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What is Acupuncture and how does it work?


Qi energy circulates throughout the body along specific pathways called meridians. As long as this energy flows freely, health is maintained. When the flow of energy is blocked due to stress, life-style or other causes, the system is disrupted and pain and illness occur. Acupuncture works to restore normal functions by stimulating certain points on the meridians with fine needles. The specific combination of points is chosen after your TCM practitioner applies in-depth systematic TCM diagnostic techniques, used to address the root cause of your symptoms and identify potential patterns that may cause disease or illness.
The primary focus of TCM is on correcting the underlying cause of an illness or disease and thus producing lasting relief. Symptoms can often be relieved in a matter of hours, or days, but correcting the illness itself is a much longer process. It is important, therefore to take an adequate number of treatments to insure the best results.

Does Acupuncture hurt?

Acupuncture is very different from receiving an injection, since the main source of pain from an injection is the larger diameter, hollow needle and a liquid medication being forced into the tissue by pressure. The sensation produced by an acupuncture needle is much milder than a shot or having blood drawn.
Acupuncture needles are almost as thin as a human hair, are solid and quite flexible. Usually the insertion of acupuncture needles is painless if performed by a skilled practitioner. Some patients report a sense of heaviness or tingling at or around the area where an acupuncture needle is inserted, or merely an increased sense of relaxation.To some, it is similar to the sensation of noticing a mosquito bite as it occurs. Sometimes, you don’t even notice it! But most patients find that the session is quite relaxing and often fall asleep during the treatment.

What is GuaSha?


GuaSha 刮痧 is a Chinese medical treatment that involves using a tool. Gua stands for rubbing or friction. Sha stands for congested or stagnant blood at the surface of the body. When friction is applied in repeated, even strokes, the sha surfaces as small red marks. A tool such as a scraper, coin or piece of Jade can be used to create this effect. GuaSha removes blood stagnation considered pathogenic, promoting normal circulation and metabolic processes. The patient experiences immediate relief from pain, stiffness, fever, chill, cough, nausea, and so on. GuaSha is valuable in the prevention and treatment of acute infectious illness, upper respiratory and digestive problems, and many other acute or chronic disorders.

What is Cupping?


Cupping 拔罐 is an old technique performed in both China and the West. The process traditionally uses glass jars, heated to create a vacuum, and placed on the upper back to relieve acute illnesses such as colds and fevers. Cupping can also be done all over the body to invigorate the flow of Qi and to relieve tension and pain. . This technique can sometimes leave marks on the body as the capillaries near the surface of the skin are affected. These marks generally disappear within 3 or 5days. It is effective in a variety of disorders including pain and improving circulation;and in many conditions where the chi and blood are stagnant (pain) or if the body is under exterior attack (viral cold).

What is Electroacupuncture?


Electroacupuncture is a relatively new method of treatment in Chinese Medicine. Just as in a regular acupuncture treatment, needles are inserted into acupuncture points. Two small clips are then attached to the ends of two needles to connect the needles to an electroacupuncture device that transmits electric frequencies. The device allows the practitioner to adjust the frequency and intensity of the electric stimulation. This technique is relatively painless; patients usually feel only a slight pulsation at the two acupuncture points. The advantage of using electroacupuncture is that it provides extra stimulation for a longer duration of time. A practitioner does not need to manually stimulate the needles. Electroacupuncture is effectively used for pain management, musculoskeletal problems, circulation problems and many other conditions.

Why does my acupuncturist check my pulse and tongue?


Pulse and tongue diagnosis are two of the more important diagnostic tools in Chinese medicine. They are both used to derive a TCM diagnosis for your condition which is used to plan your treatment. Pulse diagnosis is one of the more important tools used in Chinese acupuncture and herbal medicine. While tongue diagnosis provides valuable clinical information, the pulse can be used to gain a deep understanding of the patient on many levels. The pulse provides immediate and specific information that can help clarify contradictory diagnostic information and symptomology

What is Tui Na?


Tuina (Tui Na) is an Oriental Bodywork Therapy that has been used in China for 2,000 years. Tuina (Tui Na) uses the traditional Chinese medical theory of the flow of Qi through the meridians as its basic therapeutic orientation. Through the application of massage and manipulation techniques Tuina (Tui Na) seeks to establish a more harmonious flow of Qi through the system of channels and collaterals, allowing the body the naturally heal itself.
Tuina (Tui Na) methods include the use of hand techniques to massage the soft tissue (muscles and tendons) of the body, acupressure techniques to directly affect the flow of Qi , and manipulation techniques to realign the musculoskeletal and ligamentous relationships (bone-setting). External herbal poultices, compresses, liniments, and salves are also used to enhance the other therapeutic methods.
Tuina (Tui Na) has a variety of different systems that emphasize particular aspects of these therapeutic principles. The rolling method which emphasizes soft tissue techniques and specializes in joint injuries and muscle sprains, the one finger pushing method which emphasizes techniques for acupressure and the treatment of internal diseases, and the bone setting method which emphasizes manipulation methods to realign the musculoskeletal and ligamentous relationships and specializes in joint injuries and nerve pain.
In a typical session, the patient, wearing loose clothing and no shoes, lies on a table. The practitioner examines the specific problems of the patient and begins to apply a specific treatment protocol. The major focus of application is upon specific pain sites, acupressure points, energy meridians, and muscles and joints. Sessions last from 15 -30 minutes. Depending on the specific problems of the patient, they may return for additional treatments. The patient usually feels relaxed but energized by the treatment.

How does the Herbal medicine works?


Today, practitioners of Chinese medicine continue to prescribe herbal formulas because they are a powerful therapeutic method. Chinese Herbal medicine act to reduce problematic symptoms, support immune systems, and bolster the body’s own natural resistance to ease problematic symptoms.
In order to create the most effective formula, the herbs are use in different quantities and for different purpose. This allows the herbalist to create a formula aimed at addressing individual needs.
Within each formula, exits a specific hierarchy of herbs: it is customarily to rank the compositions in four groups when analyzing the role they play in the formula.

Chief Herb:

The ingredient that exerts the major and leading effects in a formula. Generally, chief herbs should constitute the largest proportion of a formula; a competent formula usually only contains one to two principal herbs so that the therapeutic effects can be focused.

Deputy Herb:

Also known as the associate ingredient usually refers to two different functions. One is to support the monarch drug to exert major actions on the body, and the second is to improve and treat the accompanying symptoms or coexisting disharmony pattern. In comparison with the monarch drug, the deputy herb usually has a weaker action.

Assistant Herb:

The ingredients can play one of the following three roles in a formula. One is to reinforce the effects of the monarch or minister drug or to treat the less important coexisting patterns. The second role is to eliminate the toxicity of the monarch and minister ingredients, or modulate their harsh properties, and the third is to provide paradoxical assistance.

Envoy Herbs:

These have two different functions. One is to force the actions of the formula on the target meridian or area of the body; and the second is to harmonize and integrate the effects on other drug.
Chinese herbal formulas combined this way offer specific synergistic actions and effects upon body and minds.
Herbal remedies can be prescribed and taken in number of ways: Raw herbs that are boiled into a tea, liquid extracts, pills or powders, capsules, caplets, tinctures and syrups, as well as externally in the form of creams, salves, oils and liniments.
Chinese herbal medicine can be used to expedite the healing process and strengthen, support or tonify the body. These formulas have the capacity to address the underlying root cause of various medicine conditions. Whether acute or chronic. When prescribed and use correctly, Chinese herbal formulas rarely cause unwarranted side effects.

What Education Training and Examination Requirements do Licensed Acupucturist (L.Ac.) receive?

Acupuncturists receive 4 years of Master of Traditional Chinese Medicine (MTCM) program consisting of over 3208 hours education and training. This training includes Western Sciences (including biochemistry, chemistry, biophysics, anatomy, physiology, medical terminology, Western Physical Exam, medical diagnosis and treatment principles, Western Case Management, Pharmacology and Diet and Nutrition), Chinese medical theory (including TCM theory, TCM diagnosis, acupuncture meridian theory and the location and functions of points, Clinical medicine, Qi Gong, Tai Ji, needling techniques, moxibustion, acupressure, herbology), medical ethics and minimum of 900 hours of clinical training.

What can I expect at my first visit?

Prior to arrival. Please dress in loose and comfortable clothing. It is also important that you refrain from brushing or scraping your tongue as it is part of an important diagnostic technique in Chinese medicine. We are always willing and ready to answer any questions you may have.
Before receiving your first acupuncture treatment, you will need to fill out a few forms to authorize treatment and provide preliminary information. You can fill them out once you arrive at our clinic, or fill out and print our Intake Form before your appointment to save time.
Usually a session runs between a half hour to an hour, although the first visit is often longer. Sarah will discuss your concerns with you, make a diagnosis and discuss treatment. After options have been explored, acupuncture is performed. At the end of the session, Chinese herbal therapies may be prescribed for the patient to use at home. Typically, the majority of the time during a session is spent on the actual performance of acupuncture and related therapies such as Electro-acupuncturecupping or GuaSha.

Will insurance cover my visit MayStar Natural HealthCare Center?

We accept most insurance, including Atena, CIGNA, UnitedHealthCare, Blue Cross, Blue Shield, etc. Eligibility and co-payment for acupuncture varies by plan. Many insurance companies provide coverage for acupuncture, but it is best to check with your insurance company to see exactly what your coverage is. You can always call MayStar Natural HealthCare Center and we can check your coverage for you and if you have coverage, as a a courtesy we will bill your insurance company directly for your services. MayStar Natural HealthCare Center is considered an out-of-network provider for some health insurances but that does not mean that your insurance company will not pay for treatment at MSNHC. The coverage will be different for an out-of-network provider. Reimbursement depends primarily on whether your plan allows coverage for acupuncture. Please contact your insurance provider for more information.

How much of my treatments will be covered by insurance?

Between 30-80% for most PPO insurance plans. Herbs and nutritional supplements are not covered. If you have a Health Savings Account (HSA), usually it will cover all of your treatment(s) and herbal remedies.

Why is the “cash price/non-insurance payment” and the insurance price so different?


Insurance coverage for acupuncture varies greatly. Some pay 30% and some pay up to 80%. Our office bill one set price within the standard ranges for all insurance companies and this rate is higher than our cash rate/non-insurance payment. The cash rate/non-insurance payment is the price we accept due to the time and resources saving when we do not have to go through the hassle of billing, negotiation with insurance and waiting 2-4 weeks (sometimes longer) for payment.