Tell Me About Acupuncture
Q: What is acupuncture?
Q: How widely is acupuncture used in the United States?
A: In the past few decades, acupuncture has grown in popularity in the United States. Acupuncture is practiced by thousands of physicians, dentists, acupuncturists, and other practitioners for relief or prevention of pain and for various health conditions. According to the 2002 National Health Interview Survey–the largest and most comprehensive survey of complementary and alternative medicine use by American adults to date–an estimated 8.2 million US adults have used acupuncture.
Q: What are the principles of acupuncture or how does it work?
Q: Is acupuncture safe?
Q: Are there any side effects to acupuncture?
Q: Is acupuncture painful?
Q: What criteria should one use in choosing an acupuncturist?
A: First of all, you need to see someone you feel an affinity with, who listens to you and makes you feel comfortable. Feeling you can trust someone is very personal and important. Take the time to seek out the right practitioner. It’s an important relationship.
Ask where the practitioner/acupuncturist trained, how long the training was, how long he or she has been in practice, and what experience the practitioner has had in treating your specific ailment. Ensure that your practitioner is state licensed:
Acupuncture is a licensed and regulated healthcare profession. For over 12 years, the Medical Board of North Carolina has been licensing acupuncturists. At present, one is allowed to practice only after successfully completing four years of training at an approved college of Oriental Medicine, and passing a rigorous written and practical exam given by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). The title “Licensed Acupuncturist” or “L.Ac.” means that these criteria have been met. Always look for a copy of the license, which should be clearly displayed in the practitioner’s office. In states that do not currently require licensing, patients should ask their practitioner if they are certified by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. Acupuncturists who have passed this exam are entitled to add Dipl Ac. (Diplomate of Acupuncture) after their name.
Is Acupuncture Right For Me?
Q: How is Oriental medicine compatible with Western medicine?
A: Both Western and Oriental Medicine have their respective strengths and weaknesses, that is why in modern China, the two systems are used together. When appropriately combined, the patient is well served. Oriental medicine can work to complement the benefits of western medicine.
In addition, Oriental medicine can often reduce unpleasant side effects associated with prescription medicines. Licensed acupuncturists are also trained to recognize symptoms that indicate a need for a medical doctor or a specialist. A patient’s road to health is vastly shortened to the extent that she or he participates in their recovery.
We give our patients as much knowledge as we can about their condition in terms of Chinese medical philosophy. Individual herbal remedies are often prescribed as an important part of the treatment. We discuss the contribution of diet and other lifestyle choices to the patient’s condition, and support efforts towards gradual changes that will improve the patient’s health.
Q: What conditions can acupuncture treat?
A: In parts of the Far East, acupuncturists are so popular that they outnumber medical doctors. Acupuncture has been used to prevent illness, maintain wellness, relieve pain and as an anesthetic. The World Health Organization has determined that acupuncture is an effective therapy for over 200 clinical conditions. For a list of the conditions we commonly treat, visit our Conditions Treated page.
Acupuncture also reduces stress and anxiety, and helps patients enter a deep state of relaxation, which enhances the healing process. Herbal medicine can increase the effectiveness of your acupuncture treatment and is often the primary treatment for chronic internal medical disorders.
Q: Will acupuncture interfere with my medication?
Q: Can I receive acupuncture if I am pregnant?
Q: Do you treat children?
Q: Can I continue with other care I have been receiving?
Q: Will I need herbs too?
Q: Can acupuncture prevent me from getting sick?
Tell Me About The Needles
Q: Do the needles hurt when they are inserted?
A: This is the most common question asked about acupuncture because many people associate needles with pain. Acupuncture needles are very thin – almost like a strand of hair. They bear no resemblance to the needles used when receiving an injection (they are solid, not hollow like the needles used by doctors in surgery). The end of an acupuncture needle is smooth and rounded. Acupuncture needles are designed to not cut the skin. Instead, when an acupuncture needle is inserted, the round edge pushes the tissue aside without cutting it. It’s as if these ultra-thin needles can glide through the spaces between the individual cells of the body.
Even our most apprehensive patients discover that the treatment is virtually painless because acupuncture needles are extremely thin and flexible — approximately 16 acupuncture needles together equal the thickness of a pin.
After insertion, the practitioner will bring the needle to the appropriate depth. They are inserted very superficially, using a gentle technique. You will then feel a very unique sensation that varies according to the individual.
Often people describe their sensations as warming, heavy, numb or tingling. This sensation usually dissipates quickly. Be comfortable and relax while the needles are in place. The more you can relax during an acupuncture treatment, the better the results. Some people even fall asleep during the treatment.
A licensed acupuncturist has had thorough training on the safe implementation of needles. They can be quickly adjusted in the unlikely event of you feeling uncomfortable during the needle insertion process. (Please do not hesitate to tell us if you feel uncomfortable.) Most often, when patients first feel the sensation of needles, their fears dissolve. Doctor Robert has a very gentle technique.
In addition, Doctor Robert tailors each session to meet the specific needs and sensitivities of the patient. Blankets, eye pillows, and music can be used to add to your comfort. It also might help if instead of thinking of them as needles, you view them as healing filaments. They are simply tools to help you move through the process of healing and balance.
Q: Are the needles sterile or are they reused?
Q: Where are the needles placed on my body?
Tell Me What to Expect and How to Prepare
Q: What can I expect during my first visit?
A: During your initial visit or consultation, Robert will talk to you at length about your health condition, lifestyle, and behavior. He will want to obtain a complete picture of your medical history, treatment needs, and behaviors that may contribute to your condition. Combining all of this information will help him to place your concerns in a holistic context, at which point he will determine an appropriate treatment plan for you. This may include acupuncture and/or Chinese herbal medicine.
The initial visit usually lasts 2 hours depending on your needs and the condition you want treated. Call 910.798.8181 to receive a new patient welcome package including the intake forms, or download the forms by clicking here to save time and prevent you from having to complete them in the office during your first visit.
Q: How long is a treatment?
Q: How often and how many treatments will I need?
A: There is no set formula—the number of treatments will depend on the nature of the complaint, its severity, and how long it has been present. Your treatment course will be determined during the consultation and reassessed periodically. Many conditions may be alleviated rapidly. Some chronic conditions will be relieved only with slow, steady progress.
Initially, treatments are done frequently: perhaps 1-3 times per week or bi-weekly. Once your condition has been controlled and you are symptom-free, the treatments become less frequent.
Our treatment philosophy is to support you in achieving your own health goals as quickly as possible. Since we believe that our bodies can heal themselves if given the chance, we do not believe in creating a co-dependant relationship with patients where treatments are unnecessarily prolonged.
Chinese and Western medicine compliment each other and can be integrated to offer optimal health care. In cases where medical circumstances can be dealt with more effectively by Western medicine, your acupuncturist will recommend that you contact a physician.
Q: What should I do to prepare for my appointment?
- Eat a light meal an hour or two before your appointment. You want your body to have energy to work with.
- Wear loose fitting clothes that can be easily rolled above your elbows and knees.
- Bring a list of medications you are taking.
- Do not engage in strenuous activity, drink alcohol, smoke excessively, or ingest heavy meals before or after your treatment. This will allow the body to adjust to the effects of the acupuncture.
- If this is your first visit, we will mail a packet of forms that you should complete and bring with you to your initial appointment.
- To respect other patients sensitivities, we ask that you refrain from wearing perfume or lotions.
Q: Is there anything I need to do while receiving acupuncture?
Q: What will I feel after the treatment?
Scheduling Appointments and Paying for Treatments
Q: What are your hours?
Q: How do I get to Acupuncture Associates?
Q: Is acupuncture covered by my insurance?
Acupuncture Associates in Wilmington, NC requires payment from you at the time of treatment. We do not bill your insurance carrier or collect from them.
Q: Is acupuncture tax deductible?
Q: How much will acupuncture cost?
Q: What forms of payment do you accept?
Q: What is your cancellation policy?
What If I Still Have Questions?
If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact us by phone at 910.798.8181 or email us at email@example.com. We welcome your questions and are happy to discuss your specific conditions and how acupuncture and herbal therapies can help.