I love to answer questions about the treatments I offer. Please check out the Frequently Asked Questions below, or contact me directly with any other questions you may have.
Do you take insurance?
No, however superbills are available by request.
How does acupuncture work?
Acupuncture assists the body in reaching its natural state balance or ‘homeostasis’. It stimulates nerve endings which send messages to the brain and spinal cord, resulting in the release of feel-good chemicals (such as endorphins and serotonin). It also switches on the relaxation response to reduce stress and balance the nervous system. It resolves pain and promotes healing by interacting with pain centers in the brain, improving circulation, reorganising connective tissue, and stimulating anti-inflammatory immune system pathways.
Is acupuncture safe?
Yes. The risks of acupuncture are very low when performed by a licensed practitioner. The risk of a serious adverse event with acupuncture has been estimated to be 0.05 per 10,000 treatments. This risk is substantially less than that of many common drugs or medical procedures used for the same conditions.
After acupuncture, patients may experience minor side effects such as feeling tired, or soreness, itching, minor bleeding or bruising at needle sites.
What training is involved in becoming an acupuncturist?
Acupuncturists are required to undergo extensive education lasting 3-4 years and including 1500 – 2000 contact hours of teaching, with detailed study of human anatomy and training in Clean Needle Technique (CNT). A Licensed Acupuncturist has obtained a degree/diploma from an ACAOM-accredited college, has passed comprehensive national board examinations administered by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) and is licensed by their state.
Does acupuncture hurt?
Not usually. While it would be untrue to say that acupuncture never hurts, for most people, most of the time it is not painful, but in fact rather enjoyable! Many first-time patients are concerned that acupuncture needles will feel like injections at the doctor’s office. They don’t. Acupuncture needles are much smaller than hypodermic needles – not much bigger than a human hair or piece of thread.
Acupuncture does cause a distinct sensation, traditionally called deqi ‘the arrival of qi’, which indicates that the correct nerve endings have been stimulated by the needle. There are lots of different words used to describe the different types of qi sensations – heavy, tingly, pressure, electric, achy – usually it feels more ‘weird’ than painful.
During a typical acupuncture experience you should feel relaxed enough to drift into a restful state – a state so relaxing that it will often turn into a little nap! Following an acupuncture treatment some people report feeling euphoric, which is likely due to acupuncture stimulating the central nervous system to release opioids (pain relieving substances) and serotonin (the ‘feel-good’ neurotransmitter in the brain).
How deep are the needles inserted?
Generally about a quarter inch to one inch, depending on where on the body the needle is being inserted. Places that have a lot of muscle or fat (like the buttock) lend themselves to deeper insertion, however, needles going into less fleshy places (like hands, feet, and ears) may only go in a millimeter or two (less than a quarter of an inch).
Safety plays a huge role in needle depth. Needling around the head, neck, spine, and over internal organs demands care on the part of the practitioner. Licensed acupuncturists spend years studying correct needle depth and placement, and are well-aware of what is underneath the area in which a needle is being inserted.
What kind of research supports acupuncture?
A growing body of evidence-based clinical research shows that traditional acupuncture safely treats a wide range of common health problems.
Are Chinese herbs safe?
Yes, when prescribed correctly by a properly trained practitioner, and purchased from reputable sources. All Chinese herbal products used are sourced from manufacturers who maintain GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) – the international standard in regulating pharmaceutical production and distribution. These modern scientific processing methods include rigorous quality control mean that products are tested for contaminants and proven safe for consumption before being sold.
What should I expect from my initial consultation & treatment?
The initial appointment, which lasts 1.5-2 hrs, consists of three parts: completing paperwork, history taking & examination, and treatment. It includes a thorough exploration of current health concerns, as well as details about past conditions. The pulse and tongue are examined, which, along with palpation of the body, yield information that guides the treatment. The acupuncture points chosen will depend on your condition, but you can expect 10 to 20 needles. Once the needles are inserted, you will lie comfortably for 20-30 minutes with the needles in place. Many people find acupuncture treatment deeply relaxing, and it is not uncommon for patients to fall asleep during this time. At the end of your new patient acupuncture appointment, you will receive a recommendation for a suggested treatment plan and can discuss how it fits your needs.
How should I prepare for my treatment?
- Avoid coffee and alcohol for at least two hours before the session
- Make sure you have had something to eat about two hours before to the session
- Wear loose, comfortable clothing
- Allow 1.5-2 hrs for the first session, which will include finalizing intake paperwork, detailed history taking/examination, plus treatment
- If possible have a time window after the session when you are not rushing on to another appointment – being able to relax afterwards helps to extend the beneficial effects of the treatment
How many treatments will I need?
The benefits of acupuncture are cumulative, so more than one treatment is almost always necessary. For acute conditions you can expect to have 4 to 8 treatments, but you will usually begin to feel relief after one or two. Chronic conditions may take longer to respond, depending on the type, severity, and duration of the condition – one treatment per week for several months may be recommended.
Preventative and ‘maintenance’ treatments for general well-being can be scheduled as-needed. A seasonal ‘tune-up’ at the beginning of each season can help promote resilience within the body.
I’m pregnant. Can I get acupuncture?
Yes. Prenatal acupuncture can promote a healthy pregnancy for both mom and baby. It can treat a variety of symptoms such as morning sickness, edema, pain and headaches. Acupuncture also can be used as a routine pre-birth procedure Acupuncture can be used as a prebirth treatment in two ways. Regular acupuncture in the latter stages of pregnancy can help prepare a woman’s body for birth, with the emphasis on preparing the cervix and pelvis for labour, as well as building resources for the journey ahead. Acupuncture has been shown to be able to help correct breech presentation and can be used to help initiate labor.