TCM FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW FOR MY INITIAL VISIT?
Be sure to eat something light an hour or two before arriving – don’t arrive on a completely empty stomach or having just eaten a large meal. Try to avoid the intake of caffeine or pain medications for at least several hours before you come. Bring a list of any medications or supplements which you are currently taking.
WHAT ARE THE NEEDLES LIKE?
Only sterile, disposable needles are used so there is no risk of infection. Acupuncture needles are small and hair-thin. They are solid, not hollow like needles used by doctors. The end of an acupuncture needle is smooth and rounded. Acupuncture needles are not designed to cut the skin. Instead, when an acupuncture needle is inserted, the round edge pushes the tissue aside without cutting it. Acupuncture needles are so thin it’s as if they can glide through the spaces between the individual cells of the body.
DOES IT HURT?
People experience needling differently. There are different styles of needling. I insert the needle gently under the skin, and the qi will rise to the needle. Acupuncture needles I insert are rarely described as painful, and can be quickly adjusted if the patients does feel discomfort. If any sensation is experienced during insertion, it is often compared to a mosquito bite and disappears very quickly. Once the needles are inserted, they may be manipulated to obtain a mild “Qi” sensation. This is how an acupuncturist engages the energy in your body in order to help balance it. Often people describe their sensations as warming, heavy, numb or tingling. I take great care to make my clients very comfortable so that they can relax while the needles are in place. The more you can relax during an acupuncture treatment, the better the results. Many people even fall asleep during treatment. Following treatment it is common to feel a tremendous sense of relaxation and calm.
DO I HAVE TO BELIEVE IN ACUPUNCTURE FOR IT TO WORK?
No. Acupuncture works whether or not you think it will. Acupuncture is even used successfully on animals and children. They do not understand or believe in the process yet they get better anyway. A positive attitude helps with any type of therapy but it is not necessary to believe in acupuncture (or to feel it working) for it to work. Since positive expectations and belief in a particular therapy help to increase therapeutic results, I encourage you to raise any concerns or doubts you may have about acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine. I’d like to help you to better understand acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine so that you may have the most positive healing experience possible. You are invited to contact me today, and I will personally respond to any questions or comments promptly.
WHAT ARE THE CHINESE HERBS?
In East Asia, people have been using natural herbs to treat a wide variety of diseases and conditions. These herbs are called herbal medicine, which are composed of roots, bark, flowers, seeds, fruits, leaves, and branches. It is well known that Traditional Chinese Medicine has over 3000 years history and Chinese herb medicine is one of most important part of Traditional Chinese Medicine which also includes acupuncture.
HOW DO CHINESE HERBS DIFFER FROM WESTERN MEDICINE?
Chinese herbal formulas work to not only help relieve symptoms, but to help return the body to balance and equilibrium, so that herbs will not be needed further. That is why we often modify the herbs as treatment continues, since the body starts to shift towards being healthier, and therefore the herbs are modified to meet the changing needs of the body.
CAN I TAKE CHINESE HERBS WHEN I AM ON MEDICATION?
It depends on the medications you are taking. This would have to be evaluated on a case by case basis.
HOW QUICKLY CAN I EXPECT TO FEEL BETTER?
In general, I tell my patients they should start to feel the benefits from acupuncture in 2-3 treatments. If the problem is acute, sometimes improvement is felt after 1 treatment, and may only need 3-5 treatments to resolve. If the problem is chronic and long term, it may take a many treatments to help resolve.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD I BE TREATED?
Typically I treat patients once a week. If the condition is acute and painful, I may want to do treatments 2-3 times per week for the first couple of weeks. The benefits of acupuncture treatments tend to hold longer as you receive treatments, so what typically happens is that my patients start to need to see me less and less, so after a while they only come only periodically for maintenance.
DOES ACUPUNCTURE ALWAYS HELP?
No, but it usually does. If you do not feel any benefit after 3-5 treatments, then acupuncture may not work for you.
DOES INSURANCE COVER ACUPUNCTURE?
Medical Services Plan of BC (MSP) funding for acupuncture treatment is available for people receiving premium assistance (family income below $30,000). MSP pays for a combined annual limit of 10 visits for acupuncture treatment, massage therapy, physiotherapy, chiropractic, naturopathy and non-surgical podiatry. MSP covers$23.00 per visit and for your convenience. We bill MSP directly. You are charged for the balance of your treatment fees.
Extended health benefits vary from plan to plan and usually coverage for acupuncture therapy is between 70-100% of treatment fees. Some plans offer a dollar amount per year instead of a percentage. Please check your benefits booklet or contact your insurance provider in order to be clear on the details of your coverage.