Phone Number: (253) 840-3300

Acupuncture Q & A

1. What is Acupuncture?

2. What are points and meridians?

3. How did Acupuncture come to The United States?

4. What conditions can be treated with Acupuncture?

5. Is Acupuncture safe?

6. Is Acupuncture painful?

7. How does Acucpuncture work?

8. Is Acupuncture covered by insurance?

9. Do I have to believe in Acupuncture for it to work?

10. How should I prepare for an Acupuncture appointment?

11. What should I expect from an Acupuncture appointment?

12. How will I feel after Acupuncture?

13. How many treatments will I need?

14. Can my acupuncturist prescribe Chinese Herbs for me?

1.What is Acupuncture? Acupuncture is an important element of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), which has been practiced in China for more than 3,000 years and is still commonly used worldwide. This therapeutic method treats diseases and promotes the natural healing ability of the body by gentle insertion of hair-size, refined acupuncture needles at certain points along the acupuncture meridians in the body.

2. What are points and meridians? Based on TCM theory, energy (known as Qi) travels through meridians in the body like rivers. It runs and nourishes the tissues and organs. Disease occurs when the circulation of Qi is halted, whether by injury, heat, cold or other influences. Ancient Chinese physicians discovered that stimulation of certain points along the meridians by acupuncture needles can redirect the flow of Qi and help cure diseases, prevent illnesses, and restore harmony. There are more than 300 acupuncture points that are commonly used.

3. How did Acupuncture come to The United States? Acupuncture arrived in the U.S. in the early 19th century with Chinese immigrants. It remained unpopular, however, until 1971, when James Reston, a reporter for the New York Times, accompanied President Nixon on a trip to China. There, he witnessed an appendectomy surgery using acupuncture anesthesia. According to the 2002 National Health Interview Survey, the largest and most comprehensive survey of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM), an estimation of 8.2 million U.S. adults had used acupuncture and an estimation of 2.1 million U.S. adults used acupuncture in the previous year.

4. What conditions can be treated with Acupuncture? The World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes the use of acupuncture in the treatment of a wide range of common illnesses including:

  • Digestive: Abdominal pain, Constipation, Diarrhea, Hyperacidity, Indigestion
  • Emotional: Anxiety, Depression, Insomnia, Nervousness, Neurosis
  • Eye-Ear-Nose-Throat: Poor vision, Tinnitis, Toothache, TMJ, Sinusitis
  • Gynecological: Infertility, Menopause symptoms, PMS
  • Musculoskeletal: Arthritis, Muscle cramping, Muscle pain & weakness, Neck & Back pain, Fibromyalgia
  • Neurological: Headaches, Migraines, Parkinson’s disease, Postoperative pain, Sciatica pain, Stroke
  • Respiratory: Asthma, Bronchitis, Common cold, Smoking cessation
  • Others: Addiction, Chronic fatigue, Immune system problems, Pain control

5. Is Acupuncture safe? Acupuncture administered by a qualified professional is extremely safe. Drugs and surgery can cause negative side effects and can also be quite expensive. Acupuncture is a cost-effective alternative treatment that has proven itself effective and safe over the course of centuries. Acupuncture needles are extremely thin, and the needles that we use are all sterile and disposable for one-time use only.

6. Is Acupuncture painful? All needles are very fine and flexible. You may experience a sense of heaviness, numbness, or electric stimulation along the acupuncture channels. Most patients find the treatments very relaxing. Some individuals may feel slight pain and discomfort.

7. How does Acupuncture work? Although modern medicine cannot yet completely explain how acupuncture works, more and more research is being conducted that confirms the effectiveness of acupuncture therapy. The stimulation of the acupuncture points on the body can cause the following:

  • neuro-chemical and hormonal changes
  • muscular, vascular and skin changes by increasing circulation
  • decrease in inflammation & relief from pain
  • relief of muscle spasms
  • increase in T-cell count to stimulate the immune system

8. Is Acupuncture covered by insurance? In Washington State, most health insurance plans offer acupuncture benefits. You can find out the details of your coverage for acupuncture treatment by checking your insurance benefit booklet or calling a member service representative. Acupuncture is also covered by automobile personal injury insurance (PIP). Our clinics at all three locations can accept most insurances.

9. Do I have to believe in Acupuncture for it to work? Acupuncture has been found to work very well for horses, dogs, oxen, and cats, most of who probably don’t “believe” in acupuncture. It is always beneficial to have confidence in your practitioners, but faith in a particular technique is not required to obtain results.

10.How should I prepare for an Acupuncture appointment? You should not eat a large meal, nor should you be fasting before your appointments. You should also not have alcohol, tobacco, or do any vigorous exercise prior to a treatment. Comfortable, loose clothing, and minimial make up are recommended. Please avoid the use of perfumes, colognes, or strongly scented cosmetics out of courtesy for other patients.

11.What should I expect for an Acupuncture appointment? For the initial visit, you will be asked to fill out a personal information and health history intake form. Your practitioner will discuss your health condition with you. Besides your complaints, the conversation may also involve your life-style, dietary habits, sleeping patterns, emotional status, and etc. Then, your practitioner will examine you using TCM diagnostic techniques, like pulse taking and tongue readings. Some western physical examination methods may also be used . Acupuncture treatments are usually given following the examination on the same day. Patients will be asked to stay and relax for 40- 60 minutes during the treatment, depending on the patient’s condition.

12. How will I feel after Acupuncture? Patients will usually feel relaxed and calm. Occasionally, you may feel a little tired, drowsy, or light headed for a short period of time. Some patients may experience a slight increase in symptoms before improvements begin. You should have a rest, drink plenty of water, and avoid vigorous exercise after your acupuncture treatments.

13. How many treatments will I need? The length, number, and frequency of treatments will vary from person to person depending on the condition being treated, age, overall health condition, and one’s respond to acupuncture. Generally, acute problems require more frequent treatments, but for a shorter period of time, whereas chronic conditions will need a series of treatments for a longer period.

14. Can my acupuncturist prescribe Chinese herbs for me? Although Washington State includes the prescription of Chinese herbs in its licensed acupuncturists’ scope of practice, it does not require training in Chinese herbology for someone to be licensed as an acupuncturist. Some acupuncture programs do not require their graduates to complete advanced courses in Chinese herbology. Thus, prospective patients interested in Chinese herbal therapy should inquire whether the practitioner has graduated from a Chinese medicine program that includes instructions in Chinese herbology. Another question to ask your acupuncturist is whether he or she has the knowledge of selecting specific herbs to formulate their own formulas for a patient’s individual conditions. In general, inexperienced herbalists will prescribe manufactured formulas, which are usually in pill form only.

If you are interested in finding out more about your symptoms and what acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine can do for you, contact us today.