Frequently Asked Questions
Please click on the questions below to read the answer.
How does acupuncture work?
The short answer is Acupuncture is a medical practice that entails stimulating certain points on the body – most often with the use of hair-thin needles to stimulate known areas of the body to alleviate pain or to help treat various health conditions. (long answer below)
How does acupuncture work? The long version
The general theory of acupuncture is that every living being possesses universal life energy called Qi (“chee”). This energy circulates throughout the body along pathways, or channels called meridians. Meridians connect to specific internal organs in the body and provide balance, regulation, and coordination of body processes. Pain and illness result when the flow of Qi through the body is disrupted or blocked, and this can be caused by many things, including pathogens, trauma, injuries, medication, as well as lifestyle factors such as overwork, poor diet, emotions, lack of rest and stress.
Meridians come to the surface of the skin at specific points on the body called acupoints. Scientific research has discovered that these points display a variety of unique bioelectric properties and stimulation with needles, heat or finger pressure can help to adjust the body’s energy flow, triggering the immune system and pain regulating mechanisms. In other words, acupuncture assists the body in healing itself.
In Western medical theory, acupuncture appears to work by stimulating parts of the brain and body to release natural biomolecules such as neurotransmitters, vasodilators, and hormones. The exact mechanisms that bring this about are not completely understood, but the effects are measurable and documented.
Does acupuncture hurt?
Everyone experiences acupuncture differently, but most find it to be extremely calming and revitalizing. Acupuncture is nothing like receiving a shot or injection. The needles are less than the diameter of a human hair, resulting in very little discomfort when inserted. Many patients become very relaxed and fall into a restorative sleep during their treatment.
If you prefer, I may be able to use alternatives to needles, such as acupressure, laser stimulation, cranial-sacral, magnet therapy, cupping, or herbs to help your condition.
Is acupuncture safe?
Yes, when performed by a competently trained, licensed professional, acupuncture is extremely safe. All acupuncturists in Illinois are required to use individually packaged, sterile, single-use disposable needles so there is virtually no chance of infection or contagion. Every licensed acupuncturist must prove their education and also pass the examination.
What is Chinese medicine?
Traditional Chinese Medicine is a comprehensive medical system that has been treating disease and illness naturally and effectively for over 3000 years. It is based on principles of balance and energy within the body and centers on the body’s own ability to heal.
Traditional Chinese Medicine addresses physical symptoms and also seeks to resolve the root causes of illness by exploring the relationship of environment, diet, exercise, and emotions to your physical health and well-being.
Treatment can include acupuncture, herbs, bodywork, nutrition, and exercise. These therapies work to enhance the flow of vital energy inherent within all living things, encouraging the body to heal itself and function optimally.
Do you have to believe in acupuncture for it to work?
No. Chinese Medicine is a medical theory, not a belief system. Acupuncture and herbs work whether you believe in them or not. Animals respond remarkably well to acupuncture without understanding or believing any of it! Of course, having a positive attitude that you will indeed feel better is important to healing in general. When all other treatment methods have failed, this indicates a systematic imbalance – exactly what acupuncture and herbs excel at treating
Can I benefit from acupuncture even when I’m not sick?
Yes. Anyone can benefit from an acupuncture treatment as part of ongoing health and wellness focus. In today’s fast-paced living, the effects of environmental stresses and toxins alone tend to build up over time.
Acupuncture is an effective way to re-balance the body and reverse the effects of these stresses. Just as you would go to your general practitioner for a check-up, you can come in for seasonal acupuncture treatments as a tune-up to prevent getting sick, balance hormones and strengthen your immune system.
What kind of medical training do acupuncturists receive?
In Illinois, Acupuncture is a four year Master of Science program with training in both Western medical sciences (anatomy, chemistry, physiology, biology, pharmacology, etc.) and Chinese Medicine including acupuncture, herbal medicine, nutrition, Tai Chi, and a variety of other subjects. Most programs require 2500-3000 hours of training at specialized colleges of Oriental Medicine, which are accredited by the State of Illinois and the national certification organization (NCCAOM). To receive their license, California acupuncturists must pass a rigorous state board exam which includes western and eastern diagnostics and pharmacology. They are also required to complete 50 continuing education units every two years to maintain their Illinois Acupuncture License.
Will my health insurance pay for acupuncture?
Many insurance plans now include acupuncture treatments in their policies. Ask your insurer about coverage. I will provide you with a detailed invoice that you can submit to your insurance company for reimbursement.
Feel free to contact us for more information and schedule an appointment.