Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What is the scientific basis for acupuncture?
Scientific research is attempting to understand the mechanism of acupuncture. At this point researchers are able to measure activity in specific various body systems when an acupuncture needle is inserted: 1) increase in peripheral blood flow, 2) increase in the neural pain threshold, 3) release of neurochemicals similar to endorphins, 4) increase in T cells and other immune constituents, 5) increased activity at nerve “gates”. Thermal PET scans also show activity in the regions of the brain responsible for “pain” messages. However, the logic of the meridian network continues to elude scientific observation.
Q. What is the traditional theory behind acupuncture?
The meridian network is like a road map superimposed over the body with highways, secondary roads, on and off ramps, etc running throughout the body. One could also think of it in terms of an energetic irrigation system carrying “Qi” (pronounced “chee”, meaning “vital energy”) to nourish all areas of the body. The smooth flow of Qi is essential for good health and for healing. When the flow of Qi becomes obstructed, like a kink in the garden hose, symptoms can occur. Restoring the flow of Qi through the meridians using acupuncture helps bring the body back into balance and facilitates the natural healing process.
Q. Does acupuncture hurt?
Many people are surprised how pleasant an acupuncture session feels. In fact, most people fall asleep and wake up refreshed. There are a variety of sensations that you can feel during a session. Your acupuncture physician will discuss them with you so that you are comfortable with the process.
Q. Is acupuncture the only kind of therapy available?
We also do Chinese herbal medicine and other modalities such as cupping with Shiatsu/Tuina and medical yoga/meditation consults. There are other ways to help patients recover besides acupuncture. A therapy plan can be made without the use of acupuncture at the patient’s request.
Q. What about the herbs or supplements you may be recommending?
Chinese herbs combine synergistically with acupuncture and have been safely used for over 5000 years to accelerate the healing process. The companies we use offer the highest quality ingredients and products are subject to stringent testing and are FDA and GMP compliant. Like acupuncture, herbs work best when taken consistently at the recommended dose. Any recommended dietary supplements are based on modern research and we stock only the highest quality brands. You may also find other brands elsewhere and are free to purchase your herbs and supplements wherever you choose.
Q. How can I get the most out of my sessions?
The positive effects of acupuncture begin right away at your first visit, but tend to be somewhat temporary at first and any initial improvements usually slide back within hours or days. As we progress through a course of acupuncture therapy, the amount of symptom relief and the time period of increased wellness following each session will become more pronounced, until your body holds the changes on its own. It is important to be consistent with frequent visits at the beginning of care in order to build momentum and hold the gains we make from visit to visit.
Q. How long will it take to feel better?
Some benefit can be experienced by most patients even after the first session. We ask our patients to make a commitment to their acupuncture therapy plan and to have realistic expectations of this system of medicine. While some patients obtain quick relief from only a few visits, most patients require 2-6 weeks to make significant changes, followed by weekly visits for another 4-8 weeks to consolidate gains made and prevent relapse. While acute conditions may resolve within just a few visits, chronic conditions that have persisted for many years may take several dozens of treatments over a long period of time to completely resolve. Session frequency and the total number required depend on a variety of factors, for example your constitution as well as the duration and severity of the problem. An initial course of therapy is 6 sessions before there is a re-evaluation.
Q. What is acute care?
Most patients seek therapy because they are in enough discomfort to do something about it. We cluster visits close together during this acute phase to reduce the level of symptoms as quickly as possible.
Q. What is corrective care?
Once we have brought the level of discomfort down, we begin to lengthen the interval of time between visits. Continuing care through this phase allows the healing process to occur and helps the body to consolidate the positive effects of the acupuncture so that backsliding does not occur. During this phase it is common to want to “test it out” or overdo because of the relative absence of discomfort. However, it is important to remember that although the pain is lessened, the healing process is still unfolding and the body is vulnerable to re-injury or re-aggravation of symptoms
Q. What is wellness care?
Many patients find it helpful to come in for a “tune-up” session every so often as we can often identify and treat imbalances in meridian flow before they become problematic. Patients with chronic conditions or symptoms that tend to recur may also require an ongoing maintenance interval. This can vary from weekly to monthly visits.
Q. How should I schedule my appointments?
If there is a time of day that works best for your appointments, we encourage you to schedule several visits in advance to hold your ideal appointment times. If you need to cancel an appointment, please give advance notice so that we may give that time to other patients. We ask that you reschedule promptly so that a long absence does not interrupt the rhythm of your care.
Q. Do you have any recommendations for before and after my visits?
You should arrive 15 minutes early for your first visit to fill out an initial intake form like any other medical practitioner’s office. During the initial exam, a full health history will be taken and various diagnostic procedures will be performed before any therapy is done. The initial appointment could last up to 90 minutes with follow up exams lasting up to an hour. We suggest having a meal within a couple of hours before your visits, or at least a snack on the way to the clinic. Additionally, we suggest refraining from intense physical activity, sex, alcohol or caffeine for 4 hours after each visit. You may prefer to bring shorts or wear loose pants that come above your knees comfortably, as this style of acupuncture tends to utilize points on the hands/forearms/elbows and feet/lower legs/knees.
Q. Will my insurance cover acupuncture?
We can check your insurance policy to see if acupuncture is covered. If it is covered, we can tell you your insurance benefits and bill your insurance company for you. If it is not covered, full payment is due at the time of service.
“Root Healing Wellness is between Clearwater and Palm Harbor. We focus on the healing modalities of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), medical yoga and meditation. Please contact us for more information.”