Acupuncture is no different than any other form of medical treatment. Upon the patient's first visit, the practitioner will record basic biographical information about the patient, and will then proceed with the diagnostic framework of Traditional Chinese Medicine, described as the four examinations. These include: observation, listening and smelling, questioning, and touching. Once the diagnosis is complete, the practitioner will discuss the treatment with the patient, and the patient will have an opportunity to ask questions - i.e. how many needles will be used, at which acupoints, possible duration of treatment, complimentary treatments such as herbal medicine, etc.
Acupuncture needles are very thin. Most often, only a slight poke is felt during insertion, if anything at all. The sensation of receiving an acupuncture treatment would rarely be described as painful. Generally the feeling is more of a tingling, or heaviness.Following treatment, it is common for the patient to feel a tremendous sense of relaxation and/or exhilaration.
From the World Health Organization: "Generally speaking, acupuncture treatment is safe if it is performed properly by a well-trained practitioner. Unlike many drugs, it is non-toxic, and adverse reactions are minimal. This is probably one of the chief reasons why acupuncture is so popular in the treatment of chronic pain in many countries. As mentioned previously, acupuncture is comparable with morphine preparations in its effectiveness against chronic pain, but without the adverse effects of morphine, such as dependency."
The total number of treatments required to effect change in a condition varies and is dependent upon the disease, its severity, the duration of the illness, the frequency of the treatments, and the patient. Consultation with an experienced practitioner regarding you and your condition will offer the best guide for the length of treatment. However, as a rough guideline, the maximum benefit is usually obtained after approximately six treatments at weekly intervals. Three more treatments at three month intervals followed by one or two occasional treatments may be recommended to prevent recurrence.
It is not uncommon for a practitioner to suggest that you come in two to three times a week in the first few weeks. This is because each treatment builds on the previous ones, so that the more often you come in at the beginning, the faster you will see improvements. However, we understand that this may be difficult for many people and we will be happy to work with you on the treatment plan that works best for both your health and your schedule.
Yes, children can receive acupuncture and often have excellent results with this treatment. However, in cases where the children are uneasy about the needles, a practitioner may choose to use an acupressure treatment (massage of the acupoints), as opposed to acupuncture.
Many group health insurance plans now offer coverage for acupuncture in Washington State. Balanced Health Acupuncture and Herbs is a preferred provider for Premera BlueCross and Lifewise insurance plans. If you are not covered under one of these plans, we will help you determine if you can still receive benefits from out-of-network providers.