Does acupuncture hurt?
When a needle is inserted, various sensations can be felt, ranging from a slight pinch to nothing at all. During the session, many patients feel very relaxed and even fall asleep. It is important to communicate with your acupuncturist regarding any discomfort you may experience during your treatment. Acupuncture should not be painful or remain sharp. Some common sensations that you may experience during treatment are heaviness,mild soreness, numbness, tingling, itchiness, or traveling sensations from one area of the body to another. The sensation you will feel when being needled is generally fairly minimal. In some styles you will feel almost nothing, while in others the needle will be rotated slightly until you feel a heavy or distended feeling indicating the arrival of Qi.
As you can see in the picture, the pins are hair-thin and I offer other options to acupuncture for your wellness.
Is acupuncture safe?
Acupuncture is extremely safe. The treatment consists of the usage of sterile and non-reusable needles. Side effects include but are not limited to:
· Reduction in pain and allergies
· Better sleep, appetite, skin tone, and recovery from trauma
· Improvement in immune, digestion, hormonal and reproductive functions
· Reduction of stress and anxiety
· Increase in joint mobility
A licensed acupuncturist uses sterilized (one time use) needles, that are extremely thin, about the thickness of two human hairs. The needles are sterile, individually packaged and disposed of after each use in medical grade sharps containers, in compliance with health codes and state regulations. This eliminates any risk of disease transmission.
Check http://www.nccaom.org for licensure. The requirements to be an acupuncturist that is NCCAOM certified extend beyond 200 hour medical or dry needling courses.
Comprehensive training in traditional differential diagnosis and proper treatment methods requires that a Diplomate of Acupuncture (NCCAOM) completes three to four academic years of education at the masters degree level in an acupuncture program accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM). In additional to graduation from an ACAOM accredited prgram, a Diplomate of Acupuncture (NCCAOM) must demonstrate professional competency by passing the certification examintation in Foundations of Oriental Medicine, Acupuncture and Biomedicine. The NCCAOM Diplomate training and competency verification is in sharp contrast to the acupuncture training of other healthcare professions such as chiropractors or registered nurses or even medical doctors who typically receive 100-300 hours of abbreviated training. Board certified (and licensed) acupuncturisits are also trained in standard medical history gathering, safety and ethics, and recognitions of when to refer patients to other heath care professionals or consult with other medicial practitioners.
(reprinted from NCCAOM’s acupuncture brochure 2009)
Are there other forms of treatment besides needle insertion?
Yes! The following adjunct therapies are often used to complement your treatment:
This is a method of performing gentle stimulation on specific areas by kneading, pressing, or touching certain acupuncture points on the body, without using needles.
Acupressure can help treat imbalances and support overall health that we can teach you to do on yourself anywhere and is also great for kids. At times, I incorporate tuning forks on pressure points. I also combine essential oils, often referred to as the blood of a plant, and flower essences, often referred to as the spirit of a plant, on particular acupressure points as well.
This is a gentle stimulating current coupled with LED to stimulate acupressure points. Sensation is very minimal.
This treatment involves the use of suction cups to relieve muscle tension or treat the common cold.
Cupping can leave round marks for days to 2 weeks, depending on how severe the pain or imbalance is and how quickly the individual heals. The imprints may be somewhat delicate the day of the treatment; however they are not excruciating. Cupping feels like a deep back massage (5-15 minutes) and helps to drain toxins from the body. After a treatment, it is advised to drink plenty of fluids to assist the passage of lymph and drainage of toxins.
Gua Sha (scraping) is very similar to cupping and involves the use of tools with a smooth rounded edge and oil. It is often compared to a deep tissue massage. The marks created by scraping will have a stripe-like appearance. It is recommended to wear a scarf post treatment and to drink plenty of fluids.
Moxibustion (moxa) is the burning of the herb ‘artemisia vulgaris’ (also known as mugwort) along the meridians or acupuncture points. It is warming and increases circulation and is intended for relieving pain, reducing swelling, and improving range of motion. Moxa is great for orthopedic, digestive and reproductive issues, and has a very calming relaxing effect. Moxibustion comes in the form of loose herbs, in rolls and in balms or sprays, typically done for up to ten minutes. Some forms of moxa are used with TDP heat lamps that contain minerals that increase circulation and expedite healing.
Traditional Chinese herbs are often used in conjunction with acupuncture to sustain the benefits you experience in the clinic in between your treatments They are useful for a variety of conditions and are taken internally as pills, tinctures, or custom-ordered granules, or applied externally as topical liniments, creams, oils, or patches.
We prescribe top tested brands with strict quality controls:
· Evergreen Herbs
· Dragon Herbs
· Jing Herbs
· Standard Process
· Designs for Health
· Various Liniments and topicals
Herbal formulas cost ~ $25-$50 / bottle for a 2 week dose.
*Most reputable herbal companies sell only to bonafide licensed practitioners for public safety reasons. Indiscriminate online purchases of herbal medicine are often reported as cases of artificial duplicates of top brands. Some products have been reported to have been tampered with or diluted as well.
I’m on medication. Can I take herbs?
Chinese herbs are safe when prescribed by a licensed professional. Herbs are typically prescribed in a formula, whether it be a classical formula administered as pills, in powder form for teas, or tinctures. It is important to inform your practitioner of a list of current medications you are taking to avoid adverse drug-herb interactions, however, Chinese herbs are gentle and effective at detoxifying the body while building your system.
How should I prepare for my session?
It is recommended to wear loose clothing to allow access to acupuncture points, especially around joints and the midsection/back. Have a light meal or snack 1-3 hours before your treatment. Do not brush, scrape your tongue or chew gum before your treatment because the tongue gives information about the state of your condition. If you are a new patient, please take the time to print, fill out and sign the New Patient Intake form and the Informed Consent form, as this will save time during your initial consultation.
What should I expect?
During the first session, we go over comprehensive info. We cover health history, what’s going on now with all systems, as well as physical, mental and emotional symptoms, etc. I then explain some theories behind the treatment as well as my approach and send you off with literature so you have an understanding of the process if you feel to blissed out to remember what we discussed.
During the second session, we catch up on what you experienced since the first treatment. I add in other modalities that may help you and walk you through potential patterns with dietary and lifestyle recommendations.
During the third treatments and beyond, I discuss herbs and any other options for treatment. I recommend 4 – 6 treatments once or twice a week initially, and then gradually shifting to bi-monthly to monthly to eventually getting seasonal tune-ups.
A course of acupuncture is regularly 6-12 sessions once or twice per week. Results are often experienced after the first treatment. Continued treatment is necessary until symptoms decline or disappear, followed by monthly maintenance treatments. Commitment to treatments will determine your success. Acupuncture is not only corrective, but also a preventative modality; therefore, it is encouraged that you schedule seasonal tune-ups at minimum.
How many sessions do I need?
Your treatment course is determined by the diagnostic and treatment planning process.
There are many styles of acupuncture. An acupuncturist may begin a treatment course with one procedure and move to an alternate depending upon each person’s reaction. If by the fourth treatment you are not experiencing results, your acupuncturist may vary technique or treatment approach.
The frequency of treatments varies with each individual. Because acupuncture works by stimulating your body to heal, the closer the treatment times are initially, the quicker the healing process is. The more time lapses between treatments, the longer your healing process is. To expedite healing and build energy, expect 2 sessions per week for 2-3 weeks initially, followed by 1 session per week until symptoms diminish or you move to a maintenance phase. After those treatments, together we will discuss the frequency necessary for your individual course of continued treatment. Many patients continue to get regular acupuncture treatments for general well-being even after their symptoms have resolved.
What training is required to practice acupuncture?
A Licensed Acupuncturist (L.Ac) has attended an accredited graduate level college studying Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and earning a Master of Science degree (MSTOM). The training is extensive and comprehensive, including over 3000 hours of education over a 3-4 year timeframe, as well as clinical training and internship for one-year minimum. Upon graduation, the next step is to pass National Certification exams (NCCAOM) followed by gaining licensure through state medical boards. MD’s and Chiropractors may also practice acupuncture but typically from introductory courses offering only 200 hours of training or less. Therefore, it is recommended that an NCCAOM certified (National Certification Committee for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine) practitioners be consulted for acupuncture due to their extensive training, depth of knowledge and specialization in acupuncture techniques. Continuing education is required to keep licensure current.
Why should I set aside time for self-care?
We all have a purpose in life and to set ourselves up for success in discovering that purpose, we need allow ourselves to heal. Sometimes there is too much noise, distraction, or overwhelming stimulation that stops us from truly understanding what needs to heal – whether it is old patterns from childhood, injuries, bad choices, traumas, etc. When you allow yourself that sacred space to heal and you prioritize your self-care, you can show up better for yourself, your family and friends and for others that need a shining example. You have one life to live, so why not be in control of your experiences? You can prevent your body from developing imbalances. The only thing that is consistent in life is change, and you have the power to transform where you age healthfully with grace.
Is acupuncture covered by insurance?
Some insurance companies now reimburse for acupuncture treatments. Consult your insurer for the terms of coverage on your policy by asking what their “acupuncture benefit” is.
I do not process insurance claims, however, I will print a super-bill with proper ICD-10 codes for you to submit to your insurance company for reimbursement. Payment is due at the time of service however, I am happy to provide you with a medical receipt.
What makes your approach to skin care unique?
I truly believe that our experience of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health is synonymous with our expression of beauty. I also believe there is opportunity in seeing beauty in everything – even in what we would consider to be ugly. I don’t believe in “anti-aging”. I believe in healthy aging. I support my clients to invest in their self-care. I also encourage them to look at their faces, the most dynamic parts of their bodies, as a reflection of their internal health (through face mapping) and their repetitive expression of emotions. In essence, I work to get to the root of what they don’t like about their faces so they can achieve a level of self-acceptance that meets results. The results are delivered not only through services and home care (topical and internal), but the transformation of self-acceptance, self-healing and self-love.