What should I expect with acupuncture healing?
An acupuncture healing program takes time and generally requires more of an investment in resources in the beginning phases of care. This is system of healing and health maintenance can be used to achieve lasting results in symptom improvement as well as be used as a strategy to ensure good health and vitality throughout your lifetime.
We believe that in our lives we will each make an investment in our health. How and when the investment is made is a personal choice. We believe investing now is better than later- when health degradation has gotten to a point where choices are limited and may require costly drugs, surgeries or procedures with little impact to health improvement.
What is acupuncture/TCM?
Acupuncture is part of a medical system called Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) that has been used to diagnose, treat and prevent illness for over 3,000 years. Acupuncture is proven to remedy acute or chronic ailments, relieve pain, enhance recuperative abilities, and strengthen the immune system.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) includes five branches:
- Herbal Medicine
- Movement and Breathing Exercises
- Bodywork and
At our clinic we incorporate each of these aspects into our treatments and/or recommendations in order to achieve health and wellness at an optimal level.
How does acupuncture work?
Acupuncture works. Medical organizations such as the Mayo Clinic, Harvard Medical School and the World Health Organization endorse acupuncture.
There are several ways to understand how acupuncture works. The traditional Chinese medicine model, used to treat and prevent illness for over 3,000 years, reveals that acupuncture works by unblocking energy in meridian systems in the body and activating the bodys own Qi (pronounced chee), or vital energy.
Or perhaps, said another way and from a biomedical perspective, acupuncture works by impacting the nervous system, releasing neurotransmitters and endorphins and regulating the hormonal systems. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRIs) conducted while patients receive acupuncture show various parts of the brain “lighting up”. This shows the impact on the nervous system. This also reflects the increase in local blood and lymph flow, partly explaining results patients get for pain relief, improved cognitive function and energy.
Acupuncture treatment is based on specific diagnosis that looks at the body from a holistic point of view and seeks to not only treat the symptoms of disease, but also the root cause. The aim of acupuncture treatment is to harmonize and balance the entire body so that the innate wisdom of the body to heal itself is revealed.
How safe is acupuncture?
There are very few adverse reactions to acupuncture but in some cases your condition may temporarily exacerbated following the treatment. This is a sign of detoxification and is considered to be a good thing. Soaking your feet in Epsom salts and hot water and getting in plenty of fluids and nutrition will ease the process.
How many acupuncture treatments do I need?
Generally it is good to start with a course of 6-12 treatments. This usually will provide adequate time to properly address one to two conditions. If the condition is chronic, or you have multiple over-lapping conditions, it may require more treatments. It is usually best to come for acupuncture once to twice a week when working on a specific condition or conditions. After these health concerns have improved, patients often like to receive maintenance treatments every 2 to 4 weeks. Patients find receiving maintenance acupuncture treatments helps them manage stress, boost energy, enhance sleep and maintain the absence of symptoms. In order to get the best therapeutic results, it is important to follow the treatment plan and recommendations carefully. It is important to complete the course of therapy to restore health.
What happens during an acupuncture treatment and office visit?
The initial appointment will last about 1.5 hours; follow up treatments are about an hour. On the first appointment there will be a comprehensive review of your health history and chief complaint(s). There will also be an assessment of your body from a holistic point of view to help determine the underlying imbalances that might be causing your health concerns.
At each session a personalized acupuncture treatment is delivered depending on what is currently presenting, and in accordance with your long-term health goals. You will relax in a comfortable room for approximately 35-45 minutes once the needles are in. Many people relax enough to fall asleep during their treatment. Additional therapies may be offered and are included in your office visit. These include heat therapy (lamp/moxibustion), bodywork techniques, dietary and lifestyle recommendations and stress reduction activities. Herbal medicine and nutritional supplements may be recommended to further assist you on your road to wellness. These supplements are provided for an additional fee.
Does Insurance or Flex-Spending/HSAs cover acupuncture?
Lakeland Acupuncturist accepts cash, check and credit card payments. We do not bill insurance companies directly, however, we will provide you with a properly coded receipt of services for submitting to your insurance company for reimbursement. It is recommended that you contact your insurance company before your visit to understand what may be covered (see your insurance card for contact information). Here are some questions to ask:
-Does my plan cover acupuncture?
-How many treatments are covered in a calendar year?
-Do I need a referral from a doctor?
-How much will be reimbursed be per treatment?
Also, Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) and/or Heath Spending Accounts (HSA) can be used for acupuncture/nutrition services and supplements with most plans.
Check with your health savings account service provider and/or your insurance provider to see which of these services are covered.
What kind of research is there about acupuncture?
A lot! And more studies coming everyday… here are a few to review:
- World Health Organization’s review and analysis of controlled clinical trials on acupuncture.
- Data from 29 separate studies of 18,000 people confirms what many people already swear by: acupuncture works, especially for treatment of body back and neck pain, arthritis and headaches. NBC’s Brian Williams reports.
- A New York Times Article reviewing a 2012 study about acupuncture and pain (here’s a link to the actual study).
- A Bloomberg article featuring the largest study conducted of acupuncture as a reliever of pain
- A 2013 study from the Journal of Endocrinology on how acupuncture blocks stress hormones and regulates parts of the endocrine system.
- Children and migraines– opiod levels
- Acupuncture for knee arthritic pain
- Acupuncture and stress relief
What if I am nervous about the needles?
It’s normal to be nervous about sharp objects. Acupuncture needles are extremely thin and usually very short. In fact, they are so small that between 5 to 10 can fit inside one of the needles used when you get a shot. The width of an acupuncture needle is comparable to the width of a human hair. If you have never had acupuncture we will explain the process and ensure you are comfortable with what is taking place during the treatment.
How do I prepare for my visit?
Have a light meal at least a few hours before your appointment. You don’t want to be overly full or overly hungry for your appointment. You may want to have some free time after your appointment, especially your first one. Many times acupuncture can make people feel pleasantly relaxed after their treatment—so you may not want to schedule intensive activities or very vigorous exercise afterwards (light exercise should be fine).
*Cellular phones/mobile devices should be powered off or silenced during your visit to our office.
What should I wear to my appointment?
It is generally appropriate to wear loose fitting or workout clothes to a treatment. You will be informed of the general approach to treatment and whether any articles of clothing need to be adjusted/removed so the area can be properly treated and if this is the case, a gown and/or sheet will be provided. Privacy and safety are maintained at all times.
Cellular phones/mobile devices should be powered off or silenced during your visit to our office.
Will I need to undress for my appointment?
Patients are encouraged to wear comfortable clothing. Many acupuncture points are located on the lower legs and lower arms, so patients may not need to undress if they can roll up their pants and shirt sleeves comfortably. However, some patients might need to disrobe in order to reach treatment areas (for instance, if there is hip, low back or shoulder pain). In this case they will be professionally draped with sheets and/or a gown will be provided.