Frequently Asked Questions
Does Acupuncture Hurt? Is it Safe?
Acupuncture consists of the gentle insertion and stimulation of hair-thin, disposable, sterile needles at specific acupuncture points throughout the body. The needles are never reused, and the area to be needled is first sterilized with alcohol before insertion, to ensure there is no risk of infection. Once gently inserted, the needles may cause a feeling of warmth, heaviness or an ache that indicates energy is moving through the body and responding to the needle. Most people find acupuncture to be a pleasant experience, and often fall asleep or at least enter into a state of deep relaxation during treatment.
What Can I expect from my first visit?
Your first treatment and consultation will be longer than subsequent sessions, lasting approximately 1 1/2 hours. The practitioner will need to thoroughly inquire about your health history and current state of health in order to assess any underlying pattern(s) of disharmony that is causing your dis-ease manifestation. You will be asked about your current symptoms, medical history, your diet and exercise habits, digestive health, sleeping patterns, and emotional state. Also, the practitioner will perform pulse diagnosis on both wrists and look at your tongue, to help clarify the internal pattern of disharmony. This thorough questioning and pulse/tongue diagnosis will allow the practitioner a clear picture of your constitutional type and underlying pathology. Your treatment protocol will most likely consist of acupuncture, a customized herbal formula, Qi Gong exercises, and Chinese medicine dietary/lifestyle recommendations.
Loose and comfortable clothing is recommended, as your acupuncturist may need to needle points on your torso, limbs, or back. No skinny jeans please! There are over 365 acupoints on the body, and the acupuncturist may needle anywhere from 10-20 of these for treatment, depending on the condition. You may also receive other chinese medicine modalities such as moxa, gua sha, tui na medical massage, and cupping.
Is there anything I should know/do to prepare for my treatment?
- Acupuncture is suitable for almost everyone, including infants, children and the elderly.
- You should not receive acupuncture on an empty stomach, when intoxicated, or if unusually weak and debilitated.
- Don’t scrape or brush the coating off your tongue for a few days beforehand.
- Avoid eating or drinking things that could change the color of your tongue (coffee, juice, berries, gum) for a couple of hours before your session.
- Wear loose-fitting, comfortable clothes.
- Bring a list of the current medications and supplements you are taking.
- Come 15 minutes early to complete your patient information and health history forms.
What Types of Needles are used?
Acupuncture needles are much different than the thick hypodermic needle used to give injections. The needles are hair-thin, solid, pre-sterilized, single-use, and disposable, ensuring that there is no contamination or transmission of disease possible. They are usually painless upon insertion, however you may feel a slight prick. Also, once the needle is inserted, you may feel “De Qi” characterized as a heavy, dull-aching sensation that indicates the bodies Qi is responding to the needle.
How Many Treatments will I need?
The number of treatments depends upon the severity and duration of disease, your constitutional strength, and your own health goals. For acute symptoms, one or two treatments may be a sufficient amount. However, chronic injury or illness may take 5-10 or even more treatments before significant results are seen. Often, when a patient is compliant with herbal therapy and dietary/lifestyle recommendations, results are seen faster. Many people choose to continue weekly/monthly checkups ever after the initial complaint has been resolved, in order to keep their body functioning in a state of optimal health.
Can Children be treated with Acupuncture?
Yes! And very effectively too. Children as young as one month old can be treated with a non-needle, gentle technique called Shonishin. This Japanese method of treatment originated several hundred years ago in Southwest Japan, and consists of light tapping or rubbing along the acupuncture meridians with special tools. Shonishin is especially effective for children, as they are very sensitive and have lots of energy, which easily arises to the surface of their body. Shonishin is able to gently balance a child’s energy patterns and can restore their natural state of health without needles, and upon the principle that “less is more.”
At Enso, we also use Blue Poppy Chinese Herbal Tinctures for children. These herbal tinctures are sweet in taste, are specifically designed for babies and children, and are very effective for many common childhood disorders.
Some common childhood conditions that are treated with Shonishin and Herbal Tinctures include: ear infections, eczema, digestive disorders, bedwetting, asthma, insomnia, hyperactivity disorder, emotional disharmony, seizures, teething, and cold/flu symptoms.
Will my Insurance reimburse me for treatments?
Many insurance companies now cover the cost of acupuncture treatments. It is best to check with your insurance company before coming to visit, if you require reimbursement. Although we do not bill them directly, we are happy to give you a super-bill and receipt with the correct ICD-9 codes, which you can then send to your insurance company for reimbursement.