Faqs

What does acupuncture treat?

What is a first visit like?


Does acupuncture hurt?


Will insurance cover acupuncture?


How many treatments will I need?


Can acupuncture treat infertility?


Can children be treated with acupuncture?


Is acupuncture safe?


Are acupuncture needles safe?


How does acupuncture work, scientifically speaking?


Is it necessary to choose between acupuncture
and other types of health care?

What does acupuncture treat?
According to the World Health Organization, acupuncture can effectively treat the following conditions:
Internal: Hypoglycemia, asthma, high blood pressure, ulcers, colitis, indigestion, hemorrhoids, diarrhea, constipation, diabetes
Ear, Nose, Throat: deafness, tininess, earaches, ear infections, poor eyesight, dizziness, sinus infection, sore throat, hay fever
Genitourinary and Reproductive: impotence, infertility, premenstrual syndrome, pelvic inflammatory disease, vaginitis, irregular periods and cramps, morning sickness
Musculoskeletal and Neurological: arthritis, neuralgia, sciatica, back pain, bursitis, tendonitis, stiff neck, Bell’s palsy, trigeminal neuralgia, headache, stroke cerebral palsy, polio, sprains
Mental/Emotional: anxiety, depression, stress, insomnia Infections: colds and flu, bronchitis, hepatitis
Dermatologic: eczema, acne, herpes


In addition, Traditional Chinese Medicine has been used in China in conjunction with Western Medicine for every medical problem, such that conditions not listed above are still treatable with acupuncture and Chinese herbs.


What is a first visit like?
After you make your first appointment, either you will be sent or you can download and print a health history form. Please fill it out and bring it in with you to your first appointment. We will go over your entire health history, including surgeries, injuries, which medications you are on, etc. Two additional ways of gathering information to make a Chinese Medical Diagnosis based on you as a whole person are to briefly examine your tongue and take your pulse. The first visit is one and a half hours and you would normally receive an acupuncture treatment during that time, unless we need to use the entire time to cover your health history. For the actual acupuncture treatment, the patient lies on a massage table, although some people prefer to remain seated if they cannot lie down comfortably. The best clothes to wear are loose comfortable clothing that can easily roll up to the knees and elbows.


Does acupuncture hurt?
Generally, acupuncture does not hurt. Some people feel the needles as they go in, and some people feel nothing. Acupuncture needles are solid needles, not hollow like hypodermic needles, and they are much, much thinner - about the diameter of a thick human hair. Patients often have sensations during the treatment, which is the qi (or energy) moving or the opening of a channel that has been blocked.


Will insurance cover acupuncture?
Some insurance policies do cover acupuncture. We can bill them directly and simply take a copay at time of service. However, it is up to you to call your insurance company directly and inquire about your specific policy. If the insurance ends up not covering your acupuncture treatment, please be aware that you are responsible for the charges.


How many treatments will I need?
This depends entirely on your personal condition, how long you have had it and how severe it is. One rule of thumb is that a person requires one month of treatment (once a week) for every year that they have had the problem. Occasionally, if a patient has a very acute condition, I will see them twice a week. Truly, it is so much easier to treat an imbalance before it has become entrenched than after. In ancient China, the physicians to the emperor only had a job if everyone in their care stayed healthy, so they were extremely interested in preventative medicine.


Can acupuncture treat infertility?
Yes! The strength of Chinese Medicine, including herbs, is that it can affect the quality of the eggs and the lining of the uterus. Recent research has shown that acupuncture can increase blood flow to the reproductive organs, which provides the woman‘s reproductive system with more nourishment, can increase the lining of the uterus, and relax the uterus. All of these factors help increase fertility. Acupuncture supports a woman‘s overall health and reduces stress, particularly if she is undergoing ART.


Can children be treated with acupuncture?
Yes, and they respond very quickly to it. In China, where acupuncture is more accepted, children get acupuncture all the time. If they are too young to want needles, then other methods such as Sho Ni Shin (a technique of gentle pressing and scraping along the meridians), moxa and cupping can be utilized. There are also some special herb formulations in liquid glycerin that are very easy for children to take.


Is acupuncture safe?
Acupuncture is a field that requires extensive training and licensure in Maine. Brett’s training in acupuncture includes a 3 1/2 year master's degree program.  Then to receive certification from the NCCAOM, which is required for licensure, she passed a 3 day exam. There are typically no side effects to acupuncture, however, a patient should be forthcoming in disclosing any medical conditions, including pregnancy. Part of the beauty of acupuncture is that it encourages the body to regulate itself in a gentle way rather than forcing it. Some medications require caution, such as Coumadin, but do not prevent acupuncture treatment.


Are acupuncture needles safe?
I use only needles that are pre-sterilized, prepackaged, and disposable. Each needle is used once and then deposited in a biohazard container, which ensures safe disposal.


How does acupuncture work, scientifically speaking?
Recent research has shown that when an acupuncture needle is inserted into the body, specific regions of the brain are activated. This brain activation then allows regulation of other systems in the body primarily through the modulation of molecules such as neurotransmitters and hormones. Collectively, scientific research has shown that acupuncture can modulate all the primary systems in the body including the nervous, endocrine and immune systems. Other research from Europe is focussing on the fascia as a means for qi to travel all over the body. The fascia of the body, which covers every muscle, bone, and organ, in other words, is everywhere in the body - all connected. This ubiquitous covering has a tiny electrical charge that is measurable by very sensitive instruments, of which the human practitioner can also be. The insertion of needles into the body changes this fascia and sends a message along the channel(or meridian) to affect an organ or more diffuse systems of the body. Some theorize that emotional memories are stored in the body, most likely the fascia. Therefore, chronic pain and poor posture often have to do with these stored emotions, such as when someone chronically hunches their shoulders to protect their heart. Acupuncture can help move this “stuckness”, which we call stagnation. The acupuncture points themselves are particular places to access a meridian and it‘s particular qualities. The points are able to be measured as places where the electrical conductivity of the skin is different than the surrounding area.


Is it necessary to choose between acupuncture and other types of health care?
Acupuncture is compatible with other systems of health care. We are happy to work in conjunction with you and your other health care practitioners. Please inform your acupuncturist of any other treatments and medications/herbs/supplements which you are currently using so that we may integrate our efforts. Our wish is that you receive maximum benefit from all sources.

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