Q: What exactly is acupuncture?
A: Acupuncture is a type of complementary medicine that uses tiny, weightless needles to carefully alleviate a wide range of health issues, from chronic pain to insomnia, infertility to allergies. Originating in ancient China more than two thousand years ago, acupuncture works with the body’s meridian system to balance Qi (energy). It is through balance and alignment that optimal wellbeing— physically, mentally and emotionally—may be achieved.
Q: What can acupuncture treat?
A: In China, acupuncture is used by the general population as their first choice in medical care, as we often do with our primary care doctors in Western medicine. For many Chinese, their acupuncturist is their primary care provider. In other words, acupuncture CAN be used to treat just about anything, from migraines to seasonal allergies, digestive issues to spinal injuries. And because we believe each part of the body is interconnected—because some treatments are curative while others are palliative—we work with the body’s whole picture to bring relief to a singular problematic area. Please visit our Acupuncture page [insert link] to view a list of the health issues that we treat most often.
Q: Is the ‘needling’ painful?
A: The majority of our patients don’t ever feel the needles. This is because they are as thin as two human hairs. Some will feel the Qi (energy) manifest at the points as a dull and achy sensation that passes quickly. Others may feel brief static shock (burning or pulsating), during which I will be at their side, talking with them to ensure they are comfortable. Most will slip into a deep relaxation throughout the 20 to 30 minute needling session. Many consider their acupuncture treatment to be a peaceful, calming respite from daily life.
Q: Will acupuncture work with Western medicine?
A: Yes, acupuncture is among the best complements to Western medicine. Acupuncture generally does not detract from the effectiveness of Western medications, but may instead enhance your results. Depending on your conditions and medications, I may call your physician directly to work together on creating a treatment plan that looks at the whole picture of your health. I am direct and proactive in getting you the best results possible—and often working with your MD is the best way to do so.
Q: How long is a session at RiverWest Acupuncture?
A: The first session is an hour and a half, and includes a thorough intake, assessment and treatment. During that time, I will talk with you to learn not only about your symptoms, but also to uncover how your symptoms fit into your complete picture. As acupuncturists, we understand that all aspects of our health are interconnected and so I seek to discover how the various parts of your overall health relate. In this way, we can assist in creating a treatment plan that works for you, and guide you to better health.
Follow-up sessions are typically about sixty minutes. In the first twenty or so minutes, we talk with you and then spend about five to ten minutes placing the needles. For the remaining thirty minutes, you simply rest in one of our quiet, calming treatment rooms as the needles do their work.
Q: How many treatments before I see results?
A: I look for changes after the first treatment. And I find that because everyone is different, everyone responds differently. Your response will depend on how long you have been experiencing the symptoms, the severity of the symptoms and the degree of imbalance of your body. Acupuncture is a cumulative process in which each treatment builds on the previous treatment. Acupuncture treats the individual, rather than the symptom. So I will work with your unique needs and treat you accordingly for the best results.
Q: How often might I need treatment?
A: If this is your first time with acupuncture and you are in what I call a trauma state, meaning that you have pain, or a symptom that is acting up, I generally will have you come in once a week for five to ten weeks. If the condition is more acute, we may recommend bi-weekly visits for two to four weeks. Once the symptom has abated, and depending on your overall condition, I may suggest that you come in once a month or so to keep the body balanced and to deter future flair ups. The frequency of your visits is something that you and I work out together so that you are best served. Again, everyone is different; we treat the individual based on his or her unique needs.
Q: How long has RiverWest been in operation?
A: RiverWest Acupuncture opened in 1995.
Q: Does RiverWest take insurance?
A: Yes. We work with most third-party payers including Blue Cross, Aetna and United, and HMOs like Providence, Kaiser and American Specialty Health Network, as well as most auto and worker’s compensation carriers. Please contact us and we would be happy to confirm your actual insurance coverage.
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