How does acupuncture work for pain management?

Acupuncture is most widely-known as a treatment for pain management and it is highly effective in treating pain syndromes. Pain can result from a number of factors including injury and trauma, spinal changes, such as nerve compression or disk degeneration, degenerative disorders such as osteoarthritis, and chronic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia.

Acupuncture treatment relaxes muscles, increases circulation of blood and tissue fluids, reduces inflammation, and increases endorphin production that is produced in the brain and which is the body’s “natural opiate”, or pain reliever. Acupuncture can be utilized before other interventions are indicated so as to potentially avoid invasive procedures, as well as after interventions are performed to support the process of healing and recovery.

Is acupuncture only for the treatment of an illness?

Acupuncture is not limited to the treatment of illness or disease. Acupuncture also works to maintain health by supporting a strong metabolism, building energy, reducing the effects of stress, improving sleep and regulating your hormonal system. Many clients come for treatment on a regular basis throughout the year. Some come at times of increased stress or at the first onset of symptoms.

Acupuncture works by utilizing a system of channels that carry energy throughout the whole body so whenever there is an imbalance, or dysfunction, causing symptoms an acupuncture treatment can restore the normal flow of energy. This permits better metabolism which is the key to healthy function.

Is acupuncture safe?

Yes, acupuncture is a safe treatment when performed by a licensed acupuncturist who has graduated from an accredited acupuncture college and is licensed by the state Board of Registration in Medicine.

Are acupuncture needles disposable?

Acupuncturists use pre-sterilized, disposable needles that are used one time only and are then safely discarded in a bio-hazard container for proper disposal.

Do the needles hurt?

Acupuncture needles are very thin and delicate. Unlike injection needles, acupuncture needles are not sharp but have a rounded tip for comfort. When the needles are placed, it may feel like a tiny pinch or, most likely, like nothing at all. Most people do not notice any discomfort.

How long is the treatment?

The initial visit is 1.5 hours in length. This visit includes a complete review of your medical history, a discussion of your health concerns and our recommendations for treatment, and the first acupuncture treatment.

Follow-up visits are one hour. There is ample time to discuss your progress, treatment plan and to address any questions you may have.

What forms of payment do you accept?

We accept personal checks, cash or credit card payments including Health Spending Account (HSA) cards.

All treatments must be paid for in full at the time of visit.

If your health insurance plan includes coverage for acupuncture you will still pay at the time of visit. We will give you a “superbill” to submit to your insurance company for reimbursement.

Does my health care plan cover acupuncture?

Determining insurance plan coverage and reimbursement is the patient’s responsibility.

Health care plans vary from employer to employer. To find out if your plan covers acupuncture call your Member Services Representative in advance and ask:

  • Is acupuncture is a covered service under my plan?
  • Can I see an acupuncturist of my choice or is there is a list, or network, of specific providers that I must choose from?
  • Can I see a licensed acupuncturist or am I required to see a physician who has received training in acupuncture?
  • Is there a list of specific medical conditions covered for acupuncture treatment excluding other conditions?
  • Is there a specific number of treatments that I can have in one calendar year?

What can I expect after each treatment?

Most people feel a deep sense of relaxation after each treatment that is similar to how you feel after a yoga class, meditation, or a short nap. This can last for several days. Many people have a feeling of increased energy, mental clarity, and a reduced feeling of stress.

Is acupuncture appropriate for children and for older adults?

Acupuncture works through balancing and regulating metabolic function so it is effective for the young and old alike. Children may be wary at first but when they see how comfortable it is and how much better they feel they will enjoy their appointments. In an older adult population, the treatment of arthritis, pain syndromes, digestion and sleep are commonly treated complaints that respond well to acupuncture.

How many treatments will I need to see results?

At your first visit we will discuss our recommendations for your care based on your presenting issues and your medical history. Chronic and degenerative disorders take longer to address than acute problems. A typical course of treatment is an initial plan of weekly treatments for 3-4 weeks with an evaluation to follow. Sometimes one or two treatments is all that is needed but that is more the exception than the rule.