Should I try acupuncture?
We think that you should! People come to acupuncture in many different mind sets. Some know that acupuncture can help their condition because they’ve have been treated before, some come because nothing else has worked ant it’s a last resort and some come because they have heard about acupuncture treatment working for someone and they want to tri it. We also find that patients come with varying attitudes. Many people come in thinking that acupuncture will help them, many come wondering what if might be able to do and unsure, and still others come in skeptical but not knowing what else to try. Wherever you may fall in terms of mind set or attitude, we believe that acupuncture has something to offer everyone. Treatments can be very specific and accomplish a specific goal such as pain reduction, sleeping better or increasing energy. Treatments can also be more general and serve as a means of attaining balance within your body. Even having one treatment can be beneficial to your health. If you are not sure if acupuncture can help you, it may be helpful to browse our Conditions Treated (link to Condition treated) section to find more information regarding you condition and how it is treated with acupuncture. The most important thing is that you feel comfortable with your choice to start or try acupuncture, so always feel free to Contact Us (link to Contact us) with any questions or concerns you may have.
What does acupuncture treat and can it help me?
Acupuncture is effective at treating many different conditions, diseases, syndromes and issues. Please see the Conditions Treated (link to conditions treated) section to gain a better understanding of how treatment of a particular condition might be approached. To get a better understanding of Traditional Chinese Medicine (link to TCM page) as a whole, please refer to that section.
Does it hurt?
NO not usually! Occasionally you will feel a sting on certain points but it is nothing like getting a shot or injection. Sometimes people feel a dull ache, pressure, dispersing sensation, heat or buzzing at the point while the needle is inserted. This is a good sign as it shows that the point is active. We draw a distinction between feeling a point and feeling pain or discomfort. Our goal is for you to be comfortable and relaxed during your treatment so your practitioner will always check in with you to see how the points are feeling, especially if it is your first acupuncture treatment. Most people find they become very relaxed during a treatment.
What should I expect at the first appointment?
Please refer to New Patients (What should I expect page) for a walk through your first treatment.
How many treatments will I need?
That will be included in your treatment plan that will be discussed with you at the end of your first treatment. It depends upon the severity of your condition, how long you have suffered from the condition and how you individually respond to treatment. Most people receive between 6 and 12 weekly treatments to begin their treatment course.
How long does each session last?
Your first visit will last approximately 1 ½ hours and will cover your health history, your first treatment and your recommended treatment plan (including diet recommendations, herbal prescription and acupuncture treatment course). Subsequent treatments will last 45 minutes to 1 hour.
How often should I have acupuncture?
Frequency and duration of treatment depends upon the condition. The most common frequency recommended is 1 treatment per week for a specified number of weeks. But for some conditions such as Smoking Cessation(link to stop smoking page) and acute injury up to 3 treatments per week may be needed. The treatment plan discussed at your first appointment will detail treatment frequency and duration.
What should I wear?
Wear what you’re comfortable in, but this is not a crucial detail. Many people come in for treatment on their way to or from work.
Is it safe and clean?
YES! When Acupuncture is preformed by a licensed practitioner (Licensed acupuncturist, Lac) safety and hygienic technique are insured. Licensed acupuncturists must pass the national board exam and be licensed in the state of Washington. Every acupuncturist has a copy of his/her license available. In the state of Washington acupuncturist must maintain CPR for the Professional Rescuer credentials which keeps all practitioners up to date on CPR and how to respond in emergency situations. Acupuncturist must also have taken and passed the Clean Needle Technique (CNT) course which covers sterilization of equipment, transmission of blood-borne pathogens, and disposal of contaminated waste safely.
At Fire Dragon Acupuncture single use, individually packaged sterile needles are used.
What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is just one piece of a system of medicine most commonly called Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). It was developed in China over thousands of years. TCM is based on a few fundamental theories including the concepts of Yin and Yang and viewing the body as a whole (holistic), connected system. The other therapies included in TCM are Chinese herbal medicine, Massage (Tui Na), diet therapy and meditation (Qi Gong). All these therapies help balance the body’s inherent vital energy to enhance healing and promote optimal health.
Acupuncture itself as a therapy includes inserting thin needles into the skin. Specific points are chosen by the practitioner based upon the diagnosis and goals for treatment. The needles invigorate or activate the point to achieve the desired outcome. Different points have different functions, some moving energy, some tonifying or collecting energy, and some releasing or draining energy.
How does it work?
TCM is based on a theory of energy flow which is very different from the biochemical model of medicine that we’re used to hearing and reading about. Qi (pronounced Chee) is the vital energy within all living things. Over the thousands of years TCM was developed, Chinese doctors and scholars explained that Qi moves through the body via pathways called Meridians. Meridians serve to connect through the entire body. Each meridian is associated to an organ and is responsible for specific functions within the body. The meridians and their organs are call Organ systems and include not only include the anatomical organ but physiological functions and emotional attributes. To read about all the Organ systems (link to organ system page) please go to that page. The subtle balance of energy with the different organ system is crucial, and imbalance leads to disharmony within that particular system as well as other system to which it is connected. Imbalances of energy lead to physical or emotional symptoms, and eventually disease within the body. Thus acupuncture points are chosen on the meridians in order to address the imbalance of energy that is occurring.
What about herbs?
Chinese herbs are often recommended as a part of your treatment plan. This option will be discussed with you, and it is always your decision as to weather or not you want herbs to be a part of your treatment. They are often very beneficial to the progress of treatment as serve as a daily treatment. In general herbs provide a faster way of replenishing some of the vital substances and nutrients in the body. To learn more about Chinese herbs see the Traditional Chinese Medicine (link to TCM section) section.
Why use acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)?
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) which includes acupuncture, as a system of medicine provides the practitioner tools to diagnose not only the symptoms of a disease or condition, but the underlying constitutional factors that are at the root of the disease or condition. This allows treatment of the symptoms for immediate relief, treatment of the underlying condition giving rise to the symptoms and preventative treatment so that conditions don’t progress. This is a valuable piece of TCM.
TCM also offers a holistic view of the body. One very important piece to that is the incorporation of emotional factors in physical disease and disharmony. At the root of many diseases and conditions that people seek help with is an emotional component and is often a key to unlocking the progression to wellness. In this way an acupuncture treatment can offer the space and time for connections to be made between physical ailments and emotional factors, thus beginning a treatment process. A holistic view of the body also means that everything is related and interconnected. So we incorporate dietary suggestions, exercise ideas, body work, and herbal prescriptions that could generally improve your health and well being, as well contribute to the treatment of your condition.
TCM works on a “wellness” model instead of a “treatment” model. That is, our goal for treatment isn’t just to get to back to where you where physically or emotionally when you started treatment, we want you to accomplish a better state of health overall. We want to help to achieve wellness rather than just achieving a treatment that is symptom oriented.
What conditions are commonly treated by Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is an effective and proven treatment for many conditions from the side effects of chemo therapy to acute pain following a motor vehicle accident. Please see Conditions Treated section for an extended list as well as further descriptions of the conditions.
Does my specific plan have Acupuncture benefits?
We recommend that you contact your insurance provider’s customer service department prior to your first treatment and inquire about your plan’s Acupuncture benefits.
What should I ask when contacting my insurance provider?
The following is a list of questions that you may find helpful when contacting your insurance provider about your specific coverage:
- Does my plan cover Acupuncture treatment? (Double check that the treatments can be performed by a Licensed Acupuncturist and not just an MD)
- How many treatments are covered per year?
- What percentage is covered by my plan?
- Do I have to pay a copay?
- Does my plan cover Acupuncture for all conditions or just specific diagnoses?
- Are my Acupuncture benefits subject to a deductible?
If you are uncertain about your coverage, we will do our best to help you get the information you need.