Acupuncture FAQ

by Tom Cohen, LAc, LMBT, ADS

 

1. Needles?  I hate needles!  Will they hurt?  Are they safe?

Acupuncture needles are ALL single use, sterile, and safe.  Most are smaller in diameter (gauge) than an insulin syringe.  Many are coated in silica to make insertion painless.   You may feel a small pinch, since the needle goes through the skin and past the nerve endings.

Needles are NOT inserted into nerves or any structure that would cause pain.

2. Is my acupuncturist trained?

Your Acupuncturist is Licensed in North Carolina, which requires graduation from a 3-4 year program, typically around 3,000 training hours, passing of 4 National Board examinations

3. Acupuncture is just for relaxation, right?

While Acupuncture can help relax you, it is also good for:  Allergies, asthma, digestive issues, neurological conditions, men’s and women’s health issues, sinusitis, and many more conditions.

4. Do I need to do acupuncture forever?

No.  Acupuncture is functional medicine.  It works with your existing treatment to support your Immune system or any other functional imbalance to improve the result and duration.  As you get better, and your body becomes more functionally balanced, you come less and less.  The idea is to find your “least maintenance interval.”  In other words, how long can you comfortably go in between treatments and still achieve your health goals.

5. Does Insurance cover acupuncture?

Some insurance companies will cover acupuncture.  But it is best to check with a benefits specialist to answer your individual questions.

6. Can Acupuncture limit my need for certain medications?

Possibly.  But any and all medication questions are answered by your doctor.

Your acupuncturist will work to get you well enough to have that conversation with your doctor if that is one of your healthcare goals.

7. I’m skeptical.  Isn’t acupuncture just a placebo effect?

In part (a small part) almost certainly.   Modern science still hasn’t been able to effectively measure all of the ways that acupuncture impacts the human body.   But it has confirmed the existence of acupuncture points and channels, and a dopamine response (relaxing and pain relieving) to treatment.  But if it’s all placebo and relaxation, why does it work on dogs and horses?   Does a dog or horse have a “belief system?”  And why do pain management treatments sometimes last for months?  Lastly, Acupuncture even works with paralysis from stroke.

So, although Western science hasn’t figured out exactly how it works, there is no denying that it does work.

8. I’m still skeptical.   Where are the double blind studies proving effectiveness for all of the conditions suggested?

There are a myriad of studies, including citations with the World Health Organization (WHO) listing conditions that acupuncture treats.

However – please understand this:

  1. Acupuncture treats the process, not the disease.  This is called etiology.
  2. The treatment strategy and Acupuncture points chosen are specific to the individual and the etiology – NOT just the diagnosis.
  3. Results vary.  We do not all learn at the same pace.  We do not all respond to a medication at the same pace.  Your Acupuncturist will help you to track your symptom progress to see whether or not treatment results are meeting reasonable expectations.

9. Acupuncture is just a technique, right?

Acupuncture is just one part of Chinese Medicine, as a whole.  Chinese medicine looks at the body systems in a healthy state, and adjusts the systems when they are under (hypo) or over (hyper) active.

There are times when one body system adversely effects the functioning of another.  We call this a functional imbalance.

Acupuncture works to “re-train” the body to react in the most natural, healthy way possible for each individual.  Your body already knows what to do to promote health.  Sometimes we simply need help to “relearn” this.