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Frequently Asked Questions

What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a wonderful system of medicine that comes from China and is over three thousand years old.  Our body is made of Qi (or energy/life force) and the Qi flows through specific pathways or meridians in the body.  There are acupuncture points along the pathways that if stimulated may promote better flow of Qi.  When our Qi is flowing smoothly, we tend to be healthy and when our Qi is blocked, certain symptoms manifest from that. To restore harmony, acupuncture needles are inserted at specific points along the pathways to rebalance the Qi.  The person’s general wellness is improved by strengthening the body’s ability to remain in harmony and withstand disease/hardship.


What is Qi?

Qi (pronounced chee) is a Chinese term that can be thought of as vital energy/life force/vital substance.  It creates life, controls bodily functions and animates the body.  Any type of pain or illness represents an obstruction or imbalance in the normal flow of Qi.


Is acupuncture safe?

Acupuncture is a very safe form of treatment and injuries are rare among patients treated by trained professionals.  The FDA requires the use of sterile, nontoxic needles that are single use only by qualified practitioners.


What conditions can acupuncture treat?

Acupuncture is used to address a number of health conditions and is recognized by the World Health Organization through proven clinical trials to be an effective treatment for numerous conditions. Below is a sample of conditions:

Pain:  headache/migraine, low back pain, shoulder pain, tennis elbow, wrist pain, fibromyalgia, arthritis, tooth pain, carpal tunnel syndrome

Digestive Disorders: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, indigestion, irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, colitis

Women’s Health: PMS, menstrual irregularities, menopausal symptoms, morning sickness, fertility issues, UTIs, reproductive problems

Immune system: common cold, sore throat, pneumonia, bronchitis, tonsillitis, sinusitis

Emotional Health: stress, anxiety, depression

Other Disorders: chronic fatigue, dizziness, eye problems, incontinence, sleep disorders, addictions

For so many other conditions, acupuncture is known to have a therapeutic effect too.


Does acupuncture hurt? 

Many times, people do not feel the insertion of the needles.  Yet, some areas are more sensitive, causing the person to feel a slight prick and then the discomfort usually goes away.


How many treatments will be needed?

The number and frequency of treatments vary based on each individual person and whether the condition is chronic or acute.  Each person is considered a unique whole and no two headaches are alike or come from the root cause.


What to expect on the first visit?

On your first visit, we will discuss your general health history and your primary current health concerns. This is important to get a complete picture of how your body functions and to assess the underlying conditions leading to your current situation. Next, I will perform a physical examination that is similar to a Western style physical exam, yet different in a few aspects.  Based on all the information, I will develop an overall treatment plan for you.  If you chose to have an acupuncture treatment during the first appointment, I will invite you to relax on the table while I insert needles into various points.  The needles may be retained for up to 30 minutes.  During this time, your body makes adjustments to restore balance, harmony, and vitality.


What are possible side effects?

Mostly the side effects are all positive—patients usually report being more relaxed, calmer, lighter, more at ease.   At times, there may be a few drops of blood released when the needle is removed or mild bruising at the site.  There is a chance that symptoms may be aggravated after a treatment, yet should clear in 48-72 hours. This is actually important as it is part of the healing process (similar to detoxing, people usually feel worse prior to feeling better or great).


Do you accept insurance?

Yes, we accept Carefirst/BCBS, Cigna, VA Community Care Network (Optum)

Will my insurance cover acupuncture?  (for out of network insurance plans)

Many insurance plans cover acupuncture.  Services may be covered in full or in part by your health insurance for out-of-network providers.  Please check your coverage carefully and ask the following questions:

  • Do I have acupuncture insurance benefits?

  • What is my deductible and has it been met?

  • How many sessions per year does my health insurance cover?

  • How much does my insurance pay for an out-of-network provider?

  • Is approval required from my primary care physician?

  • Is acupuncture coverage limited by certain conditions?

If your insurance plan covers acupuncture we are happy to provide you with a receipt including all the information required so you can submit to your insurance company for reimbursement. 


What do I need to do for the appointment?

Below are some recommendations to give you the best experience with acupuncture and offer the best results:

 - Eat a light meal or snack 30 minutes- 1 hour prior to treatment.  Some people experience light-headedness after a treatment if they have not eaten that day.

 - After treatment, take it easy for a few hours to allow your body to adjust to the changes

 - Wear loose, comfortable clothing to the appointment

 - Ensure to hydrate with water and electrolytes if needed always yet especially prior and after your sessions



Have more questions?  Please contact us by phone or email:


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