Q: What is acupuncture?

A: Acupuncture is a medical system that has been used in China and other Oriental countries for thousands of years, to treat diseases and promote general health. Acupuncture can remedy acute or chronic ailments, relieve pain, enhance recuperative powers and strengthen the immune system. Chinese medical doctors and acupuncturists differentiate conditions with a thorough examination which includes an interpretation through medical history, pulse, and tongue diagnosis. Chinese medicine believes that human body is an energetic body through which the vital energy (“Chi” in Chinese) constantly flows in 14 meridians. When the Qi flows freely, your body is healthy; when the flow of Qi is blocked the symptoms of diseases appear. ACUPUNCTURE is to insert needles in the selected points of selected meridians to release blockage and to promote the Qi to flow freely, in turn, to stop pain or cure the disease. Acupuncturist may also use the following adjunct techniques in their treatment: Moxibustion (heat), Cupping (suction), Auricular Therapy (ear acupuncture), electrical or laser stimulation, or even manual manipulation of the points. Chinese medical doctors also like to prescribe herbal supplements to assist the effect of acupuncture treatment.

Q: What is the treatment like? Does it hurt?

A: Extremely fine, hair-thin, flexible needles are placed through guiding tube at specific points on the meridians. Acupoints on extremities are frequently used. When the needles are inserted you may experience a sensation of tingling or warmth. As the acupuncture needles are very thin they are sometimes called painless needles, nothing close to the needles nurses use for shots. People are surprised to find that treatments are actually quite relaxing. Each treatment lasts for about 20-30 minutes.

Q: What conditions can be treated by acupuncture?

A: Acupuncture has been used for various conditions. Some people use it for illness, but others use it for well-being, i.e. to keep their body balanced. Of course, the effectiveness of acupuncture for each condition needs to be evaluated against the modern scientific standard. Based on many years of clinical observations and scientific research acupuncture has been proven to be an effective remedy, not a wishful thinking. Thus far, National Institute of Health (NIH) and World Health Organization (WHO) have listed more than 30 conditions that may be treated by acupuncture. Clinical studies in China and Europe indicated many more conditions that may benefit from acupuncture treatment. Click here to read more.

Q: How does acupuncture work?

A: It has been determined that human body is a bio-energetic system. When the balance of this energy is disturbed, pain or illness results. Acupuncture treatment corrects the energetic imbalance by encouraging the body’s natural ability to heal itself, without the use of drugs or surgery. The needles are placed on selected points of selected meridians to help energy move along or to get balance back. Scientific studies from both the east and west also established that acupuncture treatment stimulates the release of morphine-like substance, endorphin, in brain to help stop pain. Acupuncture also regulates the release of hormones, neuropeptides and neurotransmitters, particularly at the level of hypothalamus and pituitary gland, that is why acupuncture may help many other conditions such as women’s hormonal problems including infertility. Click here to read more.

Q: Is acupunture safe?

A: Acupuncture is a very safe medical procedure when administered by a qualified practitioner. “One of the advantage of acupuncture is that the incidence of adverse effects is substantially lower than that of many drugs or other accepted medical procedures used for the same condition” (NIH consensus 1997). The pre-sterilized, disposable needles are used. Practitioners certified by the National Certification Commission for Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) comply with strict regulations for proper needle sterilization. The NCCAOM has also developed the Clean Needle Technique that they use as a part of their certification testing.

Q: Why do people choose acupuncture?

A: 1) When conventional medicine is not working, people choose alternative medicine and acupuncture is frequently first chosen. 2) People are concerned of side effect of chemically synthesized drugs, particularly from the long-term use for chronic conditions. In contrast, acupuncture basically has no side effect. 3) Cost effectiveness. Acupuncture treatment results in avoidance of surgery, fewer hospital visits and greater return to employment. 4) The principle of Chinese medicine is to enhance your own body’s defense to overcome the pathogenic factors and to treat the root or cause, not just the symptoms. So, some multiple conditions may be treated by single acupuncture prescription.

Q: How many sessions do I need for treatment?

A: It depends. Acupuncturists determine the frequency and duration of treatment based on how long and how severe of your condition is; and how you respond to the treatment. In this clinic, in general, twice a week for first 3-5 weeks and once a week for the following 2-4 weeks is required for chronic conditions. In the best cases, 2-3 treatments eliminate the pain that people have suffered for years.

Q: What about Insurance Coverage?

A: Acupuncture treatment is covered by some health insurance policies. Call your carrier to determine your coverage. Sometimes insurance companies can compromise on the coverage. They may give you reimbursement for the treatment when your argument is strong, particularly when your condition is listed on the NIH list for acupuncture use or you got the referral from your primary care doctor. If they do not provide coverage, write to your State Insurance Commissioner and send a copy to the insurance company, requesting a written reply stating the specific reason why acupuncture is not covered. For additional advice call your acupuncturist for suggestions regarding this issue.

If you have other qestions concerning acupuncture please do not hesitate to contact us. We will do our best to answer them.