Frequently Asked Questions
  • What does acupuncture treat? Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine was developed during a time when western (allopathic) medicine didn’t exist, so it was literally used to treat any health issue that presented in the population. In fact the NIH (National Institutes of Health) considers it a ‘whole’ medical system.  Today, we wouldn’t use this system to treat appendicitis or an infection requiring antibiotics.  In the west, acupuncture is usually used to treat pain.  Most commonly seen conditions are low back pain, neck pain, knee pain, headaches and migraines, shoulder pain, elbow pain and foot pain.  Acupuncture can also be used to treat digestive complaints such as diarrhea and constipation.  Additionally, acupuncture can also be useful for treating menstrual issues such as irregular cycles, painful periods, endometriosis, PMS and infertility.  Acupuncture is also widely used to treat mild to moderate anxiety and depression.
  • Does acupuncture hurt? Acupuncture does not need to hurt in order to be helpful.  Patients may notice more of a sensation at certain points, but if needles are inserted quickly, patients rarely complain of pain.  Insertion sensations (like a quick ‘pinch’ or ‘flick’) usually resolve within a few seconds.  Patients may notice a warm or cold sensation or a mild dull ache at the point of insertion.
  • Can you treat children? We treat children regularly, but we don’t always use acupuncture.  Many children are very nervous about needles, so we tend to use other non-invasive techniques. For instance, we may also teach the child or the parent where useful pressure points can be stimulated to treat a condition or we may use small doses of Chinese herbs.
  • Can you bill my insurance? As a courtesy to our patients, we will bill your insurance if you have a specific acupuncture benefit and we are allowed to bill your insurance company.  Our front desk can check on your benefits for you to see if you have acupuncture coverage.  Most plans have a co- pay for acupuncture, which must be paid at the time of service.  The insurance relationship is ultimately between you and your insurance company, so if you are concerned about insurance coverage, please check your benefits before coming to clinic or talk to our front desk.
  • How long is a treatment? Your first visit is between an hour and an hour and a half, which gives us the time to conduct a thorough health history with you and also provide a treatment.  Follow up treatments are scheduled for an hour.
  • What should I feel after a treatment? Most patients leave clinic feeling relaxed & many describe improvement in symptoms shortly after the treatment.  Other patients require several treatments to notice a significant change in symptoms. However, most patients notice improvement after 4-6 treatments.  General health and the severity of the condition are two factors that impact someone’s response to treatment.
  • Are treatments safe? We are certified in  ‘clean needle technique’, which means we clean our hands prior to a treatment, we swab the skin with an alcohol swab prior to needle insertion and we use only sterile disposable needles.  We are very careful to use proper insertion techniques in sensitive areas, such as around the ribcage (over the lungs) or near nerves and tendons.  Before giving you a Chinese herbal formula, we will inform you of proper dosages and possible side effects.
  • How can I learn more about Chinese medicine? A great resource for learning about the history and theory behind Chinese Medicine is the book, The Web That Has No Weaver by Ted Kaptchuk. Another link that is useful is the Center for Spirituality and Healing at the University of Minnesota.