Do acupuncture needles hurt?

Most people barely feel a thing when needles are inserted. Some people feel a slight pinch, and others ask “Is it in yet?” The reason acupuncture needles do not give the painful sensation you might expect is because they are very thin in comparison to the hypodermic needles used to give injections. Forty acupuncture needles can fit into the tip of one standard 18 gauge hypodermic needle.

There are certain sensations associated with the therapeutic effects of acupuncture, which are known as de qi (pronounced “dah-chee”). These may include slight cramping, heaviness, distention, tingling or electric sensation traveling along a meridian. If any discomfort is experienced, it is usually mild and brief.

Is acupuncture safe?

Acupuncture needles are extremely safe, because they are pre-sterilized, individually packaged, and disposable. Every practitioner gets extensive training in anatomy so as to avoid accidentally inserting a needle in a place that can cause damage.

Do I have to believe in it for it to work? Does acupuncture always work?

Acupuncture works whether you believe in it or not. Good results are seen in the majority of cases.  The likelihood of acupuncture being readily effective depends on two factors: how strong a person’s constitution is coming in and how strong of an influence their illness, stress, or lifestyle have on their overall health. These factors also determine how quickly one may respond to treatment.

How often would I need to come in for treatment?

Typically acupuncture treatments are given once a week for the first six weeks. After six weeks we reevaluate and if we are seeing good results, I recommend spacing out treatments to every other week to once a month. Many clients choose to continue on a seasonal plan as part of maintenance to their overall health.  If the condition is acute and painful, treatments may be given 2-3 times per week until the condition is relieved.

How does acupuncture work?

Acupuncture is a system of medicine that encourages the body to promote natural healing with the use of thin, solid needles, inserted in precise points. The Chinese became aware of a substance they call Qi (pronounced ‘chee’), which westerners call energy. Just as the blood flows through veins that circulate to all areas of the body, Qi flows as well through its own channels often referred to as meridians.

Meridians are like rivers of vital energy that nourish and support every cell in the body. There are twelve main meridians that each correspond to an organ. Along these main meridians are hundreds of pools of energy, called acupuncture points. When a needle is placed in an acupuncture point, it can activate that area and any area along that meridian. Tenderness upon palpation of the meridians can occur when there is illness in the body that effects the flow of energy. Stimulating points along the meridians effects the flow of energy to promote free circulation of Qi.

In Western medical theory, acupuncture appears to work by stimulating parts of the brain. It also stimulates the body to release natural biomolecules such as neurotransmitters, vasodilators, and hormones. The exact mechanisms which bring this about are unknown, but the effects are measurable.

How much does it cost?

The first session is an hour and a half and is $120.  Included in the initial treatment are a full medical history, a non-invasive physical exam and first treatment. All follow up treatments are $80. Each time, treatment will begin by discussing what you noticed with your last treatment. Feel free to ask questions, or add anything you would like to be addressed through treatment.  It is important to me that anyone who wants acupuncture, receives it. For this reason, I offer a sliding scale to those who can not afford the full price. Contact me to discuss your options. I accept cash, personal check and most major credit cards.

Does insurance cover acupuncture?

Some insurers cover acupuncture. You can usually find out by calling the number on your insurance card.  I provide a receipt that provides all the information you need to submit to your insurance company for reimbursement. It is a standardized form which insurers accept.