Check out our list below for answers to some commonly asked questions. All Points Acupuncture gratefully acknowledges the contribution of the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture to our FAQs.
Do I need an appointment?
We suggest that all clients set an appointment, however on occasion we do have availability for walk-ins.
Is acupuncture covered by my medical insurance?
If acupuncture treatment is required due to an accident or injury, your medical insurance may cover the costs of your treatment. For information specific to your provider, please call your insurance company.
How does acupuncture work?
Several theories have been presented as to exactly how acupuncture works. One theory suggests that pain impulses are blocked from reaching the spinal cord or brain at various "gates" to these areas. Since a majority of acupuncture points are either connected to (or are located near) neural structures, this suggests that acupuncture stimulates the nervous system.
Another theory suggests that acupuncture stimulates the body to produce narcotic-like substances called endorphins, which reduce pain. Other studies have found that other pain-relieving substances called opioids may be released into the body during acupuncture treatment.
Does it hurt?
Unlike hypodermic needles, acupuncture needles are solid and hair-thin, and they are not designed to cut the skin. They are also inserted to much more shallow levels than hypodermic needles, generally no more than a half-inch to an inch depending on the type of treatment being delivered.
While each person's experience is different, most people feel only a minimal amount of pain as the needles are inserted. Some people feel a sensation of excitement, while others feel slight numbness or a calm relaxing sensation. If you experience significant pain from the needles, it may be a sign that the procedure is being done improperly.
Is it safe?
When practiced by a licensed, trained acupuncturist, acupuncture is extremely safe. As a system of health care, acupuncture already has some inherent safeguards. Because the treatment is drug-free, patients do not have to worry about taking several doses of a medication or suffering a possible adverse reaction.
Acupuncture needles are very thin, presterilized, disposable, one-time-use stainless steel. There is no risk of infection.
Properly administered, acupuncture does no harm. However, there are certain conditions you should notify an acupuncturist about before undergoing treatment. If you have a pacemaker, for instance, you should not receive electroacupuncture due to the possibility of electromagnetic interference with the pacemaker. Similarly, if you have a tendency to bleed or bruise easily, or if you are a hemophiliac, you may want to consider a different type of care.
What conditions does it treat?
In the late 1970s, the World Health Organization recognized the ability of acupuncture and Oriental medicine to treat nearly four dozen common ailments, including neuromusculoskeletal conditions (such as arthritis, neuralgia, insomnia, dizziness, and neck/shoulder pain); emotional and psychological disorders (such as depression and anxiety); circulatory disorders (such as hypertension, angina pectoris, arteriosclerosis and anemia); addictions to alcohol, nicotine and other drugs; respiratory disorders (such as emphysema, sinusitis, allergies and bronchitis); and gastrointestinal conditions (such as food allergies, ulcers, chronic diarrhea, constipation, indigestion, intestinal weakness, anorexia and gastritis).
In 1997, a consensus statement released by the National Institutes of Health found that acupuncture could be useful by itself or in combination with other therapies to treat addiction, headaches, menstrual cramps, tennis elbow, fibromyalgia, myofascial pain, osteoarthritis, lower back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome and asthma.
Other studies have demonstrated that acupuncture may help in the rehabilitation of stroke patients and can relieve nausea in patients recovering from surgery.
What should I expect on my first visit?
As with most health practitioners, the first visit to an acupuncturist usually begins with the practitioner taking a detailed history. Since traditional Chinese medicine takes a more holistic approach to patient care than Western medicine, you may be asked questions that appear unimportant (questions about your sleep habits, your ability to tolerate heat or cold, your dietary habits, etc.) but are actually vital to the type of care you will receive.
After reviewing your history, the practitioner will begin diagnosing your ailment. Depending on your condition, you may be subjected to an examination of the tongue, as well as an examination of the pulse - a major diagnostic technique in traditional Chinese medicine.
Using all of the information obtained during the history and diagnosis, the practitioner will then determine the cause of your symptoms. Depending on the condition, needles will be inserted into specific acupuncture points on the body. The acupuncturist may use electrical stimulation to enhance acupuncture's therapeutic effect.
Depending on the seriousness and the length of your condition, your first visit may take between one and a half to two hours. It may take several visits to see significant improvement or cure your condition. As with any treatment plan, however, make sure that your questions are answered completely, and that the treatment plan seems viable and reasonable. If you don't understand a particular technique or type of treatment, make sure to ask.
What is traditional Chinese medicine?
Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs comprise Traditional Chinese Medicine. Over 5000 years old, more people have been treated by Traditional Chinese Medicine than by any other medical modality in the history of the world. Traditional Chinese Medicine maintains that the body, mind, and spirit form an interactive whole ("holistic" medicine) with the environment. Only by treating these diverse elements as a single energy system can we attain "balance" - also known as "health."
What is Chinese herbal medicine?
Chinese Herbs are seen as the cornerstone of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Chinese Herbal treatment effects change in the body - thereby reinforcing the changes begun by acupuncture treatment. Acupuncture and Herbs work together for the strongest results.
Over four hundred individual herbs have been identified and used in the Chinese Herbal Pharmacopeias. These include flowers, roots, barks, peels, and fruits, each with its own properties and pharmacological actions. In fact, Modern Chinese researchers continue to prove in the laboratory biochemical effects, which had been observed and experienced clinically for several thousand years.
These herbs are carefully combined with each individual patient in mind. Herbs are grouped according to a patient's signs and symptoms - and based on how well they work together best affect the patient's health.
Patients can benefit from the convenience of Chinese herb tablets, the ease of Chinese herb tinctures or powders, or the strength of Chinese raw herbal teas. Herbal formulas are chosen and designed for each individual patient.
Still have a question? Contact us today for more information