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FAQ / Acupuncture


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. If at any point you are uncomfortable, be sure to tell your acupuncturist.

I worry about whether the needles are clean. 
We use only sterile one-use disposable needles. Upon removal the needles are discarded immediately into a sharps bio-hazard container for appropriate disposal. Needles are never reused.

How many treatments do I need?

Generally speaking anywhere from three to ten treatments is typical. Most often a change is expected within three to five treatments. Some things can be taken care of in one session. More serious conditions may require several months of treatment. Chronic or degenerative diseases may require periodic maintenance care.

How often should I come?

In the beginning, treatments usually are given weekly. Sessions are gradually spaced out as the condition improves. 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. 

Do I need to do anything special before or after my treatment?

This blog gives some tips about what to do before and after acupuncture.


How does acupuncture work?

Acupuncture is the manipulation of Qi (pronounced “chee”) or energy in your body. Qi runs in very specific, interconnected pathways called meridians, much like the network of blood vessels in our bodies. In cases of illness or pain, Qi is either blocked or in some way dysfunctional. “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, do well with both acupuncture and Chinese herbs. 

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 provide relief from symptoms of illnesses such as bronchitis or colitis, even autoimmune diseases. Emotional problems also can treated, especially where stress is a causative factor.
Acupuncture detox has long been used for drug and alcohol addiction, and for smoking cessation. People in various stages of recovery use acupuncture.

What age groups do you treat? Can babies get acupuncture?

People of any age and at any stage of life get acupuncture. Young adults, middle aged, and seniors all benefit from this ancient art. Non-invasive needle technique are used on infants. Acupuncture is good for gender specific health problems in men and women. It can be an invaluable aid in keeping people of any age comfortable at the end of life. Acupuncture is a useful healing modality in any stage of life.

What can I expect during an acupuncture treatment?

You will be treated compassionately and professionally and we will take the time to listen to you. After you fill out an intake form, your acupuncturist will talk with you about your symptoms, look at your tongue, take your pulse, and palpate your abdomen. After the needles are inserted, you’ll rest for 10-30 minutes. Acupuncture treatments are extremely relaxing. Wear comfortable clothing. Come a few minutes early to the initial appointment to fill out paperwork. 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. After treatment, patients may return to work or carry on with the rest of their day. If you exercise after acupuncture, it should not be strenuous. Avoid alcoholic beverages and heavy meals the day of treatment. Patients report feeling 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. It is dangerous to adjust medication without consulting your doctor. Your medical doctor is the only one qualified to change your medication.


Can I bring a friend with me?

Friends are always welcome.

Do I need a doctor's referral?

In Connecticut and Rhode Island a doctor’s referral is not required. This varies from state to state.

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.
Coordinated care is possible only when all your health care providers are aware of what medical treatments you are receiving. 

Can I get some treatments privately and some in Community Acupuncture?

Yes.  Combining private treatment with Community Acupuncture is a viable option for many patients. For more serious or chronic ailments, after an initial evaluation with a few private treatments, Community Acupuncture may be appropriate. Combining private treatment with Community Acupuncture is a good option when frequent treatment is indicted.

Does my insurance cover acupuncture?

In Connecticut, many insurance plans cover acupuncture. 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 forms you need to file for reimbursement. 

Do you take Medicare or Medicaid?

At this point in time, neither Medicare nor CT 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, check or credit card. 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.

Are there side effects from acupuncture?

Rarely are there serious side effects from acupuncture. On occasion, there is subcutaneous bleeding that can look like a bruise. This is not painful. Patients taking aspirin or any blood thinning drugs are more likely to experience this.

Once in a great while a patient may feel light headed after acupuncture. If you feel dizzy or nauseous when the needles are inserted, tell your acupuncturist immediately. There is no reason to be alarmed if this happens. Acupuncturists know how to remedy this. 

In some instances your symptoms may be temporarily aggravated for 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 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.

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. Nor do you have to understand how it works. Although it isn’t necessary, any time you have confidence in a medical treatment, whether it be Asian or western, it’s effectiveness is enhanced.

Do I need to believe in Buddha or Eastern religious to get acupuncture?

No, of course not. Acupuncture is a medical procedure, not a religion. As in other medical professions, acupuncturists are of many faiths. An acupuncturist’s religion has nothing to do with their practice of acupuncture.

All About Acupuncture
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