A common place where your questions are answered.
Acupuncture is one of the fastest growing health care methods in the United States today. Acupuncture is a form of Oriental Medicine that has been practiced for over 3,000 years. The Chinese believe that there exists an invisible life force referred to as “qi” (pronounced chee) that thrives inside every living organism. When the qi becomes blocked or unbalanced disharmony occurs in the body’s processes. Acupuncture works by balancing any stagnation or disharmony in the qi’s natural flow, which in turn teaches the body to heal itself naturally. This involves the insertion of solid, sterile stainless steel, hair fine flexible needles into the body to help maintain the free flow of the body’s qi.
Through more modern research in the west we now know that acupuncture also assists the body to release endorphins (the body’s own natural pain killers), and balance different hormone levels. Many patients find treatments very relaxing and often report more energy, deeper more restful sleep, and improved mood afterwards. Acupuncture has been recognized as an effective treatment for over forty different disorders by the National Institute of Health (NIH) and the World Health Organization (WHO), some of which include arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome, stress, sleep disturbances, allergies, emotional disorders, and much more.
Acupuncture is safe, natural, drug-free, and most important, effective.
Acupuncture is incredibly safe. Research has shown acupuncture to be 99.8% free from even minor adverse effects (Acupuncture Safety Information). The FDA required acupuncturists to follow strict sterilization guidelines and clean needle techniques. Pre-sterilized acupuncture needles are manufactured, packaged, and shipped in sterilized containers to ensure compliance with the law. Acupuncture needles are one time use and a new package of needles is used for each patient. Very occasionally there may be a minor bruise from treatment, but compared to taking prescription medications or surgery, there are virtually no negative side effects with acupuncture.
The sensation of the needles going into the skin should feel like nothing more than a mild mosquito bite. Often times patients feeling nothing at all with the insertion of the tiny hair-fine needles. After they are inserted the patient may feel a dull distending or tingling sensation that designates the movement of the body’s own natural energy which may have been blocked or imbalanced in a certain area. With some sports acupuncture needling techniques you may feel an achy sensation or a slight twitch in the muscle as the muscle “resets” itself and reinstates any unblocked flow from the nervous system.
Bring any questions you may have, a list of any medications or supplements you may be taking, and any pertinent paperwork / test / MRI / X-ray results or reports that relate to your condition.
Wear loose, comfortable clothing that you can easy pull up to your elbows and knees. We do have gowns and extra sheets that we can have you change into to keep you covered and comfortable during treatments if necessary.
Make sure to eat a small meal within a few hours of the beginning of your treatment. We just don’t want you coming in on a completely empty stomach.
Refrain from working out, overexertion, and drinking alcohol for at least 6 hours after your treatment or for the rest of the day if possible.
Between visits make sure to take note of any changes in your body or symptoms that may have occurred.
The initial session generally takes 60-75 minutes while most subsequent visit take around one hour, so please schedule appointments accordingly.
Every person’s body responds differently to acupuncture. Some people may only need one treatment while others may need ten or more. Typically chronic conditions that you may have been experiencing for more than a few months tend to require more treatments to see optimal and lasting results. Acute conditions may respond very quickly. Often times patients may not see major changes until they have received four to six treatments. For this reason discount packages are offered. The goal is to get your body back into balance so you don’t have to come in for treatments anymore or maybe just “tune up” or maintenance treatments every month or so.
Often times people come in for treatments even when they are not experiencing any symptoms for general wellness, to boost immunity, prevent sickness, or just for general stress relief.
In our experience most patients notice some sort of improvement in some aspect of their health or well being with an acupuncture treatment course. Some patients respond better than others or more quickly than others. Your acupuncturist will spend a fair amount of time with you on your first visit deciphering the best course of treatment for your body’s needs as well as a good prognosis for your specific case. Acupuncture is very individualized and holistic. We take many of your bodies processing and patterns of symptoms into account with your treatment even though a layman or western medical provider may not see them as being interrelated. We do our best to provide you with as much knowledge on nutrition, exercise, and stress relieving measures to help you achieve and maintain optimal health in addition to provide acupuncture.
Plan on spending 60-75 minutes at the office your first visit. We take a thorough investigation looking into your body’s current state of health through questions on your sleep habits, energy and stress level, digestion, menstrual cycle for women, pain levels and locations, spirit, and anything else you would like to discuss. We also perform an acupuncture treatment your first visit to get the healing process started right away. If you would prefer to have a free 15 minutes phone consult before your first treatment call 763-494-9500 for the Minnesota office or 303-552-8722 for the Boulder, Colorado office.
We pride ourselves on getting you the best the longest lasting results possible. Acupuncture does not just purely mask symptoms like western pharmaceutical medication or surgery can. We look for the source or root cause of underlying imbalances that may be contributing to any pain or suffering you may be experiencing. We work with your bodies own healing resources to teach your body to heal itself naturally from the inside out, without negative side effects. This may take a few treatments to achieve optimal and lasting results. Patients often get to a point where they just need to come in for “tune-up” treatments every month or so or even just seasonally to maintain the results of their initial course of acupuncture treatment. We ideally want to get you to where you don’t need to come in for acupuncture treatments unless you just really enjoy it, which many of our patients do. Acupuncture can be beneficial even if you don’t have anything ailing you or just to help relieve stress or provide time for relaxation or quiet meditation.
A licensed acupuncturist, depending on the state, is typically required three to four years in a Master’s Program in either Acupuncture and/or Oriental Medicine from a nationally accredited university. Many acupuncturists also have a Bachelor’s Degree in addition to their Master’s Degree.
In the state of Minnesota acupuncturist are licensed by the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice and must pass national board exams and be certified by the National Certification Commission of Oriental Medicine or NCCAOM. In Colorado acupuncturists are licensed by the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies and must also be certified by the NCCAOM.
A licensed acupuncturist has over 3,000 hours and over 3-4 years of graduate level training and coursework in the study of Chinese Medicine and Western Medicine as well as an extensive internship of practical training. Most acupuncturists in the states of Minnesota and Colorado have already seen over 250 patients and have logged over 720 hours of clinical training working with real patients before graduating.
Although chiropractors have extensive knowledge of the body and typically are required over three years of graduate level education to become a Doctor of Chiropractic or DC, they are required less than 150 hours of additional training in Chinese Medicine to practice acupuncture.
Contrary to popular belief “dry needling” is acupuncture that is performed by a non-licensed acupuncturist practitioner such as a physical therapist with an insufficient amount of training in acupuncture theory and technique. Dry needling can be very painful for the patient and is a controversial form of treatment in the medical and acupuncture community.
We currently do not have a contract with any insurance companies and we cannot bill your insurance directly unless you have seen Lindsay Long, L.Ac. in Minnesota using your Medica benefits previously. We CAN give you a specialized receipt or “superbill” for treatment that you can submit to to your insurance on your own for reimbursement from them directly.
GOOD NEWS: Health Savings Accounts and Flexible Spending Accounts DO reimburse for acupuncture treatments.
In Minnesota and Colorado there are a few insurance carriers that do cover acupuncture due to its cost effectiveness as a treatment therapy for so many different disorders. Please check with your provider to see if you are covered.
Make sure to ask the following questions:
Do you cover acupuncture performed by a licensed acupuncturist?
How many visits per calendar year am I allowed?
Do I need a referral?
Do I have a co-pay?
Do I have a deductible? If yes, has it been met?
Medicare and Medicaid DO NOT cover acupuncture treatments currently, but acupuncturists are currently working with legislation to get this changed.
Think of the money you spend on your acupuncture treatments as an investment in your health. People who receive regular acupuncture treatments typically are sick less often, rely on fewer or no expensive prescription medicines, and miss less work due to illness.