What Is Acupuncture?

What Is Acupuncture?Acupuncture has been practiced in Asia for thousands of years as part of a comprehensive system of medicine. It is safe, effective, and an increasingly clinically proven medical treatment for many diseases and health problems. It also is a preventative treatment that works to balance the body allowing the body to self-regulate. Hence it is a non-dependent medical treatment which means you do not need to continue when your symptoms go away.

Acupuncture can be effective at treating a wide range of concerns, including acute and chronic pain and illness, and emotional, physical, and energetic imbalances. It can also help you stay well by strengthening the immune system to prevent disease. Traditionally, Acupuncture was also used to harmonize the body during seasonal and life transitions, as an “Acupuncture tune-up for your body to run smoothly.”

Simply stated, Acupuncture is a holistic approach to the body in which health is regained and maintained by bringing the body into balance. Practitioners of Asian medicine view the body as a network of pathways, called channels, which connect with the body’s organs and other systems.

US trained Acupuncturists are required to have a pre-medicine background and a Bachelor’s degree before embarking on a four years master’s course of studies in Asian & Western medicine at an accredited Acupuncture School. Each state has different acupuncture regulations. In Massachusetts the Board of Registration of Medicine issues and monitors all Acupuncture licenses that are renewed every two years and require Continuing Education Hours.

What To Expect

What to expect with AcupunctureThe Practitioner begins by taking a detailed past medical history and listing of current symptoms, as well as, examining the client’s pulse, tongue and abdomen. When the assessment is complete a diagnosis is determined, a treatment plan is established and discussed with the client. The practitioner then inserts hair-thin, sterile disposable needles at specific points along the channels. In addition to feeling relief from the treatment people will often feel more relaxed as an added bonus.

Initial sessions generally take 1 to 1 1/2 hours due to the History and Assessment process.

Follow-up treatments last approximately 1 hour.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does it hurt?

Unlike the needles we are used to at Western medical offices which are hollow and thick, acupuncture needles are extremely fine and solid. In acupuncture we are not putting or taking anything out of your body. Hence the sensation from acupuncture needles is very different. Most patients do not feel anything and even remark, ‘did you already put the needle in?’. Some say they feel a slight sensation, like a mosquito bite. Every person’s sensitivity level is different and can even change from treatment to treatment depending on what is happening in their bodies. Japanese acupuncture techniques are very gentle, using very small gauge needles that are shallowly (millimeters) inserted in the skin. Japanese Acupuncture seems well suited to the USA as most do not want to experience the needles and often have sensitive nervous systems. Generally Chinese acupuncture utilizes thicker gauge needles and deeper insertion, it can but doesn’t always employ stronger needle stimulation. Both Japanese & Chinese acupuncture styles produce positive health results. At Acupuncture Family Care, we blend Japanese & Chinese acupuncture styles based on the patient’s presentation & constitution and what will be most beneficial for the patient’s healing process and health.

Does insurance cover acupuncture?

People frequently ask acupuncture offices if they accept insurance. Unfortunately, the question is usually the reverse ‘whether an insurance company covers acupuncture treatments’. Some insurance companies do cover acupuncture treatments, either a set amount in a year, or a percentage. Other companies say they cover acupuncture but require the acupuncturist to be on their preferred list. If the acupuncturist is on the preferred practitioner list they offer a discount to patients with that particular health insurance. We recommend people to check with their insurance company directly as every policy differs in their coverage of services. Payment is required at the time of service but receipts for potential insurance reimbursement and also for flex spending accounts will be given upon request. In the case of injuries due to auto accidents, auto insurance will generally cover a certain amount of treatment. Please inquire with your insurance company about your specific policy’s coverage.