Frequently Asked Questions
1) How does acupuncture work?
The standard response is to say that our bodies have what are called meridians, and they can be thought of like arteries or veins of the body. Instead of carrying blood, meridians carry a signal to awaken the flow of bio-electrical energy through the body. The Chinese call this “Qi”, the Japanese call it “Ki”, the Indians call it “Prana”, but when you really look at this Life Force you will begin to see miraculous things indeed. Many articles have been written about acupuncture, some mystical and some scientific, and as we study this flow of Life Force and Qi through our bodies we begin to realize how important it truly is. Science is now discovering that acupuncture points and meridians could potentially be carrying a signal to the body associated with DNA.
2) Is it painful?
Many people have had an experience with being needled as children, usually it was a blood draw, a biopsy, or a shot that caused them trauma and pain. This is understandable, I myself had the same experiences as a child and wanted nothing to do with doctors. Acupuncture is very different and nothing to be afraid of. The needle sensations of an experienced practitioner can be likened to static electricity, pressure, bubbles under the skin, or moving heat. Inexperienced acupuncturists with poor point location can create sharp stabbing sensations, and burning sensations with poor needle technique. This is truly sad, because the experience of acupuncture should strive to limit this as much as possible. Sometimes the arrival of Qi can cause an electrical feeling under the skin, or a muscle with spasm open from the high degree of stagnation in the meridian. In these circumstances, the initial shock disappears very fast and healing energy flows through the point to fix something that was blocked. I don’t try to illicit this response in my patients, I prefer a more shallow depth of insertion or non-insertive needle techniques that provide the patient with an energy sensation instead of a physical shock.
3) Will insurance cover acupuncture?
I don’t honestly know, but in my experience of billing insurance I find it better to give my patients a receipt for my services. The insurance carriers have not been very forthcoming with me regarding how to fill out forms, which ICD-9 codes to use, or when payment will be made. I have ended up spending too much valuable time waiting on the phone trying to get answers, only to be given the run-around. I no longer wish to participate in this game of frustration. I prefer to see the patient be reimbursed. Furthermore, over the years of my career I have witnessed much dishonesty in the game of insurance billing on the part of other medical professions. The temptation to over-bill on the part of other practitioners and the stories I have heard about being paid hundreds of dollars for billing hours that were less than honest made me ashamed. I choose to not participate in the insurance billing game at this time.
4) How long is an appointment?
Treatments can be finished in 45 minutes, but I suggest that you budget 1 hour of your time to be spent with me. I always treat both sides of the body in my appointments. I do not needle patients and leave the room to treat multiple people. I budget one hour for each patient I see.