Frequently Asked Questions
What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is the practice of inserting ultra fine needles into specific points of energy that are located along 14 Meridians or Channels that cover the entire body. There are 365 classical Acupuncture points associated with the 14 Meridians and 40 'extra' points that are not associated with any particular meridians. These points and meridians, mapped out millennia ago and confirmed by consistent practice have shown that skillful insertion and manipulation of specific points will produce predictable results in the body.
Is Acupuncture Safe?
In the hands of a skilled practitioner acupuncture is very safe. As a licensed acupuncturist I have a Masters Degree and over 3500 credit hours of theoretical & clinical experience.
We use disposable, pre-sterilized needles that are thrown out after every treatment.
However, there are some things that we are trained to be aware of since needles are being inserted into the body, cautions are recommended when working around major organs or around the face. It is possible to puncture a Lung (Pneumothorax), if one is not careful. The practitioner inserts needles in this area at an angle, uses shorter needles and avoids deep penetration especially in elderly and slender clients. Needling particularly sensitive parts of the body such as the scrotum, vulva, anus, the navel, nipples, and eyeballs is strictly forbidden. As well it is forbidden to needle into scar tissue, open wounds or open sores.
Once needles are inserted, you should try to lie still and not make any large movements, especially if you have needles in your back or chest.
Does Acupuncture Hurt?
Balance Method acupuncture, generally involves some sensation. The sensation is generally short lived, and is referred to as "de qi", which is a deep pulling sensation, heaviness or tingling. On occasion a needle is felt going in but most people experience the needles as painless upon insertion.
Generally Japanese Style Acupuncture does not hurt, often times you won’t even feel the needles. People experience acupuncture sensations differently. Occasionally there may be a dull achy feeling or a pinching feeling but the sensation generally goes away within seconds.
There are even many techniques that do not involve insertion of needles if you have a fear of needles.
What Is Qi & How Does It Travel?
At the core of Eastern Medicine is the idea that Qi or vital energy flows throughout the body. Qi assists to protect the body from illness and propel energetics for balanced function. A person's health is influenced by the quantity, quality, and balance of Qi.
Qi circulates and travels through specific pathways called meridians or channels. There are 14 main meridians and each are connected to specific organs and glands. The meridian pathways are like rivers. When the river flows properly it transports nourishment to the land, plants and life around it. Qi nourishes the body in the same way, it transports life-giving nourishment to energize every cell, organ, gland, tissue and muscle.
When Qi flows freely throughout the body, we experience good health physically and emotionally. A blockage of Qi in our body is like a dam; in which, our body responds with restrictions of flow. The backing up of this flow; much like what a dam creates, hinders the distribution of vital energy of Qi and its nourishment. As your Acupuncturist, I unblock and stimulate the circulation for optimal functioning of flow of Qi to create health and balance to your body.
What Conditions Does Acupuncture Treat?
Acupuncture is recognized by leading national and international health organizations to be effective in the treatment of a variety of medical diseases and disorders. There are many diseases or disorders for which Acupuncture treatments have been tested in controlled clinical trials and reported effective in recent literature.
The World Health Organization has documented these and they are available for review on their site.
How Should I Prepare For My First Visit And What Should I Wear?
Wear or bring loose, comfortable clothing for easy access to Acupuncture points.
Do not eat a large meal before or after your visits. A light snack or meal is encouraged at least two hours before your visit.
Refrain from overexertion, a strenuous work out, drugs or alcohol for up to six hours before or after the visit.
Between visits, make notes of any changes that may have occurred, such as the alleviation of pain, pain moving to other areas or changes in the frequency and type of symptoms.
How Many Visits Do I Need?
Every body is different. If acupuncture is going to work for you, you should see some change within 4 visits. Some people get major change in 1 visit and some people may need a lifetime of support. Depending on your situation we will discuss the best treatment plan for you.
If its a chronic problem that you have been dealing with for quite some time then we will work together to get you on the path to health. This will generally require acupuncture 1-2 times a week, herbs and dietary modifications in addition to regular exercise that suits your condition.
Most people need acupuncture at least 2x/week in the beginning stages of care.
Can Kids Be Treated With Acupuncture?
Yes, there are many techniques that are used with children.
Shoni Shin- is the japanese form of acupuncture used with children. Different tools other then needles are used to stimulated the points and channels of the body.
How Do I Best Support Myself After An Acupuncture Treatment?
Following your treatment it is best to drink plenty of water. Occasionally you may feel sleepy following a treatment & if this is the case make sure to take it easy. Try not to do any heavy exercise in the few hours following treatment.
If you received any cupping or gua sha as part of your treatment then it is important to stay well covered up for the next 24-48 hours, avoid eating any heavy / greasy meals that night & to abstain from alcohol, & no swimming for 24 hours.
Should I Keep My Visit Even If I Am Sick?
Yes, Acupuncture and Chinese herbs are most effective in the initial stages of an acute condition. Colds, flus, stomach upsets, and headaches are some of the conditions that is best caught early before they get worse. Patients report immediate improvements in symptoms after an acupuncture treatment or beginning an herbal prescription. In Eastern Medicine, stages of a disease or the "Qi dynamic" are strongly considered. The initial stage is the best moment to address these issues that may become problematic to treat later.
How Much Does It Cost & Do You Accept Insurance?
Rates vary and depend on what treatment is being administered. It is best to consult your Acupuncturist about costs.
Yes! At Scarborough Family Chiropractic we do bill insurance, so give us a call and we will find out what your acupuncture benefits are. I am in network with Aetna, Anthem, Cigna, Harvard Pilgrim and United Health Care.