Acupuncture FAQs

A: The initial visit, which includes a full health history and consultation is $140. This visit typically lasts 60-90 minutes. If you would like to include an acupuncture treatment with your consultation, the cost is $200, and you should plan for a 2-hour appointment. Follow up visits for acupuncture are $100 and typically last 60 minutes.

A: Currently, in North Carolina, acupuncturists are not covered under insurance plans. However, many plans do provide some acupuncture coverage. How this works is you pay for your treatment up front, and then I will provide you an insurance receipt that you can submit to your insurance company. The best thing to do is call to find out if you have coverage. Acupuncture is also covered by most HSA (Health Savings Account) and FSA (Flexible Spending Account) plans.

A: The World Health Organization recognizes that acupuncture is an effective drugless treatment for many conditions, including: infertility, back pain, chronic sinusitis, allergies, colds and flus, anxiety and depression, hot flashes, PMS, digestive problems, and headaches.

A: From the Western perspective: Acupuncture releases neurotransmitters, such as endorphins, which stop pain and create a sense of well-being. Studies have been conducted with MRI that actually pinpoint the area in the brain that is affected when particular points are punctured.

From a Chinese medicine perspective: Pain and illness occur in the body when the channels become blocked, preventing the free flow of energy (qi) and blood. Acupuncturists work to restore balance and free flow of energy by placing inserting needles in points along the meridians. Acupuncture treatments (which involves the insertion of very fine needles in various points along the energy meridians) are very balancing. The needles are used to clear energetic blockages, redirect energy, and generally reestablish harmony between all of the organ systems. Slowly, over time, acupuncture works to bring the body into a state of equilibrium, diminishing the pain and dis-ease you were once experiencing.

A: The acupuncture needle is very fine- about the diameter of 1-2 human hairs. The needles are flexible which allows them to move with the skin, thereby alleviating potential discomfort. You may feel a pinch when the needle is inserted, but otherwise, the sensations patients report include a dull ache, a spreading warm sensation, and slight tingling. The effect of the needles on the body creates a very relaxed state and people often fall asleep during treatments.

Most people are shocked to find out that they don’t bleed where every needle was inserted.

A: There are 14 meridians (channels of energy) and hundreds of points in the body. There are points and channels literally all over the body, including the head and the ears.

A: While there are acupuncture points all over the body, the most commonly used points are located between the elbows and the hands, between the knees to the feet, in the abdomen, and on the back. Each acupuncture treatment is different, but on average we use twelve points or less each treatment.

A: You can never discount the power of the mind and positive thinking. However, keep in mind that acupuncture is highly effective on animals, and it is not possible to have a placebo effect with them. About 1% of the population may not respond to acupuncture, but for everyone else, it is usually highly effective.

A: Most patients start off seeing me weekly for 6 weeks. In that time I expect to see definite improvement in the frequency and intensity of their symptoms. After that point, if your body is responding well, I start tapering back the frequency of the treatments to every other week. After 10-12 sessions most patients are MUCH better, and at that point they will come in for maintenance sessions- somewhere between once a month to once a quarter. Please note that this is a general guide. Every body is different and unique and I will tailor the treatment plan to your particular needs. Some people will need more weekly treatments before we taper back the frequency, and some people will need fewer. We will have to see how your unique body responds.

A: In a typical session, we start off by talking and reviewing your main complaint and if there have been any improvements, we then also review the rest of your systems to see how your mind and body are doing. Remember, this is whole body wellness. After we have chatted for a bit, I will start the treatment. The first thing I do is feel your pulses, and then I look at your tongue. These are the two main diagnostic tools in Chinese Medicine. Once done with that, I insert needles as needed to work on bringing your body back into balance. Sometimes I will have you rest with the needles in for 15- 30 minutes, but often I will only leave the needles in for a short time or not at all, depending on what your body needs. In any case, you will definitely leave feeling much more relaxed than you were when you came in!

A: In Chinese medicine, we feel the pulse because it tells the state of the energy in your body. Pulse reading is an acquired skill that practitioners develop over time. Reading the pulse allows us to know how the individual organs and channels are doing, as well as how well the energy in the body is flowing and if it is getting stuck in certain places. We always feel both wrists, because the pulses are different from side-to-side. Each side has six unique finger positions that we feel, each one corresponding with a different channel/organ system. There are twelve energetic organs systems, and thus, twelve corresponding pulses. The pulse guides my treatment. You will notice that I typically feel your pulse often, usually after each set of points, so I can feel how your body is responding to the treatment.

A: I am trained in several styles, including the traditional Chinese medicine style, however, I primarily practice Classical 5-Element Acupuncture, which has a focus on the mental/emotional aspects of wellbeing. In this style, practitioners use a needle technique that is very light and delicate (called the feather technique), and the needles are used to bring energy to the point. Different from other acupuncture styles, the needles are only occasionally left in the acupuncture points, once the energy has been brought to the point. As a result, patients leave feeling relaxed, grounded, and alert.

A: As I tell all of my patients. I cannot guarantee that you will get better, but I will do my VERY best to help you. This process is like peeling an onion. When we peel back a layer we then have to address what is underneath. Each time we unravel a layer there is another layer underneath. Healing and achieving wellness is a process. Please note that this process is a team effort, and I will give you “assignments” for you to focus on in between our sessions. My goal is for you to feel empowered to take control of your health, and know that you can change how you feel.

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