FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
If you’re unfamiliar with acupuncture, you probably have a million questions. Although we can’t give you a million answers here, we hope that the following information is helpful. Please feel free to contact the office if you have additional questions.
- > How does acupuncture work?
- > Does acupuncture hurt?
- > What if I am afraid of needles?
- > Is acupuncture safe?
- > What are the education requirements for acupuncturists?
- > Is there a governing body for acupuncturists?
- > What do I need to know about acupuncture before receiving treatment?
- > Will I need to choose between acupuncture and my medical doctor?
- > Does acupuncture work with other therapies and/or medications?
- > Do I need to be sick or have something wrong to receive acupuncture?
- > How do I prepare for my acupuncture treatment?
- > How much time do I plan for each appointment?
- > How frequently will I need treatments?
- > When will I see improvements?
- > Is acupuncture covered by insurance?
> How does acupuncture work?
In Oriental medicine, practitioners work with energy in the body called Qi (pronounced “chee”). Qi flows through pathways called meridians or channels. When pain is present it means there is a stagnation or blockage of Qi along a meridian(s). With acupuncture, and in some cases with the use of herbs, that blockage is removed to alleviate pain.
In this tradition there are also organ systems (e.g., spleen, liver, kidney, etc.). Even though they have Western medicine names, they are not viewed in Western medicine terms. The “energetics” of the organ are addressed, rather than the organ itself.
A comprehensive interview with the patient is used to determine which organ system(s) are in disharmony and/or which meridians are blocked. This information guides the practitioner on the proper course of treatment.Top of Page
> Does acupuncture hurt?
Extremely fine, flexible needles approximately the diameter of a human hair are used during acupuncture treatments. When the needle is inserted, in most cases, the patient will feel nothing. If a sensation is experienced, it may feel like a brief sensation of a cactus prick or mosquito bite.Top of Page
> What if I am afraid of needles?
Many people who are needle-sensitive or needle-phobic receive acupuncture and are surprised at how different the experience is compared to what they anticipated. About 99% of the time, after the first needle is inserted, the patient says, “That’s it?”
If someone is apprehensive to receive acupuncture, they are welcome to come by the office to experience what a needle feels like – then a more informed decision can be made as to whether or not they want to pursue acupuncture treatments.Top of Page
> Is acupuncture safe?
Yes. All acupuncture needles are sterile and never reused.Top of Page
> What are the education requirements for acupuncturists?
In Colorado, people who perform acupuncture have varying levels of required education.
• Medical doctors require no formal training to perform acupuncture.
• Chiropractors require only 100 hours of training to perform acupuncture.
• Acupuncturists in Colorado require the following training:
– Master’s of Science Degree in Oriental Medicine (MSOM): Over 3000 hours of formal training
– Nationally certified by National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental
Medicine (NCCAOM): Successfully pass national exams; Completion of 60 CEUs every 4 years to maintain certification.
– Acupuncturists must be licensed in the State of Colorado (Licensed Acupuncturist, or L.Ac.)Top of Page
> Is there a governing body for acupuncturists?
Yes, the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) regulates all acupuncturists in the state. DORA sets the rules and regulations regarding the practice of acupuncture, including proper cleaning and sterilization of equipment.
Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) at 1560 Broadway, Suite 1350, Denver, CO 80202 (303) 894-7800Top of Page
> What do I need to know about acupuncture before receiving treatment?
Acupuncture is not a “quick fix” or a “miracle cure”. Because we are working with the body’s energy, chronic conditions will improve gradually, while acute conditions may improve more quickly. An individual does not need to “believe in” acupuncture for it to work. Acupuncture is performed on babies and animals with great success, and they have no preconceived notions.
If you have received acupuncture before, keep in mind each practitioner is different. Because acupuncture is an art form, different styles and techniques are used – and one is not necessarily better than another. Acupuncture treatments and herb formulas are specific to each patient and their unique condition.Top of Page
> Will I need to choose between acupuncture and my medical doctor?
Absolutely not! Western and Eastern medicine each have their own strengths, and compliment each other. There are many conditions that cannot be treated with acupuncture, such as cancer, broken bones, ruptured appendix, etc. However, acupuncture can help speed the recovery from these conditions by supporting the system, improving immunity and decreasing pain. In some cases, Western medicine may have difficulty diagnosing the source of conditions, such as allusive pain, fatigue and emotional distress. In these instances acupuncture may prove to be extremely helpful.Top of Page
> Does acupuncture work with other therapies and/or medications?
Yes. Acupuncture works well with other therapies and does not interact or interfere with medications. Acupuncture compliments other modalities like chiropractic, massage, personal training, osteopathy, western medicine, counseling, etc.Top of Page
> Do I need to be sick or have something wrong to receive acupuncture?
No. Acupuncture is also used as preventive care to boost your immunity and for general relaxation.Top of Page
> How do I prepare for my acupuncture treatment?
Wear comfortable clothing and plan sufficient time so as not to feel rushed. Eat a meal or snack prior to your appointment. Also limit caffeine, as this can cause increased sensitivity to the needles. Drink plenty of water after your appointment.Top of Page
> How much time do I plan for each appointment?
A new patient appointment lasts between one hour and fifteen minutes to two hours, depending on the condition being treated. If there is a single area of pain or acute condition, a new patient appointment will be shorter. The longer new patient appointments (two hours) entail an extensive intake, an explanation of Chinese medical diagnosis, suggestions of simple practices that can be done at home to support your system, and concludes with an acupuncture treatment. For follow-up treatments in the clinic, patients should plan an hour for each visit, which includes a brief update and treatment.Top of Page
> How frequently will I need treatments?
Acupuncture is not a quick fix, as each treatment builds on the next for a cumulative affect. At Good Health Acupuncture, we typically treat a new patient once or twice a week for six visits (twice a week is usually for more acute/flared conditions). If after six visits the patient has not experienced any improvement, acupuncture is likely not the correct treatment at the moment, and the patient will be referred to another practitioner. If the patient improves before six visits, treatment may be discontinued.
Many patients continue with acupuncture for maintenance or preventive care treatments. Every patient is unique and we work together to determine the ideal individualized course of action. We work with each patient to determine what best suits their needs. A patient’s progress is discussed at each appointment to customize their treatment plan.Top of Page
> When will I see improvements?
Each individual is unique. Improvements may be experienced immediately following the first treatment, or it may take up to three treatments to notice changes. Symptom relief may be noticed one to three days following the acupuncture treatment. Because acupuncture provides a cumulative affect, improvements are expected to last longer with each treatment.Top of Page
> Is acupuncture covered by insurance?
Some insurance companies do cover acupuncture so it is important for each patient to check with their insurer to determine coverage. In our experience, Flexible Spending Account plans cover acupuncture appointments. At this time, Medicare does not cover acupuncture.
At Good Health Acupuncture, patients are asked to pay at time of service, and when requested, we will provide an invoice for the patient to submit to their insurance.Top of Page