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Frequently Asked Questions

Woman with acupuncture needles in her forehead
Person getting a massage
A candle on a bamboo mat
Art depicting location of chakras

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture originated about 4000 years ago and is part of a complex medical system called Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). TCM views the person as a whole and is based on discerning the "pattern of disharmony" and treating accordingly. In addition to acupuncture, other modalities such as herbal medicine, moxibustion, food therapy (nutrition), and massage techniques (such as tui na and gua sha) may be used. Acupuncture is the insertion of hair-fine needles into the skin and body tissues. They are inserted into any one or more of a number of acupuncture points (there are over 350 acupuncture points in the human body) for the purpose of stimulating a physiological response. The response solicited by the acupuncture treatment is focused on balancing the body's systems which will in turn aid the body in functioning properly.



What does Acupuncture treat?

The World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes over 40 conditions that acupuncture treats effectively. Some of these conditions are: anxiety, depression, fatigue, addictions, migraines, digestive disorders, chronic pain & weakness, poor circulation, stroke, respiratory conditions, and various women's health issues.


What is NAET?

Nambudripad's Allergy Elimination Techniques (NAET®) was discovered by Dr. Devi S. Nambudripad in November of 1983. Nambudripad's Allergy Elimination Techniques, also known as NAET, are a non-invasive, drug free, natural solution to alleviate allergies of all types and intensities using a blend of selective energy balancing, testing and treatment procedures from acupuncture/acupressure, allopathy, chiropractic, nutritional, and kinesiological disciplines of medicine.


One allergen is treated at a time. If you are not severely immune deficient, you may need just one treatment to desensitize one allergen. Basic essential nutrients are treated during the first few visits. Chemicals, environmental allergens, vaccinations, immunizations, etc. are treated after completing about ten to fifteen basic essential nutrients. It may take several office visits to desensitize a severe allergen. 


What is Qi (Vital energy)?

Qi is the vital energy of any living organism and source of all movement and change in the universe. It is needed to nourish the body and allows us to function in our everyday activities. Qi is created and affected by the digestion of food, air, and liquids and how we interact with our environment via exercise, work, meditation, etc.. Deficiencies or blocked Qi can result in pain, problems with digestion, insomnia, emotional imbalances, the inability to keep warm or tolerate extreme temperatures, and a lack of resistance to diseases and chronic fatigue.



What is a Meridian?

Qi (vital energy) flows through channels or "meridians" in the body. There are 12 main meridians, and a network of other smaller channels branching off from these main channels. Each of these 12 main meridians is connected to one of the twelve organs and travels along its own route within the body. When the Qi fails to flow smoothly through the meridians, disease or pain can occur. By stimulating acupuncture points along the meridian, it is possible to release any blockages, thus restoring the body to its natural state.


How does Acupuncture work?

Acupuncture points are areas of designated electrical sensitivity. Inserting needles at these points stimulates various sensory receptors that, in turn, stimulate nerves that transmit impulses to the hypothalamic-pituitary system at the base of the brain. 


The hypothalamus-pituitary glands are responsible for releasing neurotransmitters and endorphins, the body's natural pain-killing hormones. It is estimated that endorphins are 200 times more potent than morphine. Endorphins also play a big role in the functioning of the hormonal system. This is why acupuncture works well for back pain and arthritis and also for P.M.S. and infertility. 


The substances released, as a result of acupuncture, not only relax the whole body, they regulate serotonin in the brain which plays a role in human and animal disposition. This is why depression is often treated with acupuncture. 


Some of the physiological effects observed throughout the body include increased circulation, decreased inflammation, relief from pain, relief of muscle spasms and increased T-cell count which stimulates the immune system.


What can I expect during my first Acupuncture visit?

Much like the first visit to a Western doctor, the visit starts with medical history forms. It is important to answer all questions accurately to assist the medical staff in evaluating your condition. After reviewing your records and letting you describe your condition verbally, the physician will begin the evaluation. The evaluation will most likely include a tongue and pulse examination. The Chinese pulse examination is a major diagnosis technique for Traditional Chinese Medicine. It is a method of establishing the condition of the "meridians" or pathways of "Qi" (energy) within your body. 


Then, using all of the information gathered, the physician will determine a TCM diagnosis and a treatment plan for you. Needles will then be inserted into very specific acupuncture points that will help bring the body back into "homeostasis" or balance, thus removing the source of the symptoms. The needles are left in place for a prescribed period of time (usually about 20 minutes) before removal. After they are removed you can expect to feel more relaxed, energetic, and a better sense of well-being. You may also notice some improvement in the condition that was treated but it is important to not overexert yourself after your treatment. Try to refrain from strenuous exercise or drinking alcohol for at least 6 hours after being treated. Get some rest and drink plenty of water.


Does Acupuncture hurt?

If you are a bit nervous about trying out an acupuncture session, don't are not alone. Since Western medicine uses needles in a different (and sometimes painful) way, it is natural for us imagine the pain of becoming a human pin-cushion. In Western medicine, hollow needles are used to inject medicine or to withdraw fluids from the body and are quite a bit larger than acupuncture needles.


Acupuncture needles are very thin and solid. They are sterile and disposable for your safety. Most people enjoy treatment and find it very comfortable, restful, and relaxing. Sometimes the needle insertion feels like a quick pinch that rapidly subsides. Some people report a mild tingling, heaviness, warmth, or a dull ache at the acupuncture point, which is a sensation of Qi moving.


How many Acupuncture treatments will I need?

The number of treatments required depends on the severity and duration of the symptoms to be addressed. For a cold or flu, one or two treatments can be very helpful. For chronic health conditions of years or even life-long duration, a longer course of treatment is normally required. The effectiveness of the treatment is often evident within the first 4-6 sessions and clear treatment goals can be established.


What about Herbal Medicine?

Your practitioner may recommend the use of Chinese herbs to aid in the healing process. The herbal formulas that we use have been tested to ensure the quality of the herbs. It is important that you tell your practitioner about any pharmaceuticals you are currently taking to limit the risk of possible herb-drug interactions.


Will my insurance cover Acupuncture?

Most insurance plans do not cover acupuncture yet. Some policies are beginning to include acupuncture because of its cost effectiveness as a treatment and because consumers have shown a willingness to pay for it out of pocket. We are an authorized provider with Health Net/ Veteran's Choice but otherwise we do not bill insurance companies directly. We can, however; provide you with the documentation that you will need to get reimbursed by your insurance company.


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