FAQs ::: Acupuncture

acupuncture_FAQ_imageWhat  is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a two thousand year-old practice that involves the insertion of hair-fine, solid, sterile stainless steel needles into points on the body. Needles may enter the face, arms, legs, abdomen and back depending on each patient’s individual complaint(s). The points are chosen according to the patient’s complaints, as well as information gathered from looking at the tongue, feeling the pulse and the abdomen

What is Chinese Herbal Medicine (CHM)?

Chinese Herbal Medicine is based on classic Chinese formulas which are then specifically tailored to each individual patient. Unlike Western pharmaceuticals, the CHM formula can be adjusted, ingredients added or subtracted, to create the best treatment for a particular patient, rather than just that patient’s condition; this significantly reduces, if not eliminates, side effects. These formulas are usually in powder form and are consumed as a tea, although pills are available for certain conditions.

For what conditions is Acupuncture or CHM used?

Conditions that are often successfully treated by Acupuncture and CHM are:

  • Headaches: Migraines, tension, sinus, cyclic, unknown cause
  • Ear, Nose, Throat: Sinusitis, rhinitis, earaches, toothaches, post nasal drip 
  • Respiratory: Colds, flu, allergies, asthma, bronchitis, cough 
  • Gastrointestinal: Acid reflux/ heartburn, nausea, indigestion, gassiness, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, colitis, Crohn’s Disease, hemorrhoids, IBS 
  • Gynecological: Premenstrual symptoms (moodiness, breast tenderness, cramps, fatigue, bloat, insomnia, water retention), irregular menstruation, infertility, menopausal symptoms (hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, mood swings, dryness) 
  • Urogenital: Cystitis, stress incontinence, incomplete voiding, nighttime urination, frequent daytime urination 
  • Musculoskeletal: Most pain conditions, arthritis, TMJ, neck pain, lower back pain, tennis elbow, frozen shoulder, carpal tunnel syndrome, sciatica, knee pain, plantar fasciaitis
  • Psychoemotional and Neurological: Depression, anxiety, insomnia, trigeminal neuralgia, other neuralgias, tinnitus, dizziness, post-stroke paralysis

How do Acupuncture and CHM work?

Chinese Medicine, both Acupuncture and Herbal, is based on the flow of Qi (pronounced “chee”) in the body. When the Qi is flowing properly, there is no pain or disease. Pain and disease are indications that there is a blockage, weakness or excess in the Qi flow. The needles and herbal remedies work to rebalance the flow, releasing blockages, building Qi in areas that are weak and draining Qi in areas that are overabundant. Chinese Medicine works to harmonize the imbalances in the body.

Is acupuncture safe?

It is safe when performed by a licensed acupuncturist. In the state of Massachusetts, acupuncturists are licensed by the Massachusetts Board of Medicine, and are required to have completed a 3500+ hour training program. Herbalists are required to have 450+ hours of training and both require continued study to maintain licensure. All licensed acupuncturists use sterile, disposable needles and the same protocol for disposal as hospitals.

Is it painful?

For the most part Acupuncture is a virtually painless practice. The needles are very thin, where 5-10 acupuncture needles could fit inside a needle used to draw blood. The needles are solid and do not inject anything into the body. Many people don’t feel the needles going in, just the tap of the tube used to insert them. Once they are in many people feel a “Qi sensation,” which could be an ache, heaviness, warmth or tingling. For people who are uncomfortable with the idea of needles, Magnet Therapy is also available. Other adjunctive techniques include moxa, gua sha and cupping. Overall it is a pleasant and relaxing experience.

How many treatments will I need?

Each person is different. Many acute conditions may require fewer than 5 treatments, whereas more chronic conditions may require greater than 20. Each person responds differently, some needing more or fewer treatments. The acupuncturist will be able to predict after a couple of treatments.  Once your condition is stable, occasional maintenance treatments might be necessary on an as needed basis, depending on the condition. Many patients choose to come for treatment on a monthly basis just to keep on top of their health.

Do I need to take my clothes off?

No. Patients are fully clothed during treatments. It is preferable that you wear loose, comfortable clothing with easy access

to the abdomen, elbows and knees, or the area of your body that needs work (e.g. your shoulder for shoulder pain).

What can I expect after a treatment?

Patients often notice an improvement in their symptoms after the first treatment, though initially it may be short lasting. The treatments are cumulative, so each treatment builds on the prior one, giving longer and longer lasting results until you no longer need acupuncture for that condition. In some more chronic conditions in may take 4-8 treatments to start to feel an improvement in symptoms.

What happens after the needles are inserted?

After all of the needles are placed, your acupuncturist will lower  the lights and leave the room for about 30-45 minutes.  During that time, we encourage you simply to relax.  Believe us, you will!  Most people describe a pleasant sensation of floating during treatment, and leave their session quite relaxed.  It is not uncommon to doze off during treatment.    If you are new to acupuncture, your clinician will check on you several times during your session.

At the conclusion of your treatment, your acupuncturist will remove the needles, re-assess you, and conclude the session.

Does my health insurance plan cover acupuncture at Integrative Therapeutics?

Presently, health insurance does not cover acupuncture.

How much does it cost?

Initial consultations are $100.  Follow up visits are $75.

Effective Monday, July 11, 2016, our acupuncture fee schedule will be:

New Client Evaluation: $150

Follow up visit: $80

New Pediatric Client Evaluation: $100

Pediatric Follow up: $65

Half hour follow up for moxa, etc: $65

New Client Herbal Medicine Evaluation: $120 (herbs not included in price)

Herbal Medicine follow ups:  $65 (herbs not included in price)