FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHY SHOULD I TRY ACUPUNCTURE?
Why not? I like to say that those who don’t think they need acupuncture haven’t tried it yet. It’s safe & non-invasive. It works to heal the root of the problem, not mask the symptoms. It’s super relaxing and a really good excuse to take a nap.
WHAT MAKES CLEAR CREEK COUNTY ACUPUNCTURE & HOLISTIC HEALTH DIFFERENT?
I believe in educating my patients to live their best life through honest conversations about lifestyle, nutrition, and exercise choices. It's my opinion that your body has almost everything it needs to heal itself, it just has to be shown how. I spend time with my patients, I listen to them, and I respect their health goals. Whether it be new techniques, interesting ways to integrate Western and Eastern Medicine or new ways to tincture herbs, I'm always learning. Most importantly, when my patients leave, they always get asked, "How are you feeling?" The answer is, Better!
WILL ACUPUNCTURE HURT?
It's not normal for a needle to cause significant discomfort, especially after insertion. If something is uncomfortable, please let me know so I can adjust it for you. Some techniques, like dry needling, can be quite intense because I am trying to elicit a muscle response. Again, this should not be intolerable for you. The sensation of Qi reaching the needle, "Da Qi"can be dull, achy, heavy, tingly, pulsing, or vibrating. This means the needle is doing the job! Occasionally, someone will get a histamine response of itchiness or redness at the insertion site, and rarely, a bruise may appear.
HOW MANY TREATMENTS WILL IT TAKE TO FEEL BETTER?
Acupuncture is cumulative - each treatment builds on the previous one. It's like how with a pharmaceutical drug you need to find the right frequency and dosage, and just taking one dose won't have the desired effect. Similarly, it will take us several treatments to make a big improvement, to get the right dosage. If your problem has been going on for a while, it may take more time to unravel it... kind of the same way it can be resolved more quickly if it is a new problem. Studies have shown the sweet spot is usually 8 - 10 regularly spaced out treatments to resolve a health concern. I usually like to see patients 3 times within 10 days when they are first starting treatment and then spread it out as we gain progress. You will be able to feel it if it's been too long if your symptoms start to come back again. Eventually, once your symptoms are gone, we will be able to spread it out until all you may need are monthly or quarterly tune-ups.
HOW CAN I TELL IF THE ACUPUNCTURE/HERBS ARE WORKING?
Everyone is a little different, but usually, people notice more subtle changes first. Maybe you sleep better for several nights in a row. Your anxiety might get "turned down" a couple of notches, or you notice that you're handling difficult situations with more ease. Usually, patients report an increase in energy and more clear thinking with regular Acupuncture treatments. If you've been experiencing pain, it might feel better for a few days. At first, you may not notice long term relief of pain, and that's normal. It takes repetition to get lasting change. For things like hormonal balancing, you may notice your period is less painful, or you felt less PMS-y. I will check in with you during your care to see if you are making improvements. It's my experience that Acupuncture should positively enhance your life, and if you've not noticed ANY improvement, I like to help you find other modalities that may suit you better.
DOES ACUPUNCTURE HELP WITH OTHER CONDITIONS?
Yes! The World Health Organization recognizes the ability of acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine to treat over 43 common disorders including:
Disorders of the Bones, Muscles, & Joints
Nervous system Disorders
Emotional and Psychological Disorders, including depression, anxiety, and addictions such as alcohol, nicotine and drugs.
Acupuncture is often effective therapy for other chronic and painful debilitating disorders which have no clear explanation or origin.
I GET DRY NEEDLING FROM MY CHIROPRACTOR/PT. WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE? CAN YOU DO DRY NEEDLING?
Ok, so this is a hotly debated subject right now and I won’t get into the politics of it. However, I like to ask people if they’d rather receive a therapy from someone with a 3-year master’s degree who is regulated by a national accreditation system OR from someone who took a weekend seminar and doesn’t need to be accredited to practice? I can absolutely dry needle you. In fact, if you come to see me for musculoskeletal pain, I probably will dry needle you. It is an effective form of pain relief, that’s why it’s become so popular for therapists to use. The main difference is this: Acupuncture is a system of healing that considers the health of the entire body and focuses on the root cause of illness. Dry needling stimulates the myofascial trigger points that cause pain. Most recorded “Acupuncture Injuries” are from an under trained person preforming dry needling. You can see my blog post if you still have unanswered questions.
CAN ACUPUNCTURE HELP WITH PAIN?
Yes! Acupuncture promotes healthy circulation of blood and energy thus resolving pain. From a biochemical perspective, acupuncture analgesia is achieved by peripheral nerve stimulation that directs the brain to release endorphins, which in turn block pain pathways in the brain. There is also a documented placebo effect, which helps alleviate pain.
The Department of Veterans Affairs, the World Health Organization, and an increasing number health insurance providers recognize acupuncture as an effective intervention for musculoskeletal pain. As a drug-free intervention with demonstrated lasting results, acupuncture is an alternative for pain management without the potentially serious side effects as prescription drugs and surgery.
WHAT IS AN ACUPUNCTURIST'S TRAINING?
The requirements to become a licensed acupuncturist include a minimum of 3 years post-graduate studies in Acupuncture at a school that is recognized by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM). Licensed acupuncturists have more than 2,000 hours of education and training, including over 1,000 hours of clinical experience including hundreds of hours of hands-on clinical training and observation hours.
IS ACUPUNCTURE SAFE FOR CHILDREN?
Kids may not like getting shots, but that doesn’t mean they won’t like acupuncture! Common pediatric complaints like earaches, bedwetting, ADHD and asthma all respond very well to AOM. Such treatments can include needling and non-needling techniques such as Tui Na massage. As a general rule, acupuncture is safe for ages seven or older. A practitioner who specializes in pediatrics may use acupuncture on children of all ages. Every child should be assessed for readiness for acupuncture on a case-by-case basis.
IS ACUPUNCTURE SAFE DURING PREGNANCY?
Yes! Licensed acupuncturists are trained to know which points are helpful for pregnant women and which ones are to be avoided. It’s important to let your acupuncturist know if you are pregnant, or if you think you might be, so that your treatment can be as safe as possible for both mother and child. Acupuncture can help with several pregnancy related conditions including morning sickness, back pain, premature cervical ripening, preeclampsia (pregnancy-induced hypertension), fatigue, heartburn, constipation, and gestational diabetes
WHAT INSURANCES DO YOU ACCEPT?
Currently, I don't accept insurance. Honestly, it is too costly for me to be able to keep up with the billing requirements insurance requires. I'd rather spend my time learning new techniques and refining my healing skills to better serve you! HOWEVER, most FSA/HSA plans will reimburse you for Acupuncture treatments! All you need to do is provide them with a receipt!
ARE HERBS SAFE?
Absolutely. Prescribed by a trained practitioner for the correct symptoms, herbs are safe. I even give them to my pets and my toddler daughter. In most cases, the application of herbs far surpasses any positive effects of acupuncture. Simply stating, herbs can do what Acupuncture cannot. A final note, not all Acupuncturists are Herbalists, so it is good practice to ask the person prescribing your herbs if they are board certified to do so.
CAN I TAKE HERBS WITH MY PHARMACEUTICAL DRUGS?
For the most part, you can take herbs with pharmaceutical drugs. HOWEVER, this is why I ask for a complete list and dosage schedule of what you are currently taking. In certain situations, I may not prescribe herbs because of the medications you are on. There are herb/drug interactions that I have been trained in. Lastly, I cannot advise you on anything relating to pharmaceutical drugs, if you have concerns, please ask your prescribing doctor.
DOES CHINESE MEDICINE USE ENDANGERED ANIMAL PRODUCTS IN THEIR FORMULAS?
In the past, in some areas of China, endangered species were used to make herbal medications. However, the use of endangered animals and their by-products has been considered archaic and un-necessary by today’s standards. Substitutions have been found and are widely used by practitioners in the US. It is illegal to get endangered animal products into the US. Besides, many modern practitioners of this medicine understand the importance of sustainably sourced, organically harvested, and ethically produced herbal products. I am one of those practitioners.