Acupuncturist Arlene Myers answers some of the more commonly asked questions:
Does it hurt?
In my experience people's sensitivity to needles varies. It's not a painful procedure but some people feel needles more than other people, and sometimes people feel the sensation of some needles and not others. Rest assured it is a comfortable and relaxing experience. Most people fall into a gentle sleep during the treatment.
How long is a treatment?
At the initial visit I spend a good amount of time with the person in order to do a full assessment. The patient's presenting concerns and symptoms as well as the health history are explored. Other questions such as sleep habits, body temperature, digestive function and energy levels are discussed. Chinese medicine pulse and tongue diagnosis are another part of the picture that help determine the specific imbalances in the patient that contribute to the presenting problems. Many people comment that the initial visit is one of the most extensive exams they have ever had. After making a determination about the energetics of the person, a full treatment is done. Plan to spend about 2 hours for the first visit. Follow-up treatments are about 1 hour.
How many visits do I need?
Because Chinese medicine treats such a wide variety of conditions, length of the treatment plan varies. For chronic conditions a course of treatment is necessary. The treatments work best in a series, each building on the last. For many people weekly visits for the first 4-6 weeks see significant change in the presenting problem. Treatments are then spaced farther apart. Many conditions will be resolved over time and some may require a maintenance schedule.
Can I combine other therapies with my acupuncture treatments?
Absolutely! Acupuncture often enhances the work that you're doing with other therapies and I often recommend other therapies in conjunction with the acupuncture so that people can develop more skills for themselves. For example, if you are being treated for back pain it may be important to get into an exercise and stretching program to maintain good posture and body mechanics to keep the back pain away. Chiropractic treatments are often enhanced by acupuncture. Many chiropractors have an easier time adjusting and the adjustments may hold better. Physical therapy programs also interface well with acupuncture. It is important to continue taking prescription medications when you first begin having acupuncture. Often people find that they are feeling so much better from their acupuncture treatments they may go back to their doctor to have their medications adjusted.
Will my insurance pay for it?
Acupuncture and Associated Therapies does not handle insurance claims and is not a part of any discount groups. Some insurance will reimburse for treatments. Auto insurance will reimburse for care after an accident. Worker's Compensation must be approved before treatment, but payment must be made at the time of service. Medicare does not cover acupuncture. Call your individual insurance company to ask how you may be reimbursed for your treatments.
Why do you prescribe Chinese herbs?
For some conditions Chinese herbs greatly enhance the effects of an acupuncture treatment. We have an herbal pharmacy on the premises. All of the herbs that are recommended are individually prescribed-they are not things you can buy in the health food store. The herbs we prescribe are made using the highest grade of manufacturing standards. They are usually American-made Chinese herbs in pill form. They are convenient and are low cost, compared to pharmaceuticals. I typically use acupuncture first and add herbal formulas later to work on deeper imbalances over time. There are also very effective formulas that help with acute illness such as prevention of colds and flu or easing the effects from an injury. There are standard formulas that can enhance any home medicine cabinet.
Is it safe? Absolutely!
Acupuncture is a very safe medical procedure when administered by a licensed practitioner. It is well known for its lack of side effects. At Acupuncture and Associated Therapies only disposable needles are used. All needles are new, sterile, and very safe. Our office operates under the same OHSA standards as any doctor's office.
How can I consult with the acupuncturist about my condition before to ask if the treatments may help me?
At Acupuncture and Associated Therapies we are happy to offer free, no obligation phone conferences with people wanting more information. We feel it is important for each person to feel comfortable beginning treatment and to have some idea of what to expect ahead of time. Please call the office at 508-539-0299 and request a phone conference. One of us will call you back when we have some time to talk. Thank you for your interest!