What can I expect at the initial consultation?
On your first visit, we will discuss your main health complaint or concern, meaning what brought you into the clinic in the first place. We will discuss how this complaint or concern first began, discuss your current state of health, current lifestyle and dietary habits and any significant health history such as car accidents, hospitalizations, illnesses, allergies, prior treatment and personal goals you may have for your health in general. Initial treatments generally last 1.5 to 2 hours.
How long does the treatment last?
Typically, during acupuncture, needles are retained for about 25 to 35 minutes, during which time the patient comfortably rests and relaxes, often with a therapeutic heat lamp and soothing music. At the close of the treatment, needles are removed and the patient is ready to return to their day, often revitalized and deeply rested. A basic follow up acupuncture treatment usually lasts one hour.
Is acupuncture safe?
Acupuncturists are trained to determine the safe depth/angle of insertion to avoid any injuries. No one has ever died from acupuncture applied by a trained licensed practitioner. In the U.S. and other developed parts of the world, sterile single-use disposable needles are used and risk of infection is extremely low. Sometimes there is a little bleeding, soreness or bruising at the acupuncture site.
There are conditions wherein acupuncture is used with caution, for instance, in patients taking blood thinners or who have bleeding disorders, certain points are used with greater care. During certain stages of pregnancy, certain acupuncture points are also avoided.
Does acupuncture hurt?
Acupuncture needles are very fine and insertion is gentle. People experience acupuncture differently and most people feel very little or no pain during needle insertion. There may be a momentary prick type feeling that quickly resolves. Most people feel a heavy sensation, tingling, warmth or nothing at all. I work closely with patients to ensure the treatments are gentle and comfortable. With acupuncture, more is not necessarily better, thus often emphasis is placed on fewer needles with accurate selection and placement.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved acupuncture needles for use by licensed practitioners in 1996. The FDA requires that sterile, nontoxic needles be used and that they be labeled for single use by qualified practitioners only.
Are there side effects from acupuncture?
Other than an occasional bruise and a happier state of well being, there are no adverse side effects when acupuncture is performed appropriately.
Why feel the pulse and look at the tongue?
A traditional Chinese medical practitioner diagnoses your individual pattern of imbalance and determines which organs and acupuncture channel systems are involved. This is in consideration of several factors, including inquiries to how your main complaint appeared, your lifestyle and nutritional patterns, palpation of acupuncture meridian pathways, observing the color, shape and coat on your tongue and feeling the rate and quality of your pulse.
Initially, once a diagnosis is determined, a treatment plan will be formed including what acupuncture points or other modalities of treatment are appropriate.
Will acupuncture or herbal treatments interfere with my other medications?
When administered properly, Chinese herbals do not interfere with Western pharmaceuticals. It is necessary for the patient to disclose which pharmaceuticals or medications they are taking so the practitioner can prepare or prescribe a formula that does not interfere with the effects.
Generally, it is a good idea to take medications about two hours apart from the Chinese herbals. Chinese medicine is also very effective in helping people to safely come off their Western medications.
How many treatments do I need?
Your relief may be immediate, delayed for a few hours or may develop after one to three days. The body is very receptive to acupuncture yet individual response to treatment will vary. The effects of acupuncture tend to be cumulative so as you continue with acupuncture treatments you will notice your body will acclimate, become more responsive and maintain results as health is restored.
Generally, the number of treatments is often relative to how long the condition has been in the body. Acute conditions tend to clear up in a few treatments, while conditions that have been going on for years may take 10 to 12+ visits. Because the body has expended an amount of stored energy during the illness, after you have recovered, it is important to follow up with one or two treatments to prevent new or repeated illness, this is referred to as “solidifying the constitution.” If an illness recurs, it is often more difficult to treat.
How can I prepare for my session?
Wear loose fitting comfortable clothing allowing easy access of your lower limbs and abdomen. Don’t come on an empty stomach or one that is too full, heavily fatigued, intoxicated or dehydrated. Do not scrape your tongue on the day of your visit. Try not to drink an excessive amount of fluid immediately prior to the acupuncture session.
Is acupuncture safe during pregnancy?
Generally, yes. However, some points are contraindicated during pregnancy. Be sure to inform your practitioner is there is a possibility of pregnancy or if you know you are pregnant.
- 24 hour cancellation policy – Please telephone, text, or email to cancel or reschedule your appointment at least 24 hours prior to the appointment time. All appointments missed or not cancelled within 24 hours will be charged in full.
- I do not send appointment reminder messages; please set your own reminder for your appointment day and time both a week and a day in advance.
- Please do not arrive more than five minutes before your appointment time, unless you are a new patient arriving early to fill out paperwork. If you arrive earlier than this, you may have to wait outside.
- Payment by cash or check is preferred. Credit cards are accepted in person with a processing fee via the Square system.
Insurance & Superbill
I am out of network with insurance companies. This enables me to provide high quality care with out limitations directed by insurance. However, I may be appointed as a primary care provider in a workers compensation or personal injury case. Please inquire with me directly for more information.
I do provide a “Superbill” upon request. This is a receipt for services paid in full at the time of your visit that includes insurance billing codes for reimbursement by your employer or insurance provider. I recommend that you contact your employer or insurance provider prior to your visit to determine what acupuncture services are covered.
Will my health plan cover insurance?
Yes, many PPO health plans cover insurance. The office is currently in network with Blue Shield of California and and a provider out-of-network with other carriers such as United Health Care, Cigna, and Aetna.
PPO plans with acupuncture benefits are processed by our billing department. We can verify your insurance information prior to your first visit. Payment is due at the time of service or until benefits are verified.
Health Savings Account (HSA) or Flex Spending Account (FSA)
We accept payment from HSA and FSA accounts. Please bring your debit/credit card and you will be supplied a “Super Bill” to submit to your provider for reimbursement.