Understand your acupuncture care
What is acupuncture?
Considered a form of complementary medicine here in the United States, acupuncture is a time-tested practice that is increasingly embraced by the modern medical community thanks to a growing body of medical research that has demonstrated both its safety and its effectiveness. However, acupuncture can seem a little odd to people who are used to Western medicine.
More people have been successfully treated with acupuncture than with all other health modalities combined. If that seems hard to believe, consider this: Acupuncture has been used for more than 2,000 years to treat a wide array of health issues.
Acupuncture, a form of traditional Chinese medicine, is now practiced all over the world. It can be utilized as an independent healing modality or combined with adjunctive treatments like chiropractic care, energy healing, and our conventional Western medicine. In fact, it is becoming increasingly common for Americans to hear their doctors recommend acupuncture. This time-tested wellness tool is enjoying growing acceptance from our modern healthcare system as a type of complementary medicine.
What makes acpuncturists different?
Acupuncturists practice natural medicine by evaluating the body from a holistic perspective. They utilize sterile needles to stimulate different areas of the body and encourage the body’s natural ability to self-heal.
How big are the needles?
The thought of getting stuck with a needle makes many people wince, but acupuncture needles are thinner than those commonly used for injections and vaccinations.
Often called, “the painless needle,” Chinese acupuncture needles are thinner than a piece of human hair. They are much thinner than the ones used for injections and do not have a tip on the end of them, so they do not tug like an injection needle.
Does an acupuncture needle hurt?
People experience acupuncture needles differently. Some patients report feeling no pain; others feel minimal discomfort as the needles are inserted. Most people describe acupuncture as being simultaneously very relaxing and refreshingly energizing.
Acupuncture needles are extremely thin and are typically inserted just one to three millimeters into the body. While they are being placed, some people feel nothing. Others report minimal discomfort. During treatment, you may feel nothing at all. Alternately, you may experience sensations like warmth or tingling as the energy balances out.
Are the needles sterile?
The needles come individually pre-packaged and pre-sterilized. Our licensed acupuncturists follow recommended procedures to clean and sterilize the environment the needles are handled in also.
Everyone responds differently to acupuncture, so the exact timing depends on your body’s needs. The insertion of the needles typically happens fairly quickly. Once the needles are in place, you can simply relax while they draw in energy. After 10 to 60 minutes, the needles are removed.
How long will the treatment last?
Acupuncture points can be found on both the front and back of the body. If points on your front are being targeted, you will be asked to rest on your back. When needles are inserted in the back, you will be asked to lie on your stomach. Sometimes only one side of the body is treated. On occasions when both the front and back are to be treated, there will be two rounds of treatment.
What acupuncture styles do you offer?
Everything evolves over time, and acupuncture is no exception. Much like artists use their experience and talents to create new styles of art, Tom Tarn, Richard Tan, and other notable practitioners have developed different styles of acupuncture based on their clinical experience and studies. The following are the two styles you are most likely to encounter:
- Traditional Chinese Medicine Acupuncture: This style is the one in which most acupuncturists are initially trained. The foundation for acupuncture techniques and treatment protocols, it encompasses a broad range of treatments. Modern clinical studies are usually focused on this style.
- Five-Element Acupuncture: Popularized by J.R. Worsley, this is a specialty style which expands on the groundwork established by traditional Chinese medicine acupuncture. This advanced needling style tends to place more emphasis on the psyche of a person and its impact on healing.
At Loehr Health Center, formerly Loehr Chiropractic & Acupuncture, we offer the following acupuncture styles, including:
- 5 Element Acupuncture
- Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)
- Dry Needling
While these are the most common styles, others exist. Your acupuncturist may use a different style that better suits your condition.
If there is a specific style of acupuncture that you are seeking, please tell your New Patient Coordinator upon enrollment. This will help us match you to the provider that is trained in the style you are looking for.
Is acupuncture covered by insurance?
Coverage varies based on your insurance plan. We are in-network with many companies, but acupuncture is not covered on most plans. We will run your insurance benefits prior to your first appointment, so that you know what is covered before receiving treatment.
How many treatments will I need?
The number and frequency of treatments required depends on the patient’s unique health situation and their personal wellness goals. Acute problems may need only four or five treatments. For chronic or longstanding health ailments, a regimen of two to three treatments per week for several months may be required. Individuals who simply want to maintain their current health can often benefit from just three or four treatments a year.
Determining how many treatments you will need begins with an initial consultation with one of our acupuncturists. After this consultation, you will receive a Report of Findings. This provides an opportunity to discuss what your provider has found based upon your exam, health history, and any additional information presented. The Report of Findings also includes the number of treatments suggested by the acupuncturist for your unique situation.
As a general rule, many patients notice that the symptoms of their condition begin to improve within three to ten treatments. While the symptoms may decrease during your first few appointments, additional visits may be necessary to alleviate the cause of the condition.