Acupuncture | Chinese Herbal Medicine | Therapeutic Massage | Community Clinic | N.A.E.T. | Qualifications
Does Acupuncture hurt?
Acupuncture should not hurt.
Acupuncture needles are very thin. There may be a sensation of tingling, warmth, pressure, and in some cases a traveling sensation or mild electrical feeling. With certain needle techniques you may actually feel your muscle release. These sensations are temporary. After insertion, many people have a feeling of well being wash over them. Others just feel more relaxed or fall asleep during treatment. If at any point you are uncomfortable, be sure to tell your acupuncturist.
I worry about whether the needles are clean.
At Mystic River Acupuncture we use only sterile one-use disposable needles.
Upon withdrawing the needles from your body they are immediately discarded into the same kind of bio-hazard container used in doctors’ offices. We never reuse needles.
How many treatments do I need?
Generally speaking you may need anywhere from three to ten treatments.
Some things can be taken care of in one session. Other more serious things may require several months of treatments. If you have a chronic disease or a degenerative problem you may need more acupuncture. Most often we expect some change to begin within three to five sessions.
How often should I come?
Treatments usually are given weekly in the beginning.
As your condition improves, sessions are spaced out to every two weeks or more. Occasionally treatment may be required twice in a week, especially in very severe cases of pain. With chronic or degenerative illness, people often come every 4-6 weeks for maintenance. For acute, seasonal or stress related problems, people can just come if they need to.
How does acupuncture work?
Acupuncture is the manipulation of Qi (pronounced “chee”) or energy in your body.
Qi runs in very specific, interconnected pathways, much like the network of blood vessels in our bodies. When we are ill or in pain, our Qi is either blocked or in some way dysfunctional. Acupuncture is one of the best ways to bring the body’s Qi back into balance.
Qi travels in pathways called meridians or channels. Along these channels are “acupoints”, places where the Qi is more accessible. It is here that very thin needles are placed to activate the energy along the channel’s path.
Each meridian flows into one of the body’s organs and is named after the organ through which it flows. There is a Lung meridian, a Spleen meridian, a Gallbladder meridian, and so on, one for each of our organs. This is why acupuncture can treat a variety of conditions such as common colds, gastrointestinal problems, and other illnesses. When the energy that flows into an organ is well balanced, that organ will function properly.
When the energy in a channel is unbalanced, it doesn’t mean there is a problem in the organ. The channel itself can be congested. For instance, the Gallbladder channel may be blocked, causing TMJ or sciatica, while the gallbladder itself is perfectly healthy.
In Chinese Medicine, the organs have more functions than they do in Western medicine. In Chinese Medical Theory, each organ has a spiritual, mental, emotional, as well as a physical job. This is why acupuncture can help with issues such as insomnia, stress, anxiety, and PMS. Often these problems are accompanied by physical discomfort. These can all be treated together in the same session. Some people even use acupuncture to help them with creativity and spiritual growth.
Because pain is caused when Qi becomes stuck in meridians, acupuncture is an effective way to deal with pain. By promoting a smooth flow of Qi in the channels, acupuncture can relieve back pain, headaches, sports injuries, repetitive strain issues, and numerous other types of pain. “Where there is free flow there is no pain” is an ancient Chinese adage.
What kinds of things can acupuncture help?
Acupuncture helps many different problems, both physical and emotional.
The World Health Organization recognizes the usefulness of acupuncture and compiled a list of conditions it helps.
Acupuncture is especially effective for stress induced or stress aggravated issues. Things that seem to fall through the cracks of western medicine, like IBS, chronic fatigue, PMS and others, also do well with both acupuncture and Chinese herbs. Often people come in with a set of symptoms for which their doctor found no cause. They know there is something wrong, yet standard medical tests show them to be healthy. Acupuncture and Chinese herbs are perfect in these situations.
Acupuncture is good for pain control and sports injuries. It is useful for everyday problems such as insomnia and common colds. Acupuncture and Chinese herbs can help diagnosed illnesses such as bronchitis or colitis, even autoimmune diseases. Patients with serious diagnosed conditions continue with their standard western care while being treated at Mystic River Acupuncture. Eastern and western medicines work well together.
Can acupuncture treat emotional problems?
Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs can treat many types of emotional problems.
Acupuncture is often used in emergency situations. Acupuncturists Without Borders and teams of local acupuncturists assist in post-traumatic treatment of disaster survivors. Acupuncturists were part of the disaster relief efforts after 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina. There is now a “battlefield acupuncture” protocol being used for soldiers in Iraq. Acupuncture detox has long been used for drug and alcohol addiction, and for smoking cessation.
At Mystic River Acupuncture we regularly see patients with anxiety, insomnia, problems focusing, and some types of depression. We treat people who are on medications and people who just need some help to get through a hard time. We treat athletes preparing for competition and performers with stage anxiety. People in various stages of recovery use acupuncture to help them heal from emotional trauma.
When being treated with acupuncture or Chinese herbs you should remain on any pharmaceutical medications you are taking. It is dangerous to adjust your medication without consulting your doctor. Your medical doctor is the only one qualified to change your medication.
What age groups do you treat? Can babies get acupuncture?
People of any age can get acupuncture.
Young adults, middle aged, and seniors can all benefit from this ancient art. Acupuncture is particularly useful in treating elderly people for relief from chronic pains accompanying things like arthritis and lumbago. It can also help with energy and stamina.
Acupuncture can help men and women with fertility, and women through pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum period. If needed, we can treat newly born infants. In this case techniques other than needles are used, and only if absolutely necessary. Acupuncture is also good for gender specific health problems in men and women, such as PMS or prostate difficulties. It can be an invaluable aid in keeping people of any age comfortable at the end of life.
Children may receive acupuncture for childhood illnesses, head colds, respiratory problems and tummy aches. Children are treated only when there is a problem, and acupuncture is often combined with more conventional Western treatments.
Adults may also come for “tune-ups” to maintain a sense of well being. Regular acupuncture is good for your immune system. Acupuncture is a useful healing modality in any stage of life.
What can I expect during an acupuncture treatment?
When you come you will be treated compassionately and professionally and we will take the time to listen to you.
You will fill out an intake form you before consulting with your practitioner. After talking with you about your symptoms we may look at your tongue, take your pulse, and palpate your abdomen. You will lay down on a comfortable exam bed to receive your acupuncture treatment. If you are here for an herbal evaluation, we will write you an individual prescription for herbs. Your acupuncturist will tell you what to expect after treatment.
It is good to wear comfortable clothing. Come a few minutes early to your initial appointment to fill out paperwork. It is good to eat a light meal or have a snack before coming to your appointment.
What happens after my acupuncture? Can I go back to work?
Yes, you will be able to carry on with your normal activities.
You will be able to return to work or carry on with the rest of your day after treatment. We recommend that if you exercise after acupuncture, it should not be strenuous. It’s best to avoid alcoholic beverages and heavy meals the day of treatment. You may feel very relaxed, even tired or sleepy. Taking it easy, having a nap or going to bed early are perfectly acceptable the day of your treatment.
Should I take pain medicine after acupuncture?
If you are on pain medication, by all means take it if you need it.
Taking pain medication will not counteract your acupuncture. If you are taking any medicine on a schedule, you must continue this unless advised otherwise by your physician. If you need it, you may take your pain medication after acupuncture.
Can I bring a friend with me?
Friends are always welcome.
Your friend or relative can sit with you while you are being treated. As long as it’s O.K. with you, it’s O.K. with us. We understand that sometimes people are nervous and like to have company. We will never discuss your case with a friend or relative without your permission, even if they accompany you on your visit.
Do I need a referral from a doctor?
No. In Connecticut a referral is not necessary to see an acupuncturist. You may just call our office and schedule.
However, physicians often do refer to us. Some insurance companies require a prescription for acupuncture treatment. In that case your doctor will write a prescription for acupuncture for a specific problem, specifying a certain number of sessions.
If I don’t need a referral, then does my doctor need to know?
It is always best if you are honest with your doctor about acupuncture and Chinese herbs.
Especially if we are treating you for a specific health problem, we prefer that your medical doctor know. In some instances, it is essential that she or he is aware that you are receiving acupuncture. Coordinated care is possible only when all your health care providers are aware of what medical treatments you are receiving. Nowadays, medical doctors are supportive and interested when their patients choose acupuncture. Many will refer for acupuncture treatment. Your doctor also needs to be informed when you are receiving herbal treatment.
Can I get some treatments privately and some in Community Clinic?
Yes. Combining private treatment with Community Clinic is a viable option for many patients.
For more serious or chronic ailments an initial evaluation with a few private treatments may be necessary to determine whether Community Clinic is appropriate. If you plan to use the clinic as a resource, your practitioner will communicate with the Clinic about the protocol for your treatment, and you can return for a private session whenever you need further evaluation. Combining private treatment with Community Clinic is a good option for some conditions that require frequent treatment.
Does my insurance cover acupuncture?
In Connecticut, many insurance plans do cover acupuncture.
You need to call your insurance company to find out if acupuncture is covered. If your plan covers acupuncture and we are not in its network, you pay at the time of your treatment and we will provide you with the information you need to file for reimbursement. Please note that we do not deal with any insurance in Community Clinic. This allows us to keep the fee low as possible.
Do you take Medicare or Medicaid?
At this point in time, neither Medicare nor Medicaid will cover acupuncture.
How do I pay when insurance doesn’t cover it?
Payment is expected at time of service unless other arrangements are made.
You may pay by cash or check. If you choose to tip your massage therapist, you may do so either directly or include the tip in your check. When you tip your massage therapist, she receives the entire gratuity.
Please note that we do not accept credit or debit cards.
Are there any side effects from acupuncture?
Rarely are there serious side effects from acupuncture.
When you come to your first appointment you will receive a complete list of possible side effects from acupuncture.
On occasion, there is the possibility of subcutaneous bleeding that can look like a bruise. This does not happen often and is not painful. It just doesn’t look good. Be sure to let your acupuncturist know if you are taking aspirin or any blood thinning drugs, or if you tend to bruise easily.
Once in a great while a patient may feel light headed after acupuncture. In this case sitting for a bit after treatment or sipping a warm beverage will help. If you feel dizzy or nauseous when the needles are inserted, tell your acupuncturist immediately. She or he can take steps to remedy this. There is no reason to be alarmed if this happens.
In Chinese Medicine we generally don’t have the concept of a “healing crisis” where things get considerably worse before they get better. However, in some instances your symptoms may be temporarily aggravated. This usually lasts no more than 24 or 48 hours at most. Let your practitioner know if symptoms are worse for longer than this amount of time or if they are dramatically more severe immediately after treatment. It is typical for the nature of your symptoms to change after acupuncture. It is not unusual to be a little tired, hungry or thirsty, very relaxed, or sometimes a little sore. A symptom unrelated to your problem may improve before the problem does.
You may check in with your practitioner any time you are worried about how you feel after acupuncture.
Do I have to believe in acupuncture for it to work?
No, you do not have to believe in acupuncture for it to work.
Acupuncture is both a medical intervention and a tool for staying healthy. It isn’t something to believe in. You don’t have to think it’s going to work for it to work for you. Acupuncture is used quite successfully on animals. Veterinary acupuncture is very popular and veterinary acupuncturists are in demand.
Neither do you have to understand how it works. Your acupuncturists have intimate knowledge of how it works. If you are interested, during your session we always explain why and how it works. If you prefer to just rest and enjoy the treatment, that’s fine too.
In the beginning of my practice, a large percentage of my clientele came as a last resort and told me they didn’t believe it was going to work, but didn’t know where else to turn. Most of them were very happy with the results of treatments.
That being said, although it isn’t necessary, any time you have confidence in any medical treatment whether it be Asian or western, it’s effectiveness is enhanced.
Do I need to believe in Buddha or Eastern religions to get acupuncture?
No, of course not. Acupuncture is a medical procedure, not a religion. It is used in many western hospitals and clinics.
Your religion has nothing to do with whether you can benefit from acupuncture or Chinese herbs. Especially in the western world many acupuncturists are Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, agnostic or even atheist. Some are Buddhists, as well. As in other medical professions, acupuncturists are of many faiths. Your acupuncturist’s religion has nothing to do with your acupuncture treatments. In fact, some religions that prohibit certain types of medical intervention allow acupuncture and Chinese herbs as an effective alternative.