Why would I want to have an acupuncture treatment?Here are a few responses to a question that may have hundreds of answers...
As acupuncture is part of a whole and logical medical system, there is almost always an approach for an acupuncturist to take for helping to manage a health problem - or even better, help you to remain pain and illness free.
In 1979, the World Health Organization published a short list of conditions seen as appropriate for treatment with acupuncture. This is not a complete list of conditions appropriate for treatment, but just some examples.
The list includes:
How much does an acupuncture treatment hurt?
Not really much at all. However, getting an acupuncture treatment isn't always painless. More than anything a treatment should be a deeply relaxing and sleepy slice of time for you.
Here's what we'd like our patients to know: You may feel a bit of a pinch when the needles are tapped in, but this should ease right away. If you continue to feel a pinching or a burning sensation at the needle site any longer than this, let us know. It means we haven't placed that needle real well. If on the other hand you are feeling a slight ache or heavy feeling near the needle, this is usually a good sign – a clue that the body is reacting in a productive way.
The bottom line is that as long as the feelings around the needled areas don't keep you from closing your eyes and napping for a little while, we say let them be.
For more information about what acupuncture can feel like, click here.
What's the difference between a visit to a typical acupuncture practice and a community acupuncture practice?
Most acupuncture treatments in the United States take place on a table in a room by oneself. This is not traditional in Asia, where acupuncture usually occurs in a community setting. We all know the value of 'power in numbers', right? Would you prefer to eat in an empty restaurant, or one that is full of people and bustling? Or how about an empty movie theater? Us too!
A healthy group setting creates a dynamic that can be used for all of our benefit in an acupuncture clinic. Receiving treatment in a community setting has other tangible benefits, as well: it's easier for friends and family members to come in for treatment together and many patients find it a relief to not be isolated during their treatment.
Our Community acupuncture clinics also use recliners rather than treatment tables, which many patients find more relaxing.
In addition, the community setting gives patients some flexibility in deciding how long the needles remain in, since the 'right' amount of time can vary from person to person, visit to visit. This can take anywhere from twenty minutes to one hour. If you want to be finished at a specific time, ask your acupuncturist. We'll make sure you are out on time!
Since we treat in an open space clinic, we ask that any speaking be done in a low tone of voice or whisper. Nevertheless, the community setting requires flexibility and an understanding that a certain amount of noise is inevitable. Feel free to use earplugs or an iPod, bring your favorite pillow and blanket and do whatever you need to make yourself as comfortable as possible!
Lastly, our clinic employs a sliding scale fee schedule to help make acupuncture available to the whole community.
What happens during an initial visit?
You'll need to fill out forms which can take a few minutes to finish, so please come 15 minutes early to complete them. Or, you can download these forms and have them filled out as best you can for your visit ahead of time. This helps support us, since it reduces the amount of paper shuffling on our end. The forms are in PDF format.
There is a $10 one-time consultation fee due at your first visit.
After paperwork is done, you'll then consult with your acupuncturist to discuss your health concern(s) after which time a treatment plan will be recommended for you. Your acupuncture treatment comes next.
Please wear loose, comfortable clothing. You'll just have to roll your sleeves and pant legs up, in order to get ready for your treatment, as we use styles of acupuncture which allows us to select points primarily on the arms and legs. We will also ask you to remove your socks and shoes.
From here on out, your job is to kick back and enjoy a good rest.
A typical treatment will last from 30 minutes to 60 minutes, depending on how long you'd like to stay.
What happens during a typical follow-up treatment?
After paying for the visit and scheduling future visits (if needed) our patients will bring themselves into the treatment room on their own and make themselves comfortable in a recliner of their choice. After a brief conversation in whispers between patient and practitioner, pulses are taken, and we look at your tongue. Depending on a variety of factors, a specific point prescription is selected. Typically after this time people feel very sleepy and will nap or rest for a while.
How does it work/what is it really doing?
This is the million dollar question. The answer is - there is most likely no one answer. Whether seen as a result of particular chemical/hormonal processes, movement of bio-electricity, vascular excitement, regulation of the central nervous system, connective tissue communication, 'placebo' effect, positive thinking or the manifestation of qi (energy), acupuncture works.
Should I do anything differently before my treatment?
Before your treatment, make sure you have eaten a meal recently. Do not drink alcohol or caffeine prior to treatment. Do not rush into your treatment in a frenzy. Avoid perfumes and scented deodorants that day if possible (as a courtesy to others).
What can I expect after a treatment?
In general, you can expect to feel relaxed for several hours following an acupuncture treatment. You may feel sleepy, or you make have more energy than when you came in. Some people get immediate relief (in varying degrees) while others find their symptoms recede gradually over a few days or more. Everyone responds to acupuncture differently.
Remember that acupuncture is a process and not a quick fix. It takes time to undo the problems that arise in the body over time. Try to adhere to your acupuncturist’s recommendations for future treatment. Reactions specific to particular injuries or health concerns should be addressed by the acupuncturist on an individual basis.
Click here to read about six indications that acupuncture is taking effect and your treatments are working—even if your primary symptoms have not yet resolved. When these signs appear, symptom relief typically is not far behind.
For information on how to take care of yourself after an acupuncture treatment, click here.
For information about infrequent but possible side effects of acupuncture, please click here.
None are life-threatening and all typically are fleeting. Still, they are good to be aware of so that if you do experience them, you know they're normal and nothing to be too concerned about!
How many treatments will I need?
For acupuncture to have lasting results, you need to have it frequently enough to result in progressive improvement. One or two sessions will feel good due to acupuncture's relaxing effect, but will not usually resolve a health problem. Once a week is the minimum to make real progress. Twice a week can jump-start the healing response and shorten your treatment cycle. (read more...)
Here are some guidelines that apply to most conditions:
In an acute situation, such as an injury, or seasonal allergies, you will get the best results from several visits a week until you feel better.
With chronic conditions like migraines or insomnia, acupuncture is best done on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, depending on your level of distress, for a bout 6-8 weeks. At that point you can re-assess your needs with your acupuncturist. Very chronic conditions may need several cycles of treatments.
If you are seeking relief from stress related to your job or life-situation, acupuncture can enable you to cope better by helping you to relax and strengthen your immune system. During these times, you should come in as often as you need to alleviate the symptoms. (read more...)
What forms of payment do you accept?
We currently accept cash or check.
We do not accept insurance coverage, but would be happy to offer a receipt for your visit so you may submit it directly.
Do keep in mind the cost of an acupuncture treatment here at RCA can be substantially less than a discounted rate on a typically-priced acupuncture visit - or even a typical insurance co-pay.
Can I receive acupuncture if I am pregnant?
Acupuncture treatments for pregnancy and postpartum recovery are often recommended by midwives and thus, are becoming increasingly popular. Acupuncture can be used in a variety of ways to promote fetal and maternal health and to help alleviate common problems, such as:
- Muscular-skeletal pain
- Anxiety and depression
- Breech and posterior babies
Starting at week 36 or 37, a treatment protocol can be initiated to prepare the pelvis and cervix for childbirth. Acupuncture can provide gentle inducement if the baby is overdue and can be an effective alternative to medical induction. Treatments start at once per week and increase to two or more times per week after the due date (read more...)
To learn more about acupuncture and pregnancy and to download a booklet on using acupressure for pain relief during labor click here.
Can acupuncture help me quit smoking?
Acupuncture is an effective treatment that has helped many people to overcome addiction, in general.
While acupuncture is not a quick fix, meaning it will not make you quit smoking, it can help minimize cravings and help take the edge off of withdrawal. Because of its proven effectiveness, the National Acupuncture Detox Association (NADA) has developed a simple acupuncture protocol to assist in the detoxification from addiction, including quitting smoking. This protocol is widely used in detox clinics and withdrawal management centers. (read more...)
Acupuncture is a useful tool, but it is only useful to the extent you use it. For smoking cessation, frequent treatments are recommended, usually three or more times per week for at least 3 weeks. It is important to be committed to quitting smoking when you start your smoking cessation program, as this will increase your chances of success.
Contact us to learn about our "unlimited weekly pass" special to help you quit smoking! (read more...)
Note: If you have more questions about acupuncture please click here.