IS ACUPUNCTURE COVERED BY HEALTH INSURANCE? Call your insurance provider to inquire about your out-of-network acupuncture benefits. Currently, there are very few insurance plans that cover acupuncture, if yours does, it may be for a very specific ailment(s). With most policies, acupuncture treatments are eligible for reimbursement from a flexible spending account (FSA) or a medical health savings account (HSA), we will happily work with you to create the proper invoices for you to submit.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST? Because you are unique, there is no easy way to give an exact amount. When you schedule a consultation, Dr. Tricia will use her 10+ years of experience to determine a custom treatment plan for you.
HOW MANY TREATMENTS WILL I NEED? The number of treatments needed differs from person to person. When you come in for a consultation, Dr. Tricia will devise a custom treatment plan that is appropriate for why you are coming in. For complex or long-standing conditions, two or three treatments a week for several months may be recommended. For acute problems, typically fewer visits are required, one to two treatments for a few weeks until the problem resolves, but it all depends on how your body responds. On very rare occasions, a ‘miracle’ is performed after only one session, but most treatment plans require more for lasting results. The ultimate goal is to get you feeling better, and back to the activities you love. Most people enjoy receiving acupuncture treatments, so they will continue scheduling "maintenance" appointments even after their original complaint has been resolved. HOW DOES IT WORK? The classical Chinese explanation is that channels of energy run in regular patterns through the body and over its surface. These energy channels, called meridians, are like rivers flowing through the body to irrigate and nourish the tissues. An obstruction in the movement of these energy rivers is like a dam that backs up in others (pain). The meridians can be influenced by needling specific acupuncture points; the acupuncture needles unblock the obstructions at the dams, and reestablish the regular flow through the meridians. Acupuncture treatments can therefore help the body’s internal organs to correct imbalances in their digestion, energy production activities, and in the circulation of their energy through the meridians. The modern scientific explanation is that needling the acupuncture points stimulates the nervous system to release chemicals in the muscles, spinal cord, and brain. These chemicals will either change the experience of pain, or they will trigger the release of other chemicals and hormones which influence internal regulating systems. The improved energy and biochemical balance produced by acupuncture results in stimulating the body’s natural healing abilities, and in promoting physical and emotional well-being.
ARE THERE ANY SIDE EFFECTS? Not usually. As energy is redirected in the body, internal chemicals and hormones are stimulated and healing begins to take place, and most people report that they feel a new state of relaxation. Occasionally the original symptoms worsen for a few days, but tend to feel better afterward. Other noticeable changes may be in appetite, sleep, bowel patterns, or emotional states. These should not cause concern, as they are simply indications that the acupuncture is starting to work. It is quite common with the first one or two treatments to have a sensation of deep relaxation or even mild disorientation immediately following the treatment. These pass within a short time, and never require anything more than a bit of rest or a large glass of water to overcome.
WHAT ARE THE NEEDLES LIKE? DO THEY HURT? People experience acupuncture needling differently. Most patients feel only small prick or itch sensation as the needles are inserted, like a bug bite, or a hair being plucked. Once the needles are in place, you will be surprised that you don’t feel them at all. Acupuncture needles are very thin and solid made from stainless steel, about the size of a dog or cat whisker. The point is smooth (not hollow with cutting edges like a hypodermic needle) and insertion through the skin is not as painful as receiving a shot, or having blood drawn. All needles are single use, disposable needles, so there is no risk of infection from the treatments.
DOES ACUPUNCTURE REALLY WORK? Yes. In the past 5,000+ years, more people have been successfully treated with acupuncture than with all other health modalities combined. Acupuncture treatments can be given at the same time other techniques are being used, such as conventional western medicine, physical therapy, or chiropractic adjustments. It is important that your physician and acupuncturist know everything that you are doing, so she can help you get the most benefit from all your treatments.
WHAT KIND OF TRAINING DOES AN ACUPUNCTURIST HAVE? Generally, acupuncturists obtain a Master’s degree in Acupuncture (M. Ac.) or a Master's degree in Oriental Medicine (M.OM) after completing a graduate level program at an accredited acupuncture school. Most programs involve 3-4 years of intense training in both Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and modern western medicine in addition to almost 1000 hours of hands-on clinical training. Upon completion, graduates are able to sit for four national board exams given by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). After successful completion of the boards the NCCAOM confers the title of Diplomate in Acupuncture (Dipl. Ac.) or Diplomate of Oriental Medicine (Dipl. OM) and depending on the state, the acupuncturist will then have to apply with the board of medicine for a license to legally practice within their state.
WHAT DO THE CREDENTIALS STAND FOR? In Florida, when you have completed all of the requirements determined by the state, you are granted the credentials Acupuncture Physician (AP). You may refer to an AP doctor if you choose. In other states and countries, Lic. Ac. refers to Licensed Acupuncturist, or R. Ac. refers to Registered Acupuncturist. Different states and countries have different requirements for licensure, but within the United States, all practitioners are required to pass the national board exams before applying for a state license. Some states require two exams while others require all four.
WHO ELSE CAN PRACTICE ACUPUNCTURE? Medical doctors (MD’s), as well as chiropractors (DC's), are able to incorporate medical acupuncture into their practice. These practitioners use basic TCM theory, with approximately 900 hours of training and clinical experience. Some massage therapists and physical therapists advertise a technique called dry needling. Therapists insert needles ‘similar’ to acupuncture needles into various trigger points and do not follow TCM principles. A therapist can participate in as little as a 3 day workshop to become certified in dry needling. Acupuncturist are also trained to needle into pain areas or trigger points, we call these Ah Shi points. So essentially, all acupuncturists do dry needling, but not all practitioners of dry needling can perform acupuncture.
DO I HAVE TO BELIEVE IN ACUPUNCTURE FOR IT TO WORK? No. Acupuncture is used successfully on cats, dogs, horses and other animals. These animal patients do not understand or believe in the process that helps them get better. A positive attitude toward wellness may reinforce the effects of the treatment received, just as a negative attitude may hinder the effects of acupuncture or any other treatment. A neutral attitude (“I don’t know if I really believe in this.”) will not block the treatment results.
WHAT SHOULD I WEAR? Loose fitting comfortable clothing. Depending on what you are coming in for, will determine which points will be used, back pain will have some points on the back, hip pain will have points on the hip, etc. For most acupuncture treatments, points are located below the knee, and around the wrist. If you wear shorts or yoga pants that can comfortably be pulled up will be fine. For cosmetic acupuncture, wear a shirt that can easily expose your neck to the collar bone, or be prepared to be draped.
DO YOU TIP AN ACUPUNCTURIST? No. Just like you would not tip your favorite nurse, dental hygienist, or optician, we consider ourselves medical professionals and do not expect tips.
Glacier Blue Acupuncture 6559 N Wickham Rd C-103 Melbourne, FL 32940