FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
HOW DOES ACUPUNCTURE WORK?
Acupuncture achieves the desired results by stimulating specific points near or on the surface of the skin - acupuncture points - that have the ability to alter biochemical and physiological conditions in the body. Because acupuncture points are designated areas of electrical sensitivity, inserting needles at these points stimulates sensory receptors. This in turn stimulates nerves that transmit impulses to the hypothalamic-pituitary system in the brain. The hypothalamus-pituitary glands are responsible for releasing neurotransmitters and endorphins, the body's natural pain-killing hormones (thought to be some 200 times more potent than morphine). Endorphins play a significant role in the hormonal system, which is why acupuncture is effective in treating back pain, arthritis, PMS and infertility. The substances released as a result of acupuncture relax the body, and also regulate serotonin in the brain, which affects emotional states. Other physiological effects include increased circulation, decreased inflammation, relief of muscle spasms and increased T-cell count, which supports the immune system.
WHAT KINDS OF AILMENTS IS ACUPUNCTURE USED TO TREAT?
Acupuncture is recognized by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to be effective in the treatment of a wide variety of medical problems. The following are some of the more common conditions treatable by Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture, as outlined by the WHO.
Upper Respiratory Tract: Acute sinusitis, acute rhinitis, common cold, acute tonsillitis
Respiratory System: Acute bronchitis, bronchial asthma (most effective in children and in patients without complicating diseases)
Disorders of the Eye: Acute conjunctivitis, central retinitis, myopia (in children), cataract (without complications)
Disorders of the Mouth: Toothache, post-extraction pain, gingivitis, acute and chronic pharyngitis
Gastrointestinal Disorders: Spasms of esophagus and cardia, hiccough, gastroptosis, acute and chronic gastritis, gastric hyperacidity, chronic duodenal ulcer (pain relief), acute duodenal ulcer (without complications), acute and chronic colitis, acute bacillary dysentery, constipation, diarrhea, paralytic ileus
Neurological and Musculoskeletal Disorders: Headache and migraine, trigeminal neuralgia, facial palsy (early stage, i.e. within three to six months), pareses following a stroke, peripheral neuropathies, sequelae of poliomyelitis (early stage, i.e., within six months), Meniere's disease, neurogenic bladder dysfunction, nocturnal enuresis, intercostal neuralgia, cervicobrachial syndrome, "frozen shoulder," "tennis elbow," sciatica, low back pain, osteoarthritis
IS ACUPUNCTURE USED TO TREAT ANY OTHER KINDS OF AILMENTS?
The most common ailments presented to acupuncturists in the U.S. are pain-related conditions. However, as the public becomes more educated about acupuncture and Oriental medicine, people are seeking help for a number of other conditions, with good results. These include:
Eye, Ear, Nose & Throat Disorders: Sinusitis, sore throat, hay fever, earache, nerve deafness, ringing in the ears, dizziness, poor eyesight
Circulatory Disorders: High blood pressure, angina pectoris, arteriosclerosis, anemia
Gastrointestinal Disorders: Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), spastic colon, colitis, constipation, diarrhea, food allergies, ulcers, gastritis, abdominal bloating, hemorrhoids
Gynecological and Genitourinary Disorders: Premenstrual syndrome (PMS); irregular, heavy or painful menstruation; endometriosis; menopause; fibroids; chronic bladder infection; complications in pregnancy; morning sickness; kidney stones; impotence; infertility (men and women); sexual dysfunction
Immune Disorders: Candida, chronic fatigue, HIV and AIDS, Epstein Barr virus, allergies, lupus, multiple sclerosis (MS), hepatitis
Addictions: Smoking, drugs, alcohol, food
Emotional and Psychological Disorders: Anxiety, insomnia, depression, stress
Musculoskeletal and Neurological Disorders: Arthritis, neuralgia, sciatica, back pain, bursitis, tendonitis, stiff neck, Bell's palsy, trigeminal neuralgia, headaches and migraines, stroke, cerebral palsy, polio, sprains, muscle spasms, shingles
Respiratory Disorders: Asthma, emphysema, bronchitis, colds and flu
Miscellaneous: Chemotherapy/radiation side effects, diabetes, dermatological disorders, weight control
WHAT WILL HAPPEN ON MY FIRST VISIT?
For your initial consultation, the acupuncturist needs to assess your general health. You will be asked about your current symptoms and any treatment you've received so far. It is also important to gather detailed information about your medical history and that of your family, your diet, digestive system, sleeping patterns and emotional state. The purpose is to identify what needs to be addressed in order to target your specific complaint, and to boost your overall vitality.
Stimulation of specific areas affects the functioning of various organs. However, those areas may not be close to the part of the body where you are experiencing a problem. For example, if you suffer from headaches, needles may be inserted into your foot or hand. There are 365 specific acupuncture points on the body, and an unlimited number of non-specific points. An experienced acupuncturist will use a selection of these for each session. Often during the course of a few sessions, different points will be selected as the patient's condition changes. Other techniques, such as electro-acupuncture, massage, or tapping with a rounded probe, are particularly suitable for small children or for people with a fear of needles.
WHAT SHOULD I DO BEFORE TREATMENT?
We recommend wearing loose, comfortable clothing to receive acupuncture treatment. You should be aware that the acupuncturist may need to access points on your torso, arms and legs. It also helps to be in a calm state. Try to arrive 5 or 10 minutes before your appointment to give yourself a chance to relax. Try to avoid the following:
Eating a big meal within one hour of your appointment
Fasting for more than six hours before your appointment
Alcohol, tobacco, food or drinks that color your tongue (such as coffee) immediately prior to treatment or just following a treatment
Vigorous exercise or sexual activity within the hour before treatment
We also recommend that you avoid wearing any metallic jewelry, watches, or earrings. Makeup and nail polish should be minimized or eliminated. Please also avoid the use of perfumes, colognes or strongly scented cosmetics.
HOW MANY SESSIONS WILL I NEED?
Length, number and frequency of sessions vary. For most conditions, a series of several sessions is necessary to achieve the maximum benefit. After an initial consultation, the acupuncturist should provide you with a treatment plan that includes the techniques to be used, as well as the frequency and duration of treatment.
A typical series of sessions consists of 6 to 12 visits, once or twice a week, with sessions lasting 30 to 90 minutes each. Acute conditions, such as sprains, generally require less time and frequency, whereas more chronic or severe ailments may require several (or several dozen) sessions. Appointments are scheduled further and further apart after the optimal response has been achieved. Some people experience great benefits from weekly or monthly sessions.
DO I HAVE TO RECEIVE ACUPUNCTURE TO BE TREATED?
No. Complete Oriental medical care encompasses bodywork, a combination of acupressure and structural therapeutics. The acupuncture points are worked with fingers and hands, in combination with soft tissue manipulation, stretching and joint rotation techniques. For severe internal disharmonies, however, acupuncture is recommended, as it works on a deeper level.
HOW MUCH DOES ACUPUNCTURE COST?
Each patient has unique concerns. The cost of treatment depends on the types of therapy needed and the length of therapy needed. Your ability to pay should not be a factor if you need to be treated. Please contact our office. Our staff will be happy to answer your questions and to help you in any way we can.
WHAT FORMS OF PAYMENT DO YOU ACCEPT?
We do accept cash, debit/credit cards. We accept most of insurances. If your health insurance policy covers acupuncture, you may only be responsible for a small co-pay or no co-pay at all.