ACUPUNCTURE FACTS AND QUESTIONS
WHAT IS ACUPUNCTURE?
Acupuncture is one aspect of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) that treats illness and improves health by stimulating specific points on the body with the insertion of very fine needles-causing little or no discomfort. It originated in China 2000 years ago and now is widely practiced in the United States.
DOES ACUPUNCTURE HURT?
No, at its worse, acupuncture can feel like an eyebrow or hair being plucked. It may sting for several seconds, but then it goes away. Most of the needles can’t be felt at all.
HOW DOES ACUPUNCTURE WORK?
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine theory, each person has their own unique energy called Qi. This is the same energy that helps us to breath and move. When this energy is blocked or there is too much or not enough, this causes disease. An acupuncturist inserts needles into specific areas to move this blocked energy and restore balance.
From a conventional medicine viewpoint, scientists have discovered that acupuncture points are supplied by high concentrations of nerve endings, bundles, and mast cells which are used for immune functions. Needling the acupuncture points stimulate the nervous system to release chemicals in the muscles, spinal cord, and brain. These chemical with either change the experience of pain or they will trigger the release of other chemicals and hormones which influence the body’s own internal regulating system.
Acupuncture works by helping the body to heal itself. It stimulates the body’s own built-in healing mechanisms. Acupuncture promotes blood flow, releases natural pain killers,relaxes shortened muscles, and reduces stress.
IS IT SAFE?
Yes, when performed by practitioners trained in acupuncture, it is very safe. All needles are sterile and disposable. Licensed acupuncturists are trained in clean needle technique and must pass vigorous exams administered through the National Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Boards, and are licensed by the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice.
WHO IS ACUPUNCTURE GOOD FOR
- Those who want to better their health through natural methods
- Those for whom western medicine has not been successful
- Those seeking support in achieving a health goal
- Those interested in taking an active role in their health
- Those experiencing pain or discomfort
- Those looking to address addiction
- Those wanting to make a lifestyle change
- Active, physical individuals looking to relieve strain on the body or to improve athletic performance
- Anyone not aware or familiar with Traditional Chinese Medicine who wants to investigate how it may support them with their health and healing.
HOW MANY TREATMENTS WILL I NEED?
Understandably, this varies from person to person and for varying conditions. A typical course of treatments is considered to be 8-12 over a 4-12 week period. As a general rule, conditions that are deep-seated and very chronic will likely take longer than newer conditions.
I typically recommend you try 3 treatments in a 10-day to 3 week period and see how you feel. By that time, you will likely have an indication as to whether or not it is helping you. I will make recommendations and then you are very free to decide for yourself what feels right for continuing treatment. As long as you are seeing improvement, it’s liking you will want to keep coming until you reach the point at which you’re fully satisfied.
WILL MY INSURANCE COVER ACUPUNCTURE?
More and more insurance polices cover acupuncture for certain conditions and, although we don’t process insurance in our office, we can provide you with a receipt that has the correct billing codes on it, which will help you to get reimbursed for your treatment. Health savings accounts (HSA) and flex spending accounts (FSA), generally cover acupuncture services.
I WAS INJURED IN AN AUTO ACCIDENT. IS ACUPUNCTURE COVERED FOR THINGS LIKE THAT?
Yes. In the State of Minnesota, you have the right to seek out care from any licensed provider you see fit without having to first get permission from your doctor or auto insurance company, provider you have Personal Injury Protection as part of your auto insurance policy. I do accept and bill for Workers Compensation and Personal Injury claims.
WHAT IF I STILL DON’T WANT ANY NEEDLES, CAN YOU HELP ME?
Yes. Acupuncture is only one aspect of Traditional Chinese Medicine. I can offer you a variety of needle-free treatments.
Acupressure – Touching specific acupuncture points with firm pressure to relieve muscle tension and improve circulation.
Tui Na – Chinese massage, using a variety of pressing techniques over the clothes
“Cold” (low level) laser acupoint stimulation-light of specific wavelengths is used to stimulate acupoints
Gua Sha– a smooth object is rubbed along a meridian to release muscle tension.
Cupping- a specialized cup is used to create a partial vacuum over specific areas of the body to relieve pain and improve circulation. Also helps digestive and respiratory issues.
Seeds or beads- magnetic seeds are used to stimulate acupuncture points
Qigong – Special exercises using breath, posture, and mind intent for decreasing stress and pain while increasing balance
Aroma Point Therapy– The application of essential oils to acupuncture points, instead of needles