Frequently Asked Questions
Does Acupuncture hurt?
Unlike the hollow hypodermic needles used to administer shots at the doctor’s office, acupuncture needles are solid yet flexible and they compare to the size of a horsehair. Upon insertion, you may feel little to no sensation. Some describe a sensation of mild tingling, heaviness, pulling, or warmth while the acupuncture needles are in place. Acupuncture increases relaxation and believe it or not, many patients will fall asleep during their acupuncture treatment.
What should I expect during a treatment?
A thorough and comprehensive intake will be done at the beginning of each treatment. The intake will include questions regarding your medical history as well as current manifestations of symptoms. Examining your tongue, checking your pulse, and palpation of acupuncture points will also help to determine the pattern at hand. Each visit is personalized to your individual needs and will change as treatments progress. A typical treatment includes needling 8-16 points chosen on the basis of the patient’s constitution and symptoms. Most points selected are on the limbs, back, and abdomen. If needed, other therapies may be incorporated during your treatment including bodywork, cupping, electrical stimulation or the application of heat.
How many treatments will I need?
The number of treatments needed is different for each patient. Treatment time is dependent on the duration, severity and nature of your condition. Typically, acute conditions resolve quicker than chronic conditions. You may only need 3-4 treatments to address an acute complaint, where as 6-12 treatments may be necessary to resolve more longstanding issues. However, each patient responds to treatments differently. After your initial appointment, we will create a treatment plan that best suits your personal needs. After your first couple of treatments, we will assess your progress and adjust your treatment plan accordingly. To help reduce the number of treatments and to help minimize your time and financial investment, we may suggest dietary modifications, Chinese herbal medicines, self-care techniques and / or specific exercise regimes. At The Acupuncture Center of Asheville, it is our goal to help patients reach optimum wellness in a timely manner.
Can acupuncture help with pain?
Yes! Acupuncture promotes healthy circulation of blood and qi thus resolving pain. From a biochemical perspective, acupuncture analgesia is achieved by peripheral nerve stimulation that directs the brain to release endorphins, which in turn block pain
pathways in the brain. An old Chinese proverb explains, "Where there is pain, there is no free flow. Where there is free flow, there is no pain". Acupuncture alleviates pain by increasing blood flow, improving circulation and reducing inflammation in the body.
The Department of Veterans Affairs, the World Health Organization, and an increasing number health insurance providers recognize acupuncture as an effective intervention for musculoskeletal pain. As a drug-free intervention with demonstrated lasting results, acupuncture is an alternative for pain management without the potentially serious side effects as prescription drugs and surgery.
Does acupuncture help other conditions?
Yes! The World Health Organization recognizes the ability of acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine to treat over 43 common disorders including:
Gastrointestinal Disorders, Uro-genital Disorders, Gynecological Disorders, Respiratory Disorders, Disorders of the Bones, Muscles, Joints and Nervous System, Circulatory Disorders, Emotional and Psychological Disorders, including depression, anxiety,
and addictions such as alcohol, nicotine and drugs.
Acupuncture is often effective therapy for other chronic and painful debilitating disorders which have no clear explanation or origin.
Do you accept health insurance?
We do not do insurance billing. However at your request, we will provide a Superbill form which contains all of the procedure and diagnostic codes prudent to your visit. You can submit a copy of this form to your insurance company for them to reimburse you directly. We strongly encourage you to contact your insurance provider to verify acupuncture coverage prior to your first visit. It is also useful to determine if your plan has any limits to coverage, such as a physician’s referral, coverage for specific conditions, spending limits, etc.
Acupuncture treatment is allowable under Health Savings Accounts. If you have an HSA, you may use it to cover the cost of your treatment. You will need to check with your specific HSA to find out if herbal medicine prescribed by a health professional is an allowable expense.
And there's more good news: The cost of acupuncture treatments are tax deductible medical expenses! Keep track of your receipts or request an invoice at the end of the year. For more information, visit: https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p502.pdf
How should I prepare for my treatments?
It is best to arrive to your treatment well hydrated and fed. To get the most out of your treatment, avoid hunger, dehydration, exhaustion or intoxication. It is best to wear comfortable, loose fitting clothing. Also, please avoid brushing your tongue, as we use the tongue coating for diagnostic purposes.
Is there anything I should do after my treatment?
Relax! After your treatment you will likely feel a blend of relaxation and rejuvenation; as if you just woke up from a refreshing nap or finished a good hike. It is best to allow your body to integrate the treatment by slowing down and staying hydrated. Refrain from vigorous exercise or highly physical activity for at least two hours after your treatment if possible.