Q: What is acupuncture?
A: Acupuncture is a form of healing that has been in use for thousands of years in Asia, and it is now used in many clinics and hospitals around the world as alternative medicine or to supplement Western health treatments. Board Licensed Acupuncturists (LAc) place hair thin sterile needles in precise locations in order to achieve a therapeutic effect.
Q: What can acupuncture treat?
A: Most people know that acupuncture can treat many kinds acute and chronic pain, but are often suprsied to find that it is beneficial for a wide variety of other conditions.
- Acupuncture is a phenomenal supplementary treatment for stress, anxiety, and depression.
- It can work wonders for fertiliity and libido in both men and women, and help with morning sickness, turning breech babies, inducing labor, increasing milk production, or treating mastitis.
- Acupuncture and herbs can help treat digestive issues, allergies, asthma, headache, and minor infections.
- Acupuncture is a great tool to help treat childhood maladies, and behavioral issues, and can even be used on babies to help calm colic, birth injuries, or skin rash.
- It is wonderful to reduce side effects of chemotherapy, and can be used in hospice care to help reduce pain and ease the transition at the end of life.
Becau se I do such a comprehensive intake, I'm often able to catch things others have missed and make the appropriate referrals to MD's to help you get all the care you need, and I'm always happy to consult with and work hand in hand with you and your Western doctors to develop a solid integrative treatment plan.
Q: How does acupuncture work?
A: There are a number of theories about how acupuncture works. Some theories hypothesize that when an acupuncture needle enters the skin, it triggers muscle fibers, nerve endings, and/or fascia that send messengers to your brain. The brain then responds with your body's own healing resources like red and white blood cells, natural pain killers, and other important natural hormones. This is the way the Cleveland Clinic, a world renowned research facility, describes it.
Some people believe that acupuncture works through a placebo affect. Studies show that 30-40% of the effects of western medicine are attributable to placebo effect, so it seems plausible this could happen with eastern medicine as well. And actually, the placebo effect is a good thing, maybe even a great thing. Placebo doesn't mean that the effects are fake...it means real effects happened because something stimulated your own brain to behave in helpful ways.
I personally believe that acupuncture works due to a combination of all these factors. The best parts of historical practice, medical science, and competent, compassionate care make acupuncture a profoundly effective treatment for most people.
Q: Does acupuncture hurt?
A: I'm a big wimp about needles, and I assure you acupuncture is nothing like having your blood drawn. Acupuncture needles are very thin, you could actually fit 10-15 of them inside a regular hypodermic needle. Patients will often ask me, "When are you going to put the needle in?" and I'll already be done! Sometimes, we do want you to feel some sensation to help trigger the healing effects in the body, but it only lasts a split second and usually is very minor, like a teeny flea bite, dull throbbing, or sometimes it might feel like a bit of electricity, but the effect is always very brief.
Q: Are there any side effects or risks associated with acupuncture?
A: Compared to the laundry lists of side effects included on the package inserts of every Western medicine, acupuncture has very few downsides. You should know that minor discomfort, mild bruising, and a little bit of bleeding (a few drops, at most) can happen. I use stainless steel single use hypoallergenic needles, that are usually well tolerated. Most people find that acupuncture brings some relief right away, but a few may experience their symptoms temporarily getting worse, as the body is sending lots of healing resources and a boost of immune factors that can intensify the situation for a little while before it begins to improve. It is important to eat before you come, as every now and again, a sensitive individual may feel faint during treatment, especially if it's the first time they've had acupuncture. Not to worry, this is pretty rare and usually harmless. I'm trained to make sure you are safe in every situation.
Q: How often do I need to get treatment?
A: According to most studies, acupuncture's effects tend to be strongest for the first 72 hours, although effects can help foster long term healing. In China, many patients will get intensive treatment daily until sympstoms subside, but in the U.S. most patients come weekly for chronic issues, pregnancy complaints, birth preparation, and mental health concerns. Some patients may come twice weekly for fertility or acute illness or pain. After an patient is stabilized they may decide to come once a month or once each season, for prevention or maintenance. I am happy to work out a schedule and plan that is right for your individual scheulde and budget.
Q: Do you accept insurance?
I am happy to email you a superbill with appropriate billing and diagnostic codes for you to submit to your insurance. Some may provide coverage, and if you can provide evidence that your acupuncture treatment is improving your overall health and saving your insurance company money, they may be more inclined to reimburse you. However, its up to you to research their policies. At this time, I have chosen not to become a contracted provider with any insurance company, but I may choose to do so in the future. All treatments are to be paid in full at the time of service using cash, check, credit card, PayPal or Apple Pay.