How many treatments will I need and how often?
This is a common question about acupuncture, and the answer is: it depends. The number of treatments varies depending on how severe and long-standing the condition is, and the underlying health of the individual. 5-12 weekly sessions in a common course of treatment for many but not all conditions. Since acupuncture works on a cumulative basis, it is usually best to schedule appointments close together initially (1-2 per week), and then taper down over time. The addition of herbal therapy to a treatment plan generally allows for a faster recovery with fewer acupuncture treatments. We will discuss the best course of treatment for you after your first visit.
How should I prepare for treatment?
It is best to eat a light meal about an hour before your treatment. Some ancient sources recommend that the belly be “half-full” for acupuncture. In addition, please refrain from drinking caffeine prior to your appointment or drinking alcohol the night before, as this makes it more difficult to gain a clear reading from your pulse, and changes your sensitivity to the treatment. I also recommend not eating dark-colored foods like chocolate or blueberries immediately prior to treatment – these discolor the tongue, which is another important diagnostic evaluator. Please wear comfortable loose-fitting clothes – if you are coming from work or are unable to bring loose-fitting clothes, a gown will be provided for you to change into.
How long does an acupuncture session last?
The first session lasts about 105 minutes; it involves a longer interview and pulse intake, and a shorter acupuncture treatment. Follow-up sessions generally run 60-75 minutes. The amount of time that the needles are in depends on the condition and the individual, but is usually 20-30 minutes.
How many needles are used in a typical treatment?
The number of needles used ranges from 4 to 20, again, depending on the individual and condition.
Are there other therapies used besides needle acupuncture?
Yes. I regularly utilize cupping, guasha, moxibustion, massage, and herbal therapy with my patients. These therapies can be used in addition to acupuncture, or instead of acupuncture if the patient is uncomfortable with needles.
Can I receive acupuncture in conjunction with other therapies?
Definitely! Patients often receive acupuncture in addition to massage, physical therapy, and conventional medical treatment from their primary care physician. Acupuncture and herbs can also be combined with drug therapy as needed. Please communicate all therapies you are receiving to your acupuncturist as well as your other healthcare practitioners, so that we can make sure your treatment plan is safe and appropriate for you.
Are acupuncture needles reused?
No, acupuncture needles are never reused in my clinic. I only use sterile, single-use, disposable needles.
What training do acupuncturists receive?
Acupuncturists in Oregon complete a four-year Masters program in addition to their undergraduate training and pre-med requirements. Additionally, they must pass four board exams to become licensed by the state and nationally board-certified. In order to retain licensure, acupuncturists must complete continuing education each year, and remain in good-standing with the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) and the Oregon Medical Board. Throughout my schooling at OCOM, I was trained in both Western and Eastern medicine, and completed over 3500 hours of coursework, and over 700 internship hours in acupuncture, herbs, and bodywork at high volume clinics. I also pursued specialized training outside of school in pulse diagnosis and shiatsu.
Does health insurance pay for acupuncture?
Many insurance companies in Oregon are now offering coverage for acupuncture, including the Oregon Health Plan. The conditions and number of treatments covered varies by insurance plan. To find out if your insurance plan covers acupuncture, please speak with your insurance representative, or call our office for help assessing your benefits. I am a preferred provider on most major insurance plans – please call our office to confirm that I accept your insurance.