The Healing Alternative
FAQs

What Is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is an ancient medical treatment based on regulating the body's Qi (pronounced "chee"), or "life energy," which flows in the body along pathways called meridians. Hundreds of acupuncture points cn be opened like gates to balance and harmonize the flow of Qi, relieving pain and many other symptoms of disease.

How Big Are The Needles?
The standard needles are about the thickness of a cat’s whisker! For those who are extremely sensitive, there are smaller needles about the width of a hair.  Only sterile, single-use disposable, solid needles are used. Needles are NEVER re-used.

What Conditions Can Acupuncture Treat?
People may see an acupuncturist for almost any condition, from Cancer to Shoulder Pain. Some of the more commonly treated conditions are:

  • Pain anywhere in the body including headaches, migraines, trauma, back pain and siatica
  • Depression, Anxiety and Insomnia
  • Menstrual issues such as PMS, amenorrhea, irregular menstruation, menopause syndrome
  • Asthma a/or Allergy issues
  • Chemotherapy and radiation side effects
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Smoking cessation, alcohol and drug addiction
Can Acupuncture be used to treat infertility?
Read the Infertility FAQs

What Will My First Acupuncture Treatment Be Like?
In general people find acupuncture to be an incredibly relaxing experience, even for those who have some initial hesitation about needles.  In general your first treatment involves quite a bit of discussion, as the practitioner gathers as much information as possible to clearly understand and diagnose your issues from an oriental medicine viewpoint. The needling during the first treatment may be limited so you can become accustomed to the experience and the practitioner can see how you respond.  Follow up treatments  involve a short follow-up discussion and a longer treatment time

Does It Hurt?
No. Most people enjoy treatment and find it very comfortable, restful, and relaxing.  Sometimes the needle insertion feels like a quick pinch that rapidly subsides.  Some people report a mild tingling, heaviness, warmth, or a dull ache at the acupuncture point, which is a sensation of Qi moving.  Generally sessions last about an hour, in which the patient rests or naps.  After treatment, you can expect to feel less pain, more energy, and a  heightened sense of well-being. 

How Many Treatments Will I Need?
The number of treatments required depends on the severity and duration of the symptoms to be addressed. For a cold or flu, one or two treatments can be very helpful.
For chronic health conditions of years or over a  life-long duration, a longer course of treatment is normally required. Within the first 4-6 sessions, the effectiveness of the treatment is often evident and clear treatment goals should be established. 

Does Health Insurance Cover Acupuncture?
Most insurance plans do not cover acupuncture. However, some policies are beginning to include acupuncture because of its cost effectiveness as a treatment.  In New England, some of the large insurance providers are looking closely at consumer demand for acupuncture and are offering discounted plans.

What Training And Licensing Do Acupuncturists Receive?
Today acupuncturists are trained in accredited, 3-4 year, graduate programs and are licensed by most states. Acupuncturists may be certified by the National Commission for the Certification of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, (NCCAOM), a national organization established to regulate the practice of acupuncture. After passing national examinations, these acupuncturists are designated as board certified in acupuncture or diplomates of the NCCAOM. (Dipl.Ac.)  The NCCAOM maintains a directory of certified practitioners on their web site, www.NCCAOM.org.

What is Medical Acupuncture?
Some western physicians offer a treatment known as medical acupuncture, a kind of mini cookbook version of acupuncture based on a much shorter course of study. While an accredited masters level program in acupuncture includes about 2,500 hours or more of study, some of the programs for physicians offer about 200 hours. Acupuncturists who graduate from accredited programs have completed an extensive course of study of Oriental Medicine as well as of Western biomedical approaches to illness. Contemporary acupuncturists are prepared to work with physicians and other health care providers to bring the most effective aspects of Oriental Medicine into the conventional medical clinic.