Does acupuncture hurt?
We use very thin, filiform needles. This means they are the size of a single hair shaft or thinner. Because of this, the insertion is virtually painless. When I get people who are scared of the needles come in, I get 4 or 5 needles in before I let them know I’ve done anything. The most common response is, “Really? I couldn’t feel anything. Why did I wait so long?”
What is acupuncture good for?
In school we are trained as primary care physicians, though only two states recognize us as such. Acupuncture and herbal medicine can treat anything that doesn’t require an emergency room. Most of what I treat is pain, but I’ve also treated underactive and overactive thyroids, anxiety and depression, infertility, insomnia, Crohn’s disease, autoimmune diseases, IBS, smoking cessation, alcoholism, drug addiction, food addiction and cold symptoms just to name a few. I am always letting people know that if they do have a heart attack, stroke or other surgery once they get out of the hospital I can help them heal faster than normal.
Most acupuncturists will specialize in something. The most common specialty is women’s health and infertility. My specialty is Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia.
What is the difference between acupuncture and dry needling?
Absolutely nothing. It’s just a way for non-acupuncture trained medical professionals to practice without the intense training I have gone through. If you know a practitioner who is not an acupuncturist and wants to do dry needling on you, ask them what training they’ve gone through for that. If you don’t feel comfortable with it, decline the procedure.
Are there any risks or side effects of acupuncture?
There is but they are minimal when you go to a properly trained and licensed professional. Make sure you eat before your treatment as the procedure lowers your blood pressure and blood sugar levels. This can be a beneficial side effect for those with high blood pressure or diabetes but if you have low blood pressure or your sugar levels are normally low you can get a little dizzy after a treatment. If you know you are needle phobic or have had needle shock in the past, let the practitioner know. A properly trained professional can minimize any reaction. Being properly educated can help you to know what to expect. The biggest side effect I’ve seen is extreme relaxation!
How long does a treatment take?
The first time I see someone it takes 1 1/2 to 2 hours. This is because I not only get a history of what you want treated I get a whole medical history so I can have a big picture of your health. This time includes a treatment. when you return it takes 45 minutes to an hour.
How long does a treatment last?
This is a loaded question! If you get relief in the first treatment (which most people do) it depends on the person. It may last a few hours or a few days. Everyone is different. Once we get a handle on your situation and you’re released from treatment, again it depends on the person. It could last for a few months or a few years. You are you and nobody else. It’s why everyone’s response is different, and why you’ll heal in your own time. Comparing you to others just doesn’t work.
Where do you put the needles?
Again this is a loaded question. It will depend on what you’re being treated for. I practice a technique that uses trigger points. Most of the time I’ll be putting needles in your legs and ankles for neck pain, knees for elbow pain and hands for back pain. Headaches will depend on where the pain in the head is. For most people this technique is very effective and it requires a lot less needles than if the treatment is where the pain occurs.
How does it work?
It’s hard to describe in a few sentences. It takes us 3 1/2 years of school to learn this. In a nutshell though it increases circulation and releases lots of endorphins. These two activities help to relieve pain, relax the muscles and improve the immune system. Many people are amazed at how relaxed they feel after their treatment.
Does insurance cover acupuncture?
Yes, most insurance companies, and plans cover acupuncture now. You can call to see if your plan covers it, but there’s a lot of information the representative won’t tell you. If the clinic you call won’t call for your benefits, make sure you ask about the deductible, the office visit and the treatment benefits. They all can vary widely from one plan to another.
Is acupuncture safe?
Absolutely. One of the best questions to ask a clinic when you call is where the practitioner went to school. Make sure they went to a reputable college or university and they have the proper license and credentials. That way you know they will be using sterile needles in a clean clinic. I use only pre-sterilized, single use needles that are put into a proper biohazard container after use.
Why would my acupuncturist insist on an herbal formula as well as acupuncture?
Think of it this way. Acupuncture is the electrical system of your body (or a car). The herbal formulas, and food you eat, is the gas for your body (or your car). If your car is running on empty, the electrical system isn’t going to work either. Food and herbs is more than just calories. It’s minerals, vitamins, nutrients and phytochemicals our bodies require for healing. It’s why I’m so passionate about diet and eating the right foods.
Because I’m also passionate about education, I frequently post on my Facebook page tips on how to get and stay healthy.