Acupuncture – Frequently Asked Questions

How does acupuncture work?

Acupuncture is the regulation of bodily functions through the stimulation of nerves, blood vessels, and lymphatic vessels. There are acupuncture points that correspond to acupuncture channels along the body. These channels are called meridians. Meridians exist in connective tissue, and are closely related to nerve pathways, and blood vessels. With the insertion of an acupuncture needle, local free nerve endings are stimulated, which can in turn affect the nervous, endocrine and immune systems.

How do you know where to treat?

I design treatment strategies after considering patient symptoms, and my observations of the patient’s tongue, and pulse.

Will acupuncture help my headaches, back, elbow, depression?

Most likely!! Clinical trials of acupuncture have shown to benefit many types of chronic and acute pain, and many patients report a general feeling of calm, and optimism after receiving treatment.

How much does it cost?

If you have acupuncture benefits included on your insurance plan, you may pay a co-payment or co-insurance at the time of your visit. Comprehensive acupuncture treatments at Acupuncture by Grace are $75. Depending on the severity of symptoms, comprehensive care may not be necessary. We offer acute care, consisting of 30 minute acupuncture treatments for just $30 per session. This is also a great way to experience acupuncture for the first time.

Will my insurance cover it?

Many insurance companies offer acupuncture benefits. Acupuncture by Grace is an in-network provider with CareFirst Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cigna, GEHA, Aetna and Unitedhealthare.

How many treatments will I need to fix my problem?

This answer depends on how chronic the condition or symptom is, and how long it has existed. Typically, weekly acupuncture treatments are recommended for the first three weeks. After that, symptom management typically calls for once a month or once every few months.

Do you put the needles in nerves?

No. The needs are gently inserted into the initial layers of the skin, which are equipped with cells that can initiate a nerve response.

How many treatments will I need before I see a difference?

Everyone responds differently to treatment, however, many patients see a difference in symptoms after every treatment.

Do the points bleed?

It is not uncommon for a small amount of blood to be released after the insertion of acupuncture needles.

Will acupuncture help me lose weight?

Acupuncture regulates bodily functions, so it may be beneficial to assist in many health goals, including weight loss.

Do I need to stop my medications?

Medications should only be stopped under the guidance of the prescribing physician.

Isn’t it really just a placebo?

Scans and imaging tests show that cellular changes occur with acupuncture treatments.

Do I have to believe in it to work?

Acupuncture works on animals and babies, so believing that it will work is not necessary.

I’m hoping to get pregnant. Can it help with that?

Acupuncture regulates bodily functions, so it may be beneficial to assist in fertility, and other issues associated with the reproductive system.

What kind of needles do you use?

I use single use, sterile, acupuncture needles. Acupuncture needles are very thin, and bendable. Ten acupuncture needles can fit into one hypodermic needle.

What about infectious diseases?

Because acupuncture needles are properly disposed after each use, the transmission of infectious disease is not a concern.

Do you treat cancer?

I administer treatments designed to restore the systems of the body. Acupuncture can complement traditional and non-traditional modalities of treating cancer.

How many needles do you use?

Depending on the diagnosis and treatment strategy, I typically use anywhere from 2 to 16 needles.

Where do you put them?

Sometimes I use needles around the site of the pain or symptom, and other times I use needles away from the site of pain, in order to access movement along the meridian most associated with the patient’s symptoms.

What type of training have you had? What are your credentials?

I have a master’s degree in acupuncture from Maryland University of Integrative Health. A master’s degree in acupuncture at MUIH requires 3 full years of training, including 500 clinical hours.

My doctor (chiropractor) does some acupuncture. What is the difference between what you do and what they do?

The biggest difference between myself and your chiropractor or physical therapist is amount of training. Acupuncturists are trained to determine the underlying reasons that may be causing or contributing to symptoms or pain. Doctors, chiropractors and physical therapists will often needle at the site of pain, however, it benefits the patient if the practitioner uses needles with the understanding of meridian flow and interactions before accessing any points along the body.

How will I know if it is helping? What can I expect from treatment?

Symptom relief is a good way to determine the effectiveness of acupuncture treatment, however, exacerbation of symptoms may occur immediately after a treatment.

I’ll never come for treatment. I’m afraid of needles.

I’m afraid of needles too! Acupuncture needles are much different than hypodermic or traditional medical needles. At least come in to see the needles before dismissing this very beneficial treatment modality.

Does it hurt?

The typical sensations associated with acupuncture treatment are soreness, numbness, heaviness, warmth, cold, swelling or pressure. Some people experience a brief feeling of pain upon insertion, and others experience no pain at all.