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DSCN3417.JPGAcupuncture FAQ

1.  What is Acupuncture?
2.  How Does Acupuncture Work?
3.  Is There Any Modern Scientific Research that Proves
     that Acupuncture Works?
4. 
Does It Hurt When An Acupuncture Needle is Inserted?
5.  What Should I Expect On My First Visit? 
6.  How Many Treatments Will I Need?
7.  Are There Side Effects to Acupuncture?
8.  Does Insurance Cover Acupuncture?


1.  What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture involves the placement of very fine needles into specific points of the body called acupoints. These acupoints are located throughout the entire body along specific energy channels called meridians.

2.  How Does Acupuncture Work?
Several thousand years ago, the ancient Chinese healers believed that the body was filled with a substance of pure energy known as Qi (pronounced Chee).  They mapped out the specficic energy pathway channels that they called meridians, and it was through these meridians that they believed the Qi flowed. They believed that the acupuncture points were found along these meridians. The ancient Chinese also believed that when the flow of  Qi through the meridians was blocked or obstructed in any way, that sickness and disease would result.  By putting acupuncture needles into specific acupuncture points,  the Chinese noted that Qi flow was stimulated, and the person’s health was improved and restored. Recent research has shown that the Chinese were absolutely correct in their findings.

3Is There Any Modern Scientific Research that Proves that Acupuncture Works?
Recent research has shown the following clinical  findings about the effectiveness of Acupuncture: 

  • Acupuncture stimulates the release of serotonin and dopamine in the brain which reduce the feelings of stress and anxiety and leads to feelings of calmness and well-being.
  • Acupuncture stimulates the release of endorphins and enkephalins (natural pain killers) and other opioides in the brain and spine .
  • Brain scans on people receiving acupuncture shows significant electrical changes in the brain, especially in the areas that control pain and behavior.
  • Acupuncture changes the pattern of blood flow through the body, thereby stimulating healing.
  • White blood cells migrate to  the area of needle insertion, thereby stimulating the bodies natural immune defenses.

4.  Does It Hurt When An Acupuncture Needle is Inserted?
The needles are very thin.  They are nothing at all like the hypodermic needles used by Western medical professionals.  Each acupuncture needle is sterile, is used only once, and then is disposed of in a medical waste container.  After insertion of the needle, some people may feel a slight tingling, pulling, tugging, or heavy sensation at the point of insertion that lasts for only a few seconds. Acupuncturists call this "obtaining the Qi" (chee).  This is a normal sensation and indicates that the treatment is working.  Some people may not feel any sensation at all.  Each person will have their own unique experience.

5.  What should I expect on my first visit?
The first visit to an acupuncturist usually begins with the practitioner taking a detailed health history. After careful review of your history, the practitioner will begin to diagnose your ailment using a Chinese Medical Diagnosis.  Palpation (to explore by touch) of various acupuncture points on the body, an examination of the tongue, and the taking of the pulse are common diagnostic techniques in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. Using all of this information, the practitioner will then determine the cause of your symptoms and ailments. Needles will be inserted into very specific acupuncture points on the body. The acupuncturist may use moxa, cupping, scraping (gua sha) or electrical stimulation to enhance acupuncture session's therapeutic effects.  Your first visit will take about 60-75 minutes, with subsequent visits lasting about 50-60 minutes. 

6.  How Many Treatments Will I Need?
Some people respond quickly to treatments, and others respond more slowly. Generally speaking, the longer a person has had a condition, the longer it might take for it to reverse.  Occasionally, a patient with a long term problem may respond very quickly. You should plan on seven to ten acupuncture treatments to either effect a cure, relieve symptoms partially or totally, or to see no response at all.  After this initial course of acupuncture treatments, the treatment plan will be reassessed.

7.  Are There Side Effects to Acupuncture?
When practiced by a licensed acupuncture professional, acupuncture is generally safe and free of any side effects.

8.  Does Insurance Cover Acupuncture?
Some insurance companies cover Acupuncture treatments for worker's comp or auto accident claims but most do not in the state of Pennsylvania.  Check your policy. If you're not sure, call your insurance company to check to see if they will cover your treatments.   Additionally, if you have a company Health Savings Account, your Flexible Spending Plan may cover acupuncture.  Check with your employer.