Frequently Asked Questions
- What is acupuncture?
- How does acupuncture work?
- Does acupuncture really work?
- Do I have to believe in acupuncture for it to work?
- What is an acupuncture treatment like?
- Does acupuncture hurt?
- What can acupuncture help?
- Why should I choose acupuncture over other forms of health care?
- How many treatments will I need?
- Is acupuncture safe?
- Are there any side effects to the treatment?
- Are there any “Do’s and Don’ts” for me on the day of treatment?
- Is Acupuncture covered by Health Insurance and Worker’s Compensation?
Acupuncture is a form of health care that encourages the body to heal naturally and promote physical and emotional well-being. In promoting such health, very fine needles, used with or without heat or electrical stimulation, are inserted at precise acupuncture points.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine theory, there are fourteen channels in which energy runs in regular patterns throughout the body. These energy channels, called meridians, are like the highways, streets and roads in a city. A traffic jam on these roads affect life’s activities just like an obstruction or weakness in the movement of energy may cause different problems in the body.
Needling acupuncture points influences the meridians by regulating the traffic, unblocking the obstructions, and reestablishing regular flow through the meridians. Acupuncture treatments can therefore help the body’s internal organs to correct imbalances in their digestion, absorption, and energy production activities, and in the circulation of their energy through the meridians.
The modern scientific explanation behind acupuncture is that needling the acupuncture points stimulates the nervous system to release chemicals in the muscles, spinal cord, and brain. These chemicals will either change the experience of pain, or they will trigger the release of other chemicals and hormones which influence the body’s own internal regulating system.
The improved energy and biochemical balance produced by acupuncture results in stimulating the body’s natural healing abilities, and in promoting physical and emotional well-being.
Yes. Acupuncture has been practiced for more than 2,500 years, and has been proven to help billions of people successfully. Today acupuncture is practiced widely all around the world.
No. Acupuncture is used successfully on some animals, such as cats, dogs and horses, even though these animals do not understand or believe how acupuncture works. On the other hand, a positive attitude toward wellness may reinforce the effects of the treatment received, just as a negative attitude may hinder the effects of acupuncture or any other treatment. A neutral attitude will not block the treatment results.
In our clinic, most patients walk in and try acupuncture without knowing anything about it, and they are impressed and amazed by the results of the treatment.
There are many different styles of acupuncture practiced in the world. In the treatment room at Chan Chiropractic, patients will lie on a comfortable treatment table or chair. The acupuncturist will ask questions related to your current health condition and perform a relevant examination, including the examination of your pulse and tongue. A diagnosis and treatment plan will then be made. Acupuncture treatment will most likely include the placement of three to fifteen needles at various acupuncture points throughout your body. Electric stimulation, moist heat and infrared may also be used depending on your condition.
People experience acupuncture needling differently. Most patients feel only minimal pain as the needles are inserted; some feel no pain at all. Once the needles are in place, no pain should be felt. During the treatment, feelings such as distension, soreness and numbness may be present at some points and is quite normal. In traditional Chinese Medicine, we call it “De Qi? meaning, “Yes, we got it.?/p>
Acupuncture needles are very fine and solid, not hollow, and are made from stainless steel. Insertion of the needles through the skin is not as painful as injections or blood sampling. The risk of bruising and skin irritation is less than when using a hollow needle. Because we use disposable needles, there is no risk of infection from the treatments.
In general, acupuncture
- promotes health and well-being
- promotes balance and harmony in the body
- prevents illness
- helps with various medical conditions
- relieves pain
- relieves stress and bad feelings
Acupuncture is very effective for pain control. Acupuncture anesthesia has been used in China for open heart surgery, dental operations, and child birth. The application of acupuncture is also well known for stroke recovery. Scientific research shows that acupuncture provides significant improvement in stroke patients. Acupuncture also has much broader applications, even for weight control, hair loss control, and to quit smoking. Acupuncture works well alone or in adjunct with other forms of medical treatment.
The World Health Organization recognizes the use of acupuncture in the treatment of a wide range of medical problems, including:
- Digestive disorders: gastritis and hyperacidity, spastic colon, constipation, diarrhea
- Respiratory disorders: sinusitis, sore throat, bronchitis, asthma, recurrent chest infections
- Neurological and muscular disorders: headaches, facial tics, neck pain, rib neuritis, frozen shoulder, tennis elbow, various forms of tendonitis, low back pain, sciatica, osteoarthritis
- Urinary, menstrual, and reproductive problems
Acupuncture is particularly useful in resolving physical problems related to tension and stress and emotional conditions.
Compared to other forms of health care, acupuncture has the following advantages:
- Little to no side affects: Acupuncture regulates and strengthens your body’s internal system without burdening your body further, unlike what many medications do.
- Safety: Acupuncture is a holistic form of healthcare that does not require surgery.
- Low cost
- For any ages: It can be used on kids and even the elderly.
- In most conditions: It can be used on anyone, even the pregnant or handicapped.
- Prevention of disease: Acupuncture can improve your immune system to prevent many kinds of disease.
The number of treatments needed differs from person to person. For complex or long-standing conditions, two or three treatments a week for several months may be recommended. For acute problems, usually fewer visits are required. Acupuncture is also good for disease prevention; therefore, regular checkups and tune-ups are highly recommended. Like check-ups for your car, preventative care can both save money in the long run and prevent disease.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved acupuncture needles for use by licensed practitioners in 1996. The FDA requires that sterile, nontoxic needles be used and that they be labeled for single use by qualified practitioners only. Relatively few complications from the use of acupuncture have been reported to the FDA in light of the millions of people treated each year and the number of acupuncture needles used. Our licensed acupuncturist at Chan Chiropractic uses disposable needles for each patient and swabs treatment sites with alcohol before inserting needles. Therefore, there is very little risk of infection from the treatments.
Acupuncture is a safe method of treatment, but side effects may include bruising or tingling near the needling sites, dizziness or fainting. Extremely rare risks include nerve damage, organ puncture and spontaneous miscarriage. Occasionally the original symptoms will worsen for a few days, or other general changes in appetite, sleep, bowel or urination patterns, or emotional states may be triggered. These are rarely of concern, as they are most often indications that the acupuncture is starting to work. It is quite common with the first one or two treatments to have a sensation of deep relaxation or even mild disorientation immediately following the treatment. These pass within a short time, and rarely require anything more than a bit of rest to overcome.
To enhance the value of a treatment, the following guidelines are important:
- Do not eat a large meal immediately before or after your treatment.
- Do not have an empty stomach before your treatment.
- Do not over-exercise, engage in sexual activity, or consume alcoholic beverages within 6 hours before or after the treatment.
- Do drink more water after treatment.
- Do continue to take any prescription medicines as directed by your regular doctor. Substance abuse (drugs and alcohol) especially in the week prior to the treatment will seriously interfere with the effectiveness of acupuncture treatments.
You should review your health policy to determine if acupuncture is covered. It is our office policy to verify your insurance coverage prior to treatment as well. If your health insurance does not cover acupuncture, we encourage you to contact your insurance provider to encourage them to provide reimbursement for acupuncture or find another health insurance that does cover acupuncture treatment.
Acupuncture is covered under Workers’ Compensation. We will accept Workers’ Compensation insurance, if written pre-authorization is obtained from your insurance company. This is the patient’s responsibility.
Reforms to the California’s worker’s compensation system continue. It is a good idea to “pre-designate” your personal acupuncturist to avoid any potential hassles. This must be done in writing. Submit this form to your employer and to our office as soon as possible. A pre-designated acupuncturist must be someone who you have seen in the past and has your medical records.