FAQ – Patient Information

 

Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine

The initial visit can last from 80-90 minutes depending on the complexity of the problem. We will discuss your chief complaint, do a full review of systems, perform a physical exam (if needed) and talk about your goals for the treatment.

​ Please try to wear loose fitting clothing since acupuncture, cupping, gua sha, and tui na do involve palpation and the treatment of various parts of the body. There is draping provided to ensure modesty. Subsequent treatments will include a brief intake that lasts about 60 minutes.

​ THINGS TO AVOID:
​ Eating a large meal an hour before your appointment
​ Fasting for more than 8 hours before your appointment
​ Vigorous exercise/activities within the hour of the appointment
​ Alcohol, tobacco, or coffee immediately prior to your appointment
Acupuncture has been shown to have the ability to change the physiological and biochemical processes of the body. Inserting needles in specific acupuncture points help stimulate sensory receptors that send impulses to the brain (hypothalamic-pituitary axis). The stimulation will trigger different neurotransmitters and endorphins, the body's natural pain-killing hormones.
Acupuncture is a highly safe form of physical medicine but there are a few risks. These include bruising, fainting, muscle spasms, bleeding, nerve damage (very rare) and punctured organs (extremely rare). The most common side effect is bruising, but it should go away after a few days.
DO THE ACUPUNCTURE NEEDLES HURT?
There is mild sensitivity during the insertion of acupuncture needles. Shown below is a picture of fine acupuncture needles that are different from standard injection needles. Actual insertion is suppose to be done fairly quickly. Some will feel nothing at all, and others may experience a brief moment of discomfort, sometimes followed by a sensation of achiness, cramping, tingling or numbness (this is completely normal and sometimes desirable).

The standard width of a needle used to administer vaccinations ranges in thickness from 0.50 millimeters to 0.70 millimeters. This is the same width as lead used in mechanical pencils!

In contrast, the needles used in acupuncture are far smaller, with the thickest needle being a little more than half the thickness of a hypodermic needle used in vaccines. Here is a photo of typical needles used in an acupuncture treatment. The left side shows Japanese, or Seirin, needles and the right side shows Chinese needles. In my practice, I use Seirin needles ranging in thickness from 0.16 millimeters to 0.20 millimeters. I also use Chinese needles ranging in thickness from 0.20 millimeters to 0.30 millimeters. For some perspective, the width of a human hair is roughly 0.10 millimeters.


HOW DEEP DO THE NEEDLES GO?
Most acupuncture points are located on or close to the skin's surface. Needles can be inserted from 1/16 to an inch or so deep. Depth of insertion depends on the anatomy of the location, the patient's size, age and constitution as well the the style of the acupuncturist's training.

ARE THE NEEDLES STERILE?
Yes, all licensed acupuncturists have been certified in Clean Needle Technique and only use single-use sterilized disposable needles.

IS ACUPUNCTURE SAFE FOR PREGNANT PATIENTS?
Yes, in fact acupuncture can be very beneficial for pre-natal patients, assist with the preparation of delivery/labor and post-labor. Licensed acupuncturists are trained to know which acupuncture points are contra-indicated during pregnancy and how to safely manage pregnant patients.
Acupuncture and TCM treats a variety of complaints that includes but is not limited to the following:
  • Gynecological Disorders (menstrual cramps, PCOS, menopausal symptoms, infertility, etc)
  • Anxiety, depression
  • Pre-natal symptoms (nausea & vomiting, sciatica symptoms, etc.)
  • Insomnia
  • Headaches/Migraines
  • Stress, PTSD
  • Low back pain, neck pain, sciatica, knee pain, TMJ (temporal-mandibular) pain, tennis elbow, and sprains
  • Allergic rhinitis, hay fever
  • Adverse reactions to radiation or chemotherapy
  • Acute or Chronic gastritis
  • Post-operative pain
Dry-needling has been developed over the recent years to primarily treat trigger point pain. Dry-needling certification courses require about 30 hours or less of training compared to the Masters of Science of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine that requires over 2,000 hours of clinical training. This includes the theory behind the acupuncture points, human anatomy, accurate point location and needling under supervision. Although some acupuncture points are located over motor points, they are used in combination with other points made to treat the whole body and not just the symptoms.

Treatment Sessions and Costs

HOW MANY TREATMENT SESSIONS DO I NEED?
The frequency and number of treatment sessions will obviously vary depending on the condition. The more chronic it is, the longer it may take the receive the maximum benefit. Acute conditions will usually require less time but high frequency in the beginning, while chronic conditions will require a higher frequency of treatment sessions. After the initial consultation, the acupuncturist will provide you with a treatment plan based on your individual needs.

A typical session may consist of 6-10 visits, once or twice a week initially. The sessions can last anywhere from 30 minutes to 80 minutes each session.

HOW LONG DO APPOINTMENTS LAST?
Length of apointments can vary depending on the complexity of your condition. However, the first visit will be the longest (70-90 minutes) while subsequent visits can be typically be from 30-60 minutes long.

HOW WILL I FEEL AFTER ACUPUNCTURE?
Patients normally feel calm and relaxed after their treatment. Some people may feel tired or drowsy if the experience is strong and they've never had acupuncture before. It is important to take a few minutes to sit quietly and drink some water for after your initial sessions. Stretching or walking is recommended afterwards and it would be a good idea to avoid big meals, alcohol or stressful situations afterwards.

DO I HAVE TO HAVE ANY SERIOUS AILMENTS TO BE TREATED BY ACUPUNCTURE OR TCM?
No, the great thing about acupuncture and traditional chinese medicine in general is that it treats each person different based on their own disharmonies and imbalances. You do not have to have a serious complaint or painful condition to be treated with acupuncture. Getting maintenance treatment afterwards is highly recommended to keep your body in balance and healthy from today's modern stresses.
SHOULD I TELL MY DOCTOR?
Keeping an open line of communication is always good and it should be encouraged to let your doctor know about your intention with acupuncture. It is also important to let your acupuncturist know if there are any changes to medication or if you have receiving any other treatments as this may change your acupuncture treatment.

It is also possible that you may need a referral script from your primary to receive acupuncture based on your insurance policy. Please check with your insurance provider if you need a referral script.

SHOULD I KEEP TAKING MY PRESCRIBED MEDICATIONS?
Yes, it is important that you discuss with your primary care or other practitioner who prescribed the medication about changing the dosage of your medication. Do not stop taking the medication without professional guidance.
HOW MUCH DOES ACUPUNCTURE COST?
The cost of treatment depends on the types of therapy needed and length of therapy needed. It is important to us that you find the right fit with an acupuncturist where the ability to pay should not be a factor if you seriously need treatment. We are competitively priced within the area. You can always send an email or contact us if you have any questions about pricing, we would be happy to work with you.

DO YOU ACCEPT INSURANCE?
As of right now, the acupuncturist is in-network with Carefirst BCBS. Dr. Khanita also accepts most PPO insurances. If you have an insurance plan that covers out-of-network acupuncture and related services, then we can provide you with a submittable "Super-bill" to receive reimbursement from your carrier after you have paid our fee(s). You can email or call us if you are unsure about your coverage.

We recommend that you check with your insurance about your coverage to avoid any confusion. You can call the number on the back of your insurance card and ask the following questions:
  • Is acupuncture covered in my plan?
  • Do I need a referral script required from my PCP or pre-authorization?
  • Am I limited to specific conditions or diagnostic codes? If so, what are those codes?
  • Is there an annual deductible or out of network deductible I need to meet? If so, how much is the deductible and how much has been met so far?
  • If I am covered for acupuncture, then may I receive written proof/authorization?
  • Is there a maximum number of visits for acupuncture yearly or maximum yearly allowance?
  • What percentage is covered for acupuncture?

© 2019 – Khanita Suvarnasuddhi at Araya Holistic Pain Management