You’ve Got Questions - We’ve Got Answers
OK, WHAT IS THIS ALL ABOUT??
You may be asking yourself (or me) how acupuncture can possibly work. You’ve heard it mentioned, by either hardened skeptics who declare it ‘quackery’ and cite poor translations of the Chinese concepts that inform this medicine, or from die hard followers who speak of it’s spiritual aspects and perhaps sound a little more “new-agey” than you can relate to. Both of these often make it difficult for people to conceive of how this might work.
First, let me point out that Chinese medicine is an entire medical system that involves not only acupuncture, but botanical medicine, nutritional concepts, bodywork such as tui na (massage), cupping, gua sha, and heat therapies. The first step in understanding how it works is to understand the concept of Qi (“Chi”). This is often translated into English as “energy” but the ancient Chinese written language was designed to convey concepts, and not simply to capture the sounds and content of spoken language. One character can convey poetry, history as well as the word as it would be spoken in a sentence. Qi is such a word. Qi is not simply an invisible energy, something separate from the body. Qi can be defined as the functional part of, or the potential activity of , as well as the interactions with things around it. Qi is that which gives potential, the active functioning of something, the useful aspect of air (i.e. oxygen), food (nutrients) and drink (the water or sometimes even natural sugar) and it's the functional ability of our organs to use those things in the most efficient manner possible.
The thing to remember when wrapping your mind around Qi, is that the Chinese language reflects a system of thought - many ideas and images can be captured by one word and I've come to find that what most mystifies people about this medicine really comes down to the fact that it is hard to translate a concept into one word. Hence "energy" as the common translation of Qi, which makes it seem supernatural or weird to people.
Chinese medicine is about manipulating that qi in order to allow the body to use it most efficiently so it can heal itself.
Bottom line: it's the same science we know, it's just in a different language and organized in a different way!
WHO CAN BENEFIT FROM ACUPUNCTURE?
Anyone! It is often thought that one must "believe" in acupuncture in order for it to work, but this is not the case. While having a positive attitude has been proven to be beneficial to our lives in general, animals get good results from acupuncture, just like people, and we’re pretty sure that they don’t believe in it!
We like skeptics. You just need to have enough of an open mind to want to find out if acupuncture will work for you, and you will only know that for sure by experience. We suggest you try it and see what you think.
WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT?
First concept: Acupuncture is CUMULATIVE and DOSAGE-DEPENDENT. In order to achieve lasting and successful results, an initial series of 4-6 sessions, close together is necessary. Then ongoing 'maintenance doses' can be spread out more. Each session length can vary depending on how you are that day, but generally last 45 to 60 minutes. The first visit is longer as we get to know you, but this can be sped up if you fill out the initial paperwork ahead of time and send it to me. Paperwork can be found on the patient portal. If you are new to the practice, register for portal access at that link as well. Most treatments will require access to your calves and forearms, head or neck. Disrobing is generally not necessary.
WHAT INSURANCE DO YOU ACCEPT?
I am an out-of-network provider with all major medical insurance carriers. In order to verify your coverage, I will need the following information:
Provider Phone # (from insurance card):
Patient Mailing Address:
Policy Holder Name (spouse, parent, partner, etc.):
Policy Holder DOB:
Policy Holder Mailing Address (if different from above):
CAN I ADDRESS MORE THAN ONE HEALTH ISSUE AT A TIME WITH ACUPUNCTURE?
Absolutely. Often, patients who come in for one issue will notice an improvement in something apparently unrelated. This can happen because acupuncture is reducing inflammation, promoting circulation, reduces stress, promotes better sleep and more energy. It's like getting a regular tune up!
IS ACUPUNCTURE PAINFUL?
Well, this is the $64,000 Question isn't it? The most common answer is no, and certainly not in the way one would think. It's not like a hypodermic needle. Some points you will not feel at all, others might have some sensations (warmth, tingle, electric sensation, etc.), and on occasion you might feel a quick ache when the needles are inserted. Once the needles are in you will not notice they are there.
HOW MANY VISITS BEFORE I NOTICE A DIFFERENCE?
You will likely notice some difference walking out the door after treatment from when you walked in, even if only subtly. However your acupuncturist will recommend a specific course of treatment for you based on your goals and response to your initial visits. Acupuncture is cumulative and is more effective when clustered. One visit can be relaxing, but the true benefits of acupuncture come with some regularity. We might recommend 4-6 regular visits and then reassess after that.
DO YOU TREAT CHILDREN?
Yes. Acupuncture is often very effective for children and teens, and many of them love it. We ask only that the child in question is willing to try acupuncture; we don’t want to treat unwilling patients of any age. That said, treatments for children often do not involve needles, but rather gentle surface stimulation with special tools.
ARE THERE ANY REASONS THAT I SHOULD NOT GET ACUPUNCTURE?
There are no contraindications to receiving acupuncture. It is a safe and effective therapy for all of us. We do ask however, if you are pregnant that you let us know as we will avoid certain points that can cause uterine contractions. Also let us know if you have any clotting or bleeding disorders as needling may not be appropriate for you, however we can still treat you with other modalities. Lastly, if you have a pacemaker, please let us know so that we can use e-stim appropriately.
Can’t find the answer to your question? Give us a call! 347-670-4228 or annalisa@ABacupunctureNYC.com