Q: What is acupuncture?
A: Acupuncture is an integral part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Your health is directly related to the flow of vital life force energy, or Qi (pronounced “chee”), and blood. An acupuncturist inserts very small, thin needles into points on the body to improve this flow. This creates physical and emotional balance and leads to optimal health.
Q: How does Qi relate to health?
A: The blood and Qi that flow to the vital organs affect their functioning. Lifestyle habits, injury, stress, and stored emotions can block the Qi and blood. Over time, these blockages can result in conditions like chronic pain, discomfort, illness and/or disease. Acupuncture releases these blockages by restoring the body’s own balance through pain reduction, improved blood flow and the release of naturally-occurring mood enhancers.
Q: How does my acupuncturist know where to put the needles?
A: Before any needles are ever inserted, your acupuncturist will complete a thorough assessment of your medical history, diet, exercise, sleep, digestion, mood, and energy level. Based on these findings, your acupuncturist will know where to insert the needles to restore your energy flow, or Qi.
Q: Why does my acupuncturist look at my tongue?
A: By looking at your tongue, your acupuncturist can learn more about your body’s overall energetic state. The color, shape and texture of the tongue can reveal if there is too much “heat” or “cold” in the body. This helps locate where energy is blocked and can identify other potential illnesses.
Q: Does acupuncture hurt?
A: No. It’s possible to feel a dull ache, itching, burning, or slight pinch around the insertion point. Any discomfort typically subsides within a few seconds after the needles are inserted.
Q: What happens after the needles are inserted?
A: You’ll lie in a comfortable position for a session that lasts about 30 minutes. During that time, you may feel energized, relaxed, sleepy, or feel like there’s electricity flowing through your body. These sensations are normal and are all a part of the movement of your Qi.
Q: What can acupuncture treat?
A: Acupuncture has been recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) in treating over 300 medical conditions. These include, but are not limited to:
- Acid reflux
- Dysmenorrhea (painful menstrual periods)
- Foot conditions (plantar fasciitis, Morton’s neuroma)
- Infertility (female and male)
- Menstrual irregularities
- Morning sickness
- Pain conditions (back, fibromyalgia, knee, neck, sciatica, shoulder)
- Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
Q: How many treatments will I need?
A: On average, it takes about 6-8 consecutive weekly treatments to make a lasting change. If acupuncture is being used for fertility, treatments can last 3-6 months for best results. The precise course of treatment depends on the individual and the condition being treated. Your acupuncturist will discuss your treatment plan with you during your first visit.
Q: Will my health insurance cover acupuncture?
A: Some health insurance plans may cover acupuncture. It’s always a good idea for you to contact your insurance carrier to determine this. Your acupuncturist can provide you with a diagnosis and billing code so you can submit a claim to your insurance company for reimbursement.
Q: What are the qualifications of an acupuncturist?
A: An acupuncturist who practices Traditional Chinese Medicine (also known as Oriental Medicine) will be state-licensed, will have passed a board exam, and will have between 2,700-3,000 hours of medical training. Acupuncture is practiced by many healthcare providers. A practitioner who specializes in Oriental Medicine will have a Diplomate in Acupuncture and/or a Diplomate in Oriental Medical through the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. A licensed acupuncturist is abbreviated L.Ac.