This page provides answers to some very common questions that people have about Acupuncture. If you do not find the answer to your question on this page, please feel free to send your question to email@example.com and a staff-member will reply to you as soon as possible.
What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a system of healing that originated in China thousands of years ago and is based on natural laws. According to the laws of nature, life energy (Qi) flows through human beings much like rivers and streams flow through the earth. Health is the result of free-flowing Qi, and conversely, illness is the result of Qi out of balance due to blockages. Every symptom a person has can be considered a distress signal indicating the Qi is not flowing freely. Although symptoms give the classically trained Acupuncturist information, they are not the primary focus. We are more concerned with addressing the whole patient and correcting not only the physical problems but also any underlying imbalances of the emotions, mind, and spirit. Through the use of very fine needles inserted into specific anatomical sites, Classical Acupuncture assists nature in unblocking the flow of Qi and restoring overall balance. Over time, even chronic and complex problems such as anxiety and depression and other issues involving the spirit can be resolved as the flow of Qi is restored.
What Problems Can Acupuncture Help?
The largest single benefit of traditional Chinese Acupuncture is to address the root cause of a disease pattern, not simply treat the manifestation of various symptoms. It is widely accepted that Acupuncture is effective in relieving pain; it also is helpful however, for treating many other chronic and/or acute conditions where pain is not primary. Traditional Chinese Medicine is a holistic approach to healing which embraces the connection of the mind and spirit to our overall physical wellness. Acupuncture is also frequently used in the absence of disease to promote general wellness and enhance proper immune function. The crucial factor separating traditional Chinese Acupuncture from other types of Acupuncture is the involvement of the patient in their own healing process. We at IHA strive to empower our patients to embrace their own path towards healing.
Is Acupuncture Safe?
When practiced by a qualified, licensed practitioner, Acupuncture is very safe. In this country, Acupuncturists use pre-sterilized, single-use, disposable needles. In most cases, the application of Acupuncture poses very little risk to the patient.
Does Acupuncture Hurt?
Acupuncture needles are actually thin wire filaments, barely thicker than a human hair. Sensations felt are momentary and vary from person to person; the patient may experience a dull ache, tingling, or electrical sensation at the site of insertion or along the channel pathway. In most cases, once inserted, Acupuncture needles remain in the skin for approximately 15-20 minutes, but may be retained for up to 45.
Every person has a different level of sensitivity. It is impossible to state that Acupuncture is completely painless. Some patients feel nothing at all while others will feel a strong stimulation. In most cases, a slight sensation will be felt with the initial insertion of the needle and will subside as relaxation begins to take effect. For sensitive patients, many techniques can be utilized to make you feel as comfortable as possible. Ultimately, the positive effects of Acupuncture substantially outweigh any temporary discomfort.
What Will Happen On My First Visit?
Your first appointment will be longer than subsequent sessions. You will be asked a number of questions regarding your medical and family history as well as your present lifestyle including diet, exercise, sleeping patterns, and emotional state. To discover how the energy is moving in your body, your twelve meridian (the pathways through which energy flows) pulses, located on both wrists, will be evaluated for quality, strength, and rhythm. The structure, color, and coating of your tongue may also be used to assess the quality of your health. All this information helps in planning treatments designed especially for you. The aim is to discover which energy channels need adjusting for your specific complaints to improve and to increase your energy and overall sense of well-being.
Why do you look at my tongue and take my pulse?
The appearance of the tongue and the quality of the pulse are used to help the Physician determine the pattern of your disorder. Both the pulse and tongue reflect the state of the internal environment of the body. The information collected from observing the tongue and pulse are combined with the subjective symptomology to confirm an accurate traditional Chinese diagnosis.
Do you have to believe in Acupuncture for it to work?
No; it is a misconception that Acupuncture works based on the placebo effect. Traditional Chinese Medicine is based on thousands of years of empirical evidence. Additionally, there is a growing body of scientific knowledge which validates both the physiological and biochemical effects of Acupuncture treatment.
A wise person once said, “You don’t have to believe in the ocean to get wet.”
How long does an Acupuncture treatment last?
The initial treatment will last approximately an hour and a half. Subsequent treatments average under an hour depending on the condition being treated, and additional modalities used.
How many treatments will I need?
Treatment protocols are entirely dependent up on the disease condition. For acute conditions, patients can expect 2-3 treatments per week for up to 4 weeks (in China, patients are treated every day until symptoms are alleviated). Chronic conditions may require longer courses of treatment. The use of Chinese herbal therapy and/or Body Work may serve to significantly reduce the amount of treatment required.
Treatments for health maintenance, immune stimulation, or general wellness can be administered on a weekly, monthly or quarterly basis.
What type of training is required to practice Acupuncture in Colorado?
The practice of Acupuncture is regulated by the state of Colorado. Licensed Acupuncturists must have a Masters Degree from an accredited University and pass the National Board Exams through the National Commission for Certification of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. For more information on Colorado state laws and regulations, visit the Department of Regulatory Affairs web site.
Will Acupuncture and herbs interfere with my other medications or treatments?
Acupuncture is very safe when used in conjunction with other medical modalities. In many cases, Acupuncture and Chinese Herbology can enhance or accelerate western medical treatments. Although most herbal medications are food substances and pose very low risk, there are some known herb-drug interactions which may be harmful. It is essential to inform your Chinese medical practitioner of any medications, herbs or supplements you may be consuming before embarking upon an herbal medicine protocol. We at IHA believe we are part of your healthcare team and are more than happy to work with your western medical doctor to create a safe and unique approach to your healing.
Am I required to take herbs?
Herbal therapy is not required in every case, and may be unecessary for some conditions. There are times however, when Acupuncture alone will not be adequate to resolve your condition. With complex disorders (such as colds/flu, allergies, menstrual irregularities, stress disorders, menopausal symptoms, gastrointestinal disorders, etc) Chinese Herbology will significantly enhance the effectiveness of Acupuncture and accelerate healing. In simple orthopedic conditions, topical herbal ointments, pastes, or patches may be recommended. For more complex pain conditions, such as arthritis, herbal formulas will enhance your pain relief. The cost associated with Herbal products are separate from consultation and treatment fees.
Should my doctor know about my Acupuncture treatments?
We at IHA believe we are part of your health care team. It is essential to maintain communication with your primary care physician before embarking on any health care protocol. We are more than happy to work with all of your health care practitioners to create a safe and unique approach to your healing.
Is there a guarantee that Acupuncture will work for me?
There is no guarantee that any chosen health care modality will work 100% of the time. Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine have been proven effective for over 3,000 years to treat a wide variety of conditions. Although some patients will feel a significant change after the first treatment, Acupuncture works with the subtle energies of the body to affect long-term change. Profound and lasting recovery from your condition will most likely require several treatments.
Does insurance cover Acupuncture?
While some insurance policies do not cover Acupuncture treatment, many plans do. Treatment fees must be paid in full at the time of treatment. As a courtesy to you, we are happy to provide the proper paperwork to be submitted to your insurance company for reimbursement.
Does Medicare cover Acupuncture?
At the current time, Medicare does not cover any Acupuncture treatment. While supplemental insurance policies will only cover fees reimbursable through Medicare, many secondary policies will in fact, cover Acupuncture. If you would like to see Acupuncture treatments covered in the future, please write your Congressman.