Do the needles hurt?

Most patients do not feel much on insertion of the needle, maybe a slight pressure and some ask, "If the needle is in already."  The reason acupuncture needles don't hurt is because they are extremely thin compared to a hypodermic needle which is used for injections or drawing blood.  To give you an idea, you can fit about 40 acupuncture needles into the tip of one standard hypodermic needle.


There are certain sensations associated with the therapeutic effects of acupuncture, which are known as De Qi, the big energy.  The sensation might feel like a slight pinch or heaviness, distention or a burst of energy that can be felt along the meridians.  And discomfort felt passes quickly and is mild.


An important part of my job is to make sure you are comfortable and able to relax into the treatment so the needles can do their work.  I use different needle techniques depending on the sensitivity of the patient.  The more a patient is able to breath and relax into the treatment the deeper the healing.


Is acupuncture safe?


Yes, it is very safe.  A licensed acupuncturist is trained in human anatomy and qualified to insert needles safely.  Only disposable, sterile needles are used for acupuncture.


How does acupuncture work?


Acupuncture works by moving and balancing the Qi (energy) in the body via the needles influencing the Qi.  Qi controls how well the body functions and if the Qi is flowing smoothly less illness and pain occur.


Western medicine had done many studies to understand how acupuncture works and the exact mechanism is not understood.  Science shows that acupuncture stimulates parts of the brain.  It also stimulates the body to release neurotransmitters and hormones.


For example, specific acupuncture points stimulate the brain to release oxycotin, which is a hormone that naturally induces labor.  Studies have shown that using acupuncture to induce labor reduces the active painful phase of labor by an average of 3.6 hours.


Do I have to have a complaint to get the benefits of acupuncture?


Why wait until you have an illness to get the benefits of acupuncture?  In fact, regular acupuncture is a great way to prevent illness and stay healthy.  I have bi-monthly acupuncture treatments and I find I have less tension and stress, headaches, aches, and pains, painless periods, and contract less colds and flues.


What should I expect on my first visit?


On your first visit, we take a history of your current and past health issues.  I will discuss my exam findings and explain your Chinese diagnosis and treatment plan for your recovery.  The first visit is an hour and includes acupuncture.


How often would I need to come in for treatment?


For condition that are not acute, generally once a week is standard for the first six weeks.  If the condition is acute or extremely painful, twice a week is advised until the symptoms are relieved.  The duration of treatment is dependent on the condition, how long you have had it, how your body responds to treatment, and your constitutional health (your genetics).


When will I fell better?


The is dependent on the specific condition in relation to the severity, frequency, and length of the condition. For acute problems, most people feel better immediately.  For chronic conditions, it might take several treatments (between six to twelve) before you notice a decrease in symptoms.


How does Qi move?


Qi flows through specific pathways called meridians.  There are 14 main meridians that run horizontal along the body and each are connected to specific organs and glands.  Meridians are like rivers flowing inside the body.  Where a river flows, it transports life-giving water that provides nourishment to the land, plants, and people.  The Qi that flows in the meridians bring life-giving energy that provides nourishment to every cell, organ, gland, tissue, and muscle of the body.  An obstruction to the flow of Qi creates a blockage similar to a dam in a river.  When the Qi becomes stuck in one part of the body, the flow becomes restricted in other parts, thus cutting off nourishment to the body.


Why is the tongue and pulse examined?


There are 6 pulse positions on each wrist that coincide to a specific organ.  The strength, rhythm, and size of each pulse position reflect the health of the corresponding organs and meridians.  The tongue reflects the general digestive function and tells us what organs and corresponding meridians and excess or deficient.  We look at the shape, color, cracks, and coating on the tongue.


Does insurance cover acupuncture?


Most insurance companies are offering acupuncture as a covered benefit.  I am a provider for most insurance companies, which means i will bill your insurance, and you will be responsible for the copay and/or coinsurance after your yearly deductible is met.  I recommend calling your insurance and inquire about your acupuncture benefits.


Karen Adams, LAc is a provider of the following insurance companies:


Aetna PPO


United Health Care