Common Questions About Acupuncture
Common Questions About
When you’re new to acupuncture, you have a lot of questions. Here are some of the most common questions we encounter and answers to help guide you on your path of healing that includes acupuncture.
Does acupuncture hurt?
This is probably the most common question asked by people new to acupuncture. Because the needles used in acupuncture are as thin as hairs, discomfort is minimal. The sensations you’ll feel are often more like tingling, radiating warmth, numbness, or heaviness rather than pain. Many first-time acupuncture patients are surprised at how relaxing and comfortable their treatment turns out to be. Some even fall asleep!
How does acupuncture work?
From the Eastern view, acupuncture is all about managing qi (pronounced “chee”), the energetic life force within your body. Qi flows through the body in twelve main lines, or meridians. When the qi flows properly, there is health and well-being. When the qi is blocked through improper lifestyle choices, inherited problems, toxins, or other stressors, pain and illness result. By stimulating the acupuncture points along these meridians, proper qi flow can be restored, allowing the body to heal itself.
From the Western view, acupuncture points are located where intermuscular fascia come together, resulting in lower electrical resistance. This allows electromagnetic signals to travel more efficiently when those points are stimulated. These factors, among others, are believed to increase natural painkillers. Western medicine recognizes the benefits that can be enjoyed through acupuncture, particularly when it comes to pain management. Studies continue to be done on acupuncture to help explain when and how it works.
Is acupuncture safe?
Properly performed acupuncture done by a licensed professional is extremely safe. Many people choose acupuncture because of the lack of unpleasant side effects that are found with some other types of treatment, such as prescription painkillers. Even during pregnancy, acupuncture is very safe and can provide relief for a wide range of physical, emotional and mental complaints. (If you are or could be pregnant, be certain to tell your acupuncturist as there are certain acupuncture and pressure points they will want to avoid.)
How do I prepare for an acupuncture treatment?
Try to avoid large meals or running on an empty stomach as you arrive for your acupuncture appointment. Either of these states could contribute to discomfort or light-headedness as you lay on the treatment table. You might have a light meal a few hours beforehand to avoid being too hungry or too full. After your treatment, there is no need for recovery time. You can go about your daily activities without interruption. However, due to the blissful feelings often reported after an acupuncture treatment, you may want to give yourself some time to relax, the same as you would after having a massage. You’ll want to treat yourself well after your session, drinking plenty of water and eating a nourishing meal.
What will my first treatment be like?
Your first acupuncture session at Refuge Acupuncture will include a comprehensive medical history and lifestyle analysis. We treat you as a whole person, not a sum of your symptoms, and there are seemingly unrelated lifestyle or medical factors that could be playing a role in your health issues. Your acupuncturist will ask many questions to ensure they have a solid grasp of your unique situation before proceeding with treatment. They may also observe your tongue and take your pulse. Additional treatments that are included with your acupuncture session such as moxibustion, cupping, or Gua Sha massage may also be performed as needed.
How many treatments will I need?
Your treatment plan, including how many sessions and how often you have them, is unique to each person. Your acupuncturist will review your situation and make recommendations on length and timing. While you may experience benefits right away after your first session, most conditions take at least several treatments to resolve. For on-going, chronic conditions, long-term treatment plans may be necessary. In general, due to the cumulative effects of acupuncture, more frequent visits will be needed early on, with sessions needed less often as treatment progresses.
Does insurance cover acupuncture?
Insurance often covers acupuncture treatments for health-related care. Your coverage and out-of-pocket costs will vary based on your plan. If you’re concerned about coverage, you’ll want to discuss it with your insurance provider prior to scheduling treatment. Refuge is happy to provide a masterbill for you to submit to your insurance company.
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