Frequently Asked Questions About Acupuncture

For your convenience, some of our most common customer questions are listed and answered below.

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Q: What is Acupuncture?

A: Acupuncture is a form of alternative medicine and a chief component of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). It involves inserting thin, sterile needles into the body to treat a wide range of diseases. It is a safe practice performed by a qualified, licensed practitioner. It is based on the Theory of Yin and Yang with the concept of “Qi” (Chi) being an important, central underlying principal.

Q: How does Acupuncture work?

A: Acupuncture stimulates peripheral nerve fibers that send impulses to the spinal cord, which activate several areas of the brain depending on the acupuncture points. Neurotransmitters are then released that counter the elements in the body. This modulates nerve activity and the diencephalon, which is composed of the Thalamus, Hypothalamus and Epithalamus. This influences the autonomic nervous system, the endocrine system and the immune system through the functions of the Hypothalamic-pituitary adrenal axis. This brings the body back into homeostasis by regulating the circadian rhythm between adrenocorticotropic hormone, vasopressin and cortisol.

Hamid, I.H. (2019. Benefits of Acupuncture and TCM [Slide 9])

Q: What is Qi (Chi)?

A: Qi (Chi) refers to the “energy flow” or “life force” within the body. In traditional Chinese culture, qi flows through the body via meridians, or pathways, similar to the way blood flows through our circulatory system. When this energy becomes obstructed or blocked (due to stress, trauma, pathogens, etc.) acupuncture and other modalities of Traditional Chinese Medicine can be used to unblock the qi, and ultimately help the body to heal naturally.

Q: What is the Theory of Yin and Yang?

A: Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine are built on the foundation of an ancient philosophy called the Theory of Yin and Yang. The core of this philosophy is that the human body (as a microcosm of the universe) is in a state of constantly transforming interactions in order to maintain stability, or homeostasis. All bodily systems work as a whole to maintain this stability. If an imbalance occurs, acupuncture can be an effective tool to facilitate healing.

Q: What conditions can Acupuncture treat?

A: Acupuncture has been proven, through controlled clinical studies, to be effective in treating a wide range of diseases and conditions including, but not limited to all types of chronic and acute pain, allergies, infertility, digestive weakness, insomnia, anxiety, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia and many more. Please feel free to give us a call today at 561-533-7475 if you do not see your condition, to see if Acupuncture can help you.

Q: Will the acupuncture needles hurt?

A: This is a very common question. Nobody wants to feel pain, especially if they’re already in pain. The answer to this question is “no”. The needles are very thin, almost hair like, that most of them will not elicit a pain response. The most you will feel is a very slight pinch.

Q: How many needles are used and how long will I rest on the treatment table?

A: In any given session an average of about 8-15 needles are inserted at various points on the body. After they are inserted a patient will relax, with the needles retained, for approximately 20-25 minutes in a very relaxing, tranquil setting. Most patients thoroughly enjoy the experience, as it is so relaxing.

Q: Are the acupuncture needles sterile?

A: Yes. We use prepackaged, sterile, single use needles and dispose of them after using them on a patient.

Q: Are there any side effects to acupuncture?

A: The most common effects of acupuncture are positive and they include less stress, better sleep, improved digestion, increased energy and improved mental clarity, among others. However uncommon, some patients can experience slight bruising at the site of needle insertion that usually goes away in just a few days.

Q: How should I prepare and what should I wear for the acupuncture treatments?

A: Loose clothing is ideal so that we may have access to acupuncture points on the low back, abdomen and lower legs, if necessary. Pants and sleeves should be able to be rolled up above the knee and elbow. It is important to eat a light meal before treatment and to be adequately hydrated. We also suggest avoiding heavy exercise after completing an acupuncture session such as running long distance or weight lifting.

Q: How long is an acupuncture treatment?

A: The initial appointment, including consultation and treatment will be scheduled for the duration of 1 hour. All follow-up appointments will be scheduled for 30 minutes.

Q: Is acupuncture covered by insurance?

A: If you call our office we can verify if your specific plan has coverage for acupuncture. Unfortunately at this time Medicare does not cover acupuncture treatment.

Q: I want to begin treatment, what do I do next?

A: Call our front desk at 561-533-7475 to schedule your first consultation and session. If you have an insurance policy we can help you verify if you have coverage or not.

Q: What kind of education and training do acupuncturists receive?

A: At minimum, acupuncturists need to graduate from a nationally accredited university with a master’s degree in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, and obtain state licensing. State licensing requires passing multiple licensure exams. The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) is the certifying body for acupuncturists and also the developer of licensure exams. Recertification for state license is every two years, and nationally every 5 years. Continuing education minimum requirements are set for both.

Q: Should I keep my appointment if I’m sick?

A: Yes. We can treat anything from the common cold and its symptoms to the flu and its associated symptoms. We can even help you recover quickly from a stomach bug or a hangover.

Q: How many treatments will I need?

A: The amount and frequency of your treatment will be determined on a case-by-case basis. Chronic conditions will require a treatment plan that’s more comprehensive but for the most part patients receive treatment anywhere from 1-2 times per week for the first few weeks, tapering off until we reach our therapeutic goals. At that point a maintenance plan can be discussed, if deemed appropriate.

Q: Do I need to keep coming after my symptoms are gone?

A: This will be discussed with your practitioner. Once you have reached your therapeutic goals, it may be beneficial to continue receiving acupuncture treatments on a weekly, monthly or quarterly basis depending on the condition treated and the recommendation of the practitioner.

Q: What if I can’t come for regular acupuncture treatments?

A: At Palm Beach Acupuncture, creating and following a viable treatment plan is essential for your therapeutic success. Following this treatment plan is very important, which includes attending all of your scheduled sessions. Obviously events happen in daily life that may interfere with scheduling. If you have to miss an appointment for one of these life emergencies it’s okay. We understand. We just ask that you let us know 24 hours in advance (if possible) and to reschedule your next appointment so you may continue treatment as soon as possible.

Q: Why does my Acupuncturist want to feel my Pulse?

A: According to Chinese Medicine there are 12 positions on your wrist that correspond to specific meridian/organ systems within the human body. Your acupuncturist will feel your pulse (at your wrist) looking for different qualities that give them an idea of where an imbalance may be occurring. If you are having a health problem it usually appears in the pulse. This is a great diagnostic tool that acupuncturists use to develop your treatment plan.

Q: Why does my Acupuncturist want to look at my Tongue?

A: The tongue is a veritable map of the entire body and has been used for centuries in Chinese medicine. It reflects the overall health of the meridians and organ systems. The color, shape, cracks, and coating on your tongue are all-important indicators of health.