Does acupuncture hurt?
This is the most common question I get asked. Most people’s experiences with needles stem from when they are children getting vaccines. Those needles tend to hurt and are completely different from the type of needles an acupuncturist uses. Acupuncture needles are solid (unlike vaccine needles which are hollow) and are virtually painless. In fact, most people fall asleep on the table whenever you put needles in them. Its very relaxing!
How does acupuncture work?
Acupuncture is the insertion of needles into specific areas on the body along energetic pathways called meridians. Each insertion point has a specific job to do such as addressing certain organs, draining damp, clearing heat, etc. As a whole, all the points help to promote circulation of blood and energy, and unblocks stagnation.
Where do the needles go?
Primarily, most of the needles used are on the arms and legs of the patient. Of course where the needles go depends on the issue needing to be addressed. For example, for back pain, needles can go in the local area of the pain or at a completely different acupuncture point on the body (such as the legs) that corresponds with pain in the back. This is particularly useful for patients who may have a problem in a hard to reach area or in a more private area.
How long does it take to see results?
Everybody’s bodies are different but typically improvement can be felt with just one treatment. Acupuncture is considered to be a holistic medicine, so not only should you notice improvement in your chief complaint but you will also notice improvements in other aspects of life such as stress, sleep, digestion, etc. Acupuncture will most likely take more than one treatment though, it is not like western medicine where when you take a pill you typically notice the results within about 30 minutes. The great thing about this is that acupuncture is not masking your symptoms; it is changing your body constitution. The goal is to fix the problem, and prevent if from ever coming back again. Acupuncture has a cumulative effect, so doing more treatments in a shorter period of time is preferred.
Do you accept insurance?
Acupuncture is relatively new to the insurance game. Some insurance companies are more acupuncture friendly than others. Call the customer service of your insurance company to find out if you have coverage or not. Medicare does not cover acupuncture at all, but hopefully that will change in the future.