How does acupuncture work?

Chinese medicine uses tiny needles to access and activate Qi (pronounced “chee” – translated into Western thought as “vital energy”).  Qi moves through channels that we call meridians. When symptoms are present they create an imbalance in these channels producing symptoms. The needles move the Qi to re-establish balance.

What are the needles like?

Needles are 2-3 hairs in width and are gently inserted an average depth of ¼ inch. They are pre-sterilized, individually packaged, and disposed of after a single use. They do not contain any substances or medication.

Does it hurt?

The sensations that patients experience during acupuncture range from nothing at all to a brief muscle ache or heaviness in the area being needled. Some points are more sensitive than others particularly those on the feet and hands. By and large, patients describe the sensations as fleeting and the treatment experience as deeply relaxing. Many people even fall asleep during treatment.

How is acupuncture beneficial?

Acupuncture is often effective with a wide range of complaints, including chronic fatigue, depression, back pain, joint pain, infertility, asthma, addictions, and stress. Acupuncture is also helpful for many chronic illnesses and health concerns that have no clear origin or cause.

Do I have to believe in it for it to work?

No. Acupuncture works whether or not you think it will. A positive attitude helps with any type of therapy but it is not necessary to believe in acupuncture (or to feel it working) for it to work. For example, acupuncture is used successfully on animals and children. They do not understand or believe in the process yet they get better anyway.

Does acupuncture cause any side effects?

Side effects are rare, but may include the following: feeling lightheaded, dizziness, sleepiness, euphoria, nausea, slight bruising, residual muscle aches. Any of these side effects should only last a short time. Staying hydrated after your treatment will help to minimize these side effects, as will resting after your treatment. Any side effects should be reported at your next visit.

How often should I be treated?

In the beginning, it is recommended that a patient receive about 6 weekly treatments. Each treatment builds upon the one that precedes it. Many people notice subtle changes in the first few sessions. At each treatment we will address what progress is being made and evaluate how frequently treatment should occur. Most people continue treatment biweekly, monthly or seasonally. More acute symptoms can respond fairly quickly while more chronic conditions may take longer to respond.

Does insurance cover acupuncture?

I am a preferred provider for CareFirst. While I do not participate with other insurance providers,  paperwork can be provided so that you can request reimbursement. Some insurance companies have certain criteria in order to be reimbursed. You should check with your carrier to know what your benefits cover.

What if I’m not sick?

You do not have to have an illness to benefit from treatment. Patients committed to a healthy lifestyle who receive ongoing acupuncture treatment for maintenance and health promotion often experience:

  • Being sick less often and recovering more quickly
  • Improvement of vitality and stamina
  • Being able to take care of their own health
  • Relationships with others deepening and becoming more harmonious
  • Reductions in long term health care costs