insurance is whether or not your insurance covers acupuncture as a service. We will gladly verify this information for you beforehand to determine your out-of-pocket costs, if any.
Please contact us for further information regarding insurance, office visit and long distance consultation fees.
What are your policies?
We value your time. Please value ours and contact us at least 24 hours before your appointment to cancel or reschedule. If you do not show or call us at least 24 hours prior to your scheduled appointment, you will be asked to pay for the full amount of an office visit.
If you arrive more than 15 minutes late for your scheduled appointment, you will be charged for the full amount, but your treatment may have to be cut short to accommodate the next patient. We make every effort to be on time all of the time and hope that you will also.
Thank you for your time and cooperation.
What's the difference between a licensed and a medical acupuncturist?
A licensed acupuncturist (L.Ac.) has graduated from an accredited school of Traditional Chinese Medicine and has over 3,500 hours of training in acupuncture as well as a formal clinical internship in acupuncture.
A medical or certified acupuncturist is usually a medical doctor (and in some states chiropractor) who has anywhere from 100 to 300 hours of classroom training in acupuncture (usually in the form of weekend seminars) with no clinical internship. A medical acupuncturist has NOT graduated from an accredited school of acupuncture.
Obviously, the difference in knowledge, training, and quality of care between a licensed vs. medical or certified acupuncturist is incomparable. The subject matter of acupuncture and Chinese medicine is so complex and vast that it is difficult to master its fundamentals even after 3,500 hours of training. The abbreviated 100 to 300 hour course was created for research purposes in the 1970’s and was never intended to serve as a way to train practitioners to treat the public.
It is your responsibility as the patient to ask your acupuncturist how much training he/she has received specifically in acupuncture.