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FAQ – Acupuncture

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a medical system that has been used to diagnose, treat and prevent illness for over 3,000 years. Acupuncture is proven to remedy acute or chronic ailments, relieve pain, enhance recuperative abilities, and strengthen the immune system. Acupuncture is currently one of the most widely researched, practiced, and respected forms of complementary medicine in the U.S. Acupuncture uses a variety of techniques, including placing very thin sterile needles into specific points on the body, to stimulate and improve the flow of physiological energies that support the function of your body. The many benefits of acupuncture and these types of therapies include:

  • Pain reduction or elimination
  • Complete relaxation of body and mind
  • Stress relief
  • Increased blood circulation
  • Improved energy
  • Detoxification
  • Better digestion
  • Help with addictions/recovery
  • Improved immunity

Learn more about acupuncture and Chinese Medicine.

How does Acupuncture work?

Acupuncture works very well. Medical organizations such as the Mayo Clinic, Harvard Medical School and the World Health Organization endorse acupuncture.

There are several ways to understand how acupuncture works. The traditional Chinese medicine model, used to treat and prevent illness for over 3,000 years,  reveals that acupuncture works by unblocking energy in meridian systems in the body and activating the bodys own Qi (pronounced chee), or vital energy.

Or perhaps, said another way and from a biomedical perspective, acupuncture works by impacting the nervous system, releasing neurotransmitters and endorphins and regulating the hormonal systems. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRIs)  conducted while patients receive acupuncture show various parts of the brain “lighting up”. This shows the impact on the nervous system.  This also reflects the increase in local blood and lymph flow, partly explaining results patients get for pain relief, improved cognitive function and energy.

Acupuncture treatment is based on specific diagnosis that looks at the body from a holistic point of view and seeks to not only treat the symptoms of disease, but also the root cause. The aim of acupuncture treatment is to harmonize and balance the entire body so that the innate wisdom of the body to heal itself is revealed.

How safe is Acupuncture?

There are very few adverse reactions to acupuncture but in some cases your condition may temporarily exacerbate following the treatment. This is a sign of detoxification and is considered to be a good thing. Soaking your feet in Epsom salts and hot water and getting in plenty of fluids and nutrition will ease the process.

Patients can ensure results and safety by choosing an adequately trained practitioner.

Board certified, licensed (registered) acupuncturists meet comprehensive training and licensing requirements with a minimum of 660-870 hours of hands-on, supervised training (in addition to 1245-1755 hours of training in Chinese medicine diagnosis, biomedicine, ethics, and other topics). Acupuncturists must also maintain continuing education requirements in each of these areas to maintain licensure and credentialing.

Other healthcare practitioners advertising therapy with the use of acupuncture needles as a part of their services have often received anywhere from 27-100 hours of training, with no universal requirement for supervised patient treatments.

To ensure your safety and results, choose a licensed (registered) acupuncturist when seeking care with the use of acupuncture needles.

What if I am nervous about the needles?

It’s normal to be nervous about sharp objects. Acupuncture needles are extremely thin and usually very short. In fact, they are so small that between 5 to 10 can fit inside one of the needles used when you get a shot. The width of an acupuncture needle is comparable to the width of a human hair. If you have never had acupuncture we will explain the process and ensure you are comfortable with what is taking place during the treatment.

If you are still uncertain about needles, the use of lasers can be a non-invasive substitute. Learn more here.

What kind of research is there about acupuncture?

A lot! And more studies coming everyday… here are a few to review:

How do I prepare for my visit?

acupuncture_needleNervous about the needles? Don’t be…

It’s normal to be nervous about sharp objects. Acupuncture needles are extremely thin and usually very short. In fact, they are so small that between 5 to 10 can fit inside one of the needles used when you get a shot. The width of an acupuncture needle is comparable to the width of a human hair. If you have never had acupuncture we will explain the process and ensure you are comfortable with what is taking place during the treatment.

What do you need to wear to your appointment?

It is generally appropriate to wear loose fitting or workout clothes to a treatment.  You will be informed of the general approach to treatment and whether any articles of clothing need to be adjusted/removed so the area can be properly treated and if this is the case, a gown and/or sheet will be provided. Privacy and safety are maintained at all times.

Cellular phones/mobile devices should be powered off or silenced during your visit to our office.

More questions? Contact us!

What happens during an acupuncture treatment and office visit?

The initial appointment will last about 1.5 hours; follow up treatments are about an hour. On the first appointment there will be a comprehensive review of your health history and chief complaint(s). There will also be an assessment of your body from a holistic point of view to help determine the underlying imbalances that might be causing your health concerns.

At each session a personalized acupuncture treatment is delivered depending on what is currently presenting, and in accordance with your long-term health goals. You will relax in a comfortable room for approximately 35-45 minutes once the needles are in. Many people relax enough to fall asleep during their treatment. Additional therapies may be offered and are included in your office visit. These include heat therapy (lamp/moxibustion), bodywork techniques, dietary and lifestyle recommendations and stress reduction activities. Herbal medicine and nutritional supplements may be recommended to further assist you on your road to wellness. These supplements are provided for an additional fee.

How many acupuncture treatments do I need?

Generally it is good to start with a course of 6-12 treatments. This usually will provide adequate time to properly address one to two conditions. If the condition is chronic, or you have multiple over-lapping conditions, it may require more treatments. It is usually best to come for acupuncture once to twice a week when working on a specific condition or conditions. After these health concerns have improved, patients often like to receive maintenance treatments every 2 to 4 weeks. Patients find receiving maintenance acupuncture treatments helps them manage stress, boost energy, enhance sleep and maintain the absence of symptoms. In order to get the best therapeutic results, it is important to follow the treatment plan and recommendations carefully. It is important to complete the course of therapy to restore health.

What should I expect from acupuncture healing?

An acupuncture healing program takes time and generally requires more of an investment in resources in the beginning phases of care. This is system of healing and health maintenance can be used to achieve lasting results in symptom improvement as well as be used as a strategy to ensure good health and vitality throughout your lifetime.

We believe that in our lives we will each make an investment in our health. How and when the investment is made is a personal choice. We believe investing now is better than later- when health degradation has gotten to a point where choices are limited and may require costly drugs, surgeries or procedures with little impact to health improvement.

Does Insurance or Flex-Spending/HSAs cover acupuncture?

Paramount Wellness accepts cash, check and credit card payments. We do not bill insurance companies directly, however, we will provide you with a properly coded receipt of services for submitting to your insurance company for reimbursement. It is recommended that you contact your insurance company before your visit to understand what may be covered (see your insurance card for contact information).

Here are some questions to ask:

  • Does my plan cover acupuncture?
  • How many treatments are covered in a calendar year?
  • Do I need a referral from a doctor?
  • How much will be reimbursed be per treatment?

Also, Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) and/or Heath Spending Accounts (HSA)  can be used for acupuncture/nutrition services and supplements with most plans.

Check with your health savings account service provider and/or your insurance provider to see which of these services are covered.