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What is acupuncture?


In essence, acupuncture activates the body’s natural ability to heal itself.  By inserting needles into the body, acupuncturists cause very minor damage to the body’s tissue.  This minor damage tricks the body into activating a natural healing response, yet the damage is small enough to avoid causing bodily harm.  Simultaneous reactions within the central nervous system, circulatory system, and endocrine system allow acupuncture to deliver strong, lasting effects.


What does Acupuncture treat?


Acupuncture is recognized by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the World Health Organization (WHO) as effective in treating:


  • Chronic and Acute Pain - injuries, headaches, neck and back pain, tendonitis, sciatica, carpal tunnel syndrome, fibromyalgia

  • Neurological Disorders - post-stroke recovery, Bell's Palsy & Trigeminal Neuralgia, movement disorders

  • Upper Respiratory Disorders - asthma, allergies, bronchitis, sinusitis, sore throat, laryngitis, colds, flu

  • Digestive Disorders - irritable bowel syndrome, colitis, constipation, diarrhea, gastritis, heartburn, food allergies, ulcers

  • Urinary and Reproductive Disorders - UTIs, menstrual cramps, irregular or heavy periods, infertility, menopausal symptoms

  • Immune Function - recurrent infections, supportive treatment of cancer and AIDS patients

  • Addictions - nicotine, alcohol, drugs

  • Eye and Ear Disorders - Tinnitus, Meniere's disease

  • Depression, Anxiety, and Insomnia


In 1997, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) conducted a scientific review of acupuncture.  Through an analysis of random, controlled, clinical trials, the NIH determined that acupuncture effectively:

  • releases endorphins within the body (substances that inhibit pain),

  • regulates endocrine functions in the body,

  • increases circulation, and

  • enhances the body’s immune function.

What will happen in an acupuncture session?


During your initial exam, a full health history will be taken by your practitioner.  Questions will be asked regarding your symptoms, general health, and lifestyle.  Your acupuncturist may also check your pulse, observe your tongue, and possibly conduct a physical exam.  Your personal information will then be compiled, to create a complete, accurate, and comprehensive diagnosis of imbalances which exist in your body.  After this interview process, you will receive an acupuncture treatment.  An acupuncture appointment typically lasts 30-90 minutes.

Why is it necessary for my acupuncturist to feel my pulse?


There are 12 pulse positions on each of your wrists, each of which corresponds to a specific organ.  Using these pulse positions, your acupuncturist checks 27  individual qualities, as a reflection of your overall health.  If there are problems, they may appear in your pulse.


Why does my acupuncturist want to look at my tongue?


In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the tongue is seen as a map of the body.  Your acupuncturist will observe the color, shape, cracks, and coating of your tongue, to determine the general health of your internal organs.  Please do not scrape your tongue before your acupuncture visit.


How many acupuncture treatments will I need to see results?


For optimal results, two to three acupuncture treatments per week are recommended, for the first month.  Once existing imbalances have been addressed, monthly visits or seasonal “tune-ups” should be sufficient for personal health maintenance.  The exact number of treatments required for results will vary from person to person.  Some people experience immediate relief, whereas others may take months, or even years, to achieve results.  Chronic conditions usually take longer to resolve than acute conditions.  Plan on a minimum of 30 days to see significant changes and progress.  Treatment frequently depends on a variety of factors, including your constitution, the severity and duration of the problem(s), your diet, and your general lifestyle.


Do the acupuncture needles hurt?


Normally, acupuncture does not hurt.  Instead of pain, acupuncture generally produces some kind of sensation at the site of needling, such as slight numbness, warmth, heaviness, tingling, or a dull ache.  The moment when a person feels an acupuncture point working is known as the “arrival of Qi” and is a sign that the treatment is working.  If you feel sharpness beyond the level of a mild mosquito bite, tell your acupuncturist immediately, and he or she will adjust or remove the needle.  Generally speaking, acupuncture should be a comfortable process; remember that your practitioner needs your input, to ensure you enjoy a relaxing experience.


Is acupuncture safe?


Acupuncture is an all-natural, drug-free therapy which yields no side effects (save an occasional bruise at the insertion site).  The stainless steel needles used in acupuncture are pre-sterilized and are disposed of after each treatment.  Acupuncture, as practiced throughout North America, has one of the best safety records of any form of health care, which has made it a preferred choice of health care for pregnant women, the elderly, and children.


Will my insurance cover acupuncture treatments?


Mulberry Leaf accepts most PPO plans at the out-of-network level.  We will gladly check your insurance coverage for acupuncture care and bill your insurance.  Additionally, most medical flex spending accounts can be used for acupuncture.  If your insurance does not cover acupuncture, we offer a time-of-service discount, as well as discounted packages to those who are under-insured.


What type of training do acupuncturists go through?


Today, acupuncturists receive three to five years of extensive, graduate-level training, at a nationally accredited school.  In order to practice in his or her respective state, each acupuncturist must pass either a state or national exam, as well as adhere to strict guidelines.


Why choose acupuncture?


Acupuncture, as it falls under the umbrella of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), is one of the most holistic medical systems available today.  Acupuncture uses unique diagnostic and treatment methods to treat the root of the problem, rather than acting as a “bandaid” to simply cover up the real issue(s) within the body.  With an emphasis on preventive healthcare, and with virtually zero side effects, acupuncture relies on natural resources to successfully address physical, mental, and emotional disorders.  For those seeking an empowering, cost-effective, natural, and proven form of healthcare, acupuncture is an ideal fit.

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