Frequently Asked Questions About Acupuncture

Frequently Asked Questions About Acupuncture

How does acupuncture work?

Modern /western medicine cannot completely explain how acupuncture works. Research has identified the ability of acupuncture to modulate neuroendocrine functions such ad blood hormone levels, perhaps explaining some of this technique’s effectiveness.

Traditional acupuncture is based on ancient Chinese theories of the flow of Qi (energy) through Meridians or pathways that span the body. According to such theory, acupuncture allows Qi to flow to areas where it is deficient and away from areas where it is in Excess. In this way, acupuncture regulates and restores the harmonious energetic balance of the body.


Are the needles clean?

California licensed acupuncturists are certified in the use of “clean needle technique” and at Haber Acupuncture, we use only individually packaged disposable and sterilized steel needles. There is no risk of transmitting a communicable disease using such needles.


Does acupuncture hurt?

Prior to their first treatment, many people do not believe that acupuncture can be painless. Different sensations such as soreness, numbness, distending warmth and pressure may be felt, but the energetic sensation differs from pain. People often comment that the feeling is unfamiliar but pleasant and relaxing. Acupuncture needles are very fine, about the size of a thick hair. They are solid and nothing is injected through them. Over the centuries, refined needle insertion techniques have been developed which enable the skilled acupuncture practitioner to place a needle with little or no sensation.

If you have a real fear of needles, discuss it with your acupuncturist. An appropriate treatment strategy can always be agreed upon.


Does Medical Insurance cover acupuncture?

Many plans do cover acupuncture, especially the PPO’s.

I will be happy to have my staff research your coverage and benefits.


How often should I have acupuncture treatment?

I usually recommend two to three treatments for the first two weeks. After reviewing the progress of treatment, I reduce the frequency to one to two sessions a week for the following weeks. However, it entirely depends on the physical condition of each individual.


How long is a session?

Normally, each session takes 20 to 30 minutes, but we schedule you for an hour so that you receive the maximum attention and care indicated for your condition.


What can I expect after a treatment? 

Dramatic results are unusual after a single treatment. Most patients will experience a gradual relief of their symptoms or improvement of well being over the course of therapy (over days or weeks). Since everyone is different, everyone responds to treatment in their own unique way. Some people feel energized and revitalized mentally and physically; others feel barely any change at all at first. All these responses are normal.

The energy in your system has been influenced, a step toward the recovery of some greater harmony within your entire self. The points chosen for your treatment support you to begin to end your health problems on your own. Your energy has become accustomed to its old habits, regardless of whether they are good or bad for you; so a struggle begins. Your energy has opposing inclinations: one is to recover balance and thus you become free of complaints, the other is to reproduce the old habits and thereby reinforce your problems.

The process that begins takes different forms for everyone. It is often one of three steps forward and two steps back, progress followed by some regression between treatments, The severity and duration of the problem influences how long it will take for the hold of the old pattern to be broken.

Sometimes things must get worse before they get batter. When this occurs, it is a very good sin. For example, a person with chronic migraine headaches may, during the course of treatment get the worst headache in his or her life, but this may well be the last one. This aggravation of symptoms or reaction to treatment is temporary and should not cause concern. His kind of aggravation or temporary worsening of symptoms is called the Law of Cure and it is best to avoid taking medication of any sort when this occurs. It is best to ride it out.

Medication is likely to suppress the symptom and drive the problem deeper just as I is about to make its exit.


How does Chinese Medicine differ from Western Medicine? 

Chinese Medicine concentrates on the normalization of the body’s Qi. Therefore, the therapeutic focus is on “wellness.” It is traditionally applied to keep the individual healthy. If there are changes of the body energy which adversely affect a person’s health, the treatment consists of correcting underlying imbalances in this body energy. The goal of Chinese Medicine is to address the underlying energy imbalance that results in symptoms. A wide variety of symptoms can be addressed by this energy restoration.

In contrast, Western Medicine is focused on the diagnosis and treatment of disease. Traditionally, Western Medicine has had little interest in preventive health issues (a situation finally changing now). Western Medicine focuses on the diagnosis of the disease causing a patient’s physical complaint and the alleviation of the symptoms of the disease. Treatment is usually the prescribing of medication or some type of surgical procedure, and is specific to only one problem.


Can Western and Chinese Medicine be combined?

Yes. Modern medical wisdom seems to suggest that we combine what is useful from each source. Because Chinese Medicine addresses the underlying cause of a condition rather than just the symptoms, it is often helpful to treat conditions generally unresponsive to western drug-oriented treatment. Examples include PMS, headache, vertigo, irritable bowel syndrome, allergies, etc.

Conversely, some conditions – most notably bacterial infections and conditions with structural changes; e.g., fractures or tumors – respond more rapidly to Western techniques. Very frequently, the two methodologies can be combined to the patient’s greater benefit. Therefore, a pragmatic, broad-based approach that acknowledges the strength of each kind of medicine, such as practiced at Haber Acupuncture, allows for the choice of the best treatment options for each individual patient.