Common Questions About Acupuncture

Does it hurt? I’m afraid of needles. What options are there for me?

Most people experience some sensation with acupuncture, but it’s different for everyone. Most people feel something. Unlike the needles used for blood draws and shots, acupuncture needles are solid and extremely thin so that they move quickly past the part of the skin with nerves. When the needle arrives at the actual acupuncture point, there is often a gentle aching sensation, called “de qi” or “grabbing the qi.” 

I use a variety of needle sizes to accommodate different levels of sensitivity. For people who are very sensitive to needles, we can use a minimal number of needles in a session or use hands-on methods instead. 


How should I prepare for a treatment?

Be sure that you’ve eaten on the day of a treatment. Wear loose, comfortable clothing for access to points (there are gowns and sheets for draping should you need). Plan to spend the rest of your day exercising moderation with food, exercise, alcohol, or other exertion. Make notes of any changes you notice between treatments and bring any questions you have!


Is it covered by insurance? Do you accept FSA and HSA payments?

Several health insurance plans cover acupuncture and manual (hands-on) therapy. I am in network with Providence and PacificSource. As a courtesy, I offer out-of-network billing for United, Moda, Aetna, Motor Vehicle Accident claims, and other plans. HSA and FSA cards are accepted.

At this time, I cannot bill Kaiser, CHP or Oregon Health Plan but if requested, I can provide a statement for you to submit to insurance for out-of-pocket reimbursement. 

Please be aware that many plans have separate deductibles (and some have separate co-pays) for acupuncture and manual therapy. I recommend verifying your benefits information to find out what your plan covers.


Do you reuse needles?

Never. Acupuncture needles are sterile and are placed in a biohazard container after a single use.


Can it be used with other medications or therapies? Is it safe?

Absolutely. Acupuncture, herbal medicine and craniosacral therapy are wonderful complements to other healthcare, including but not limited to naturopathy, psychotherapy, physical therapy, chiropractic, and other conventional treatments such as chemotherapy, psychiatric medication, and other pharmaceutical medications. 

Acupuncture is widely accepted as a safe intervention with few side effects when practiced by licensed practitioners. Regular side effects may include a small ache that lingers at the site of a point or small bruising, but significant side effects are extremely rare. It is a therapy currently used at the Mayo Clinic, the Cleveland Clinic, and in the United States military. 


How long does it take to work?

I expect to see progress within 4-6 treatments, though some acute conditions resolve more quickly.  The length of a course of treatment depends on many factors, including how long a condition has been going on, the desired outcome, an individual’s pre-existing health conditions, and lifestyle factors. Once a condition is resolved, monthly visits are a good baseline for maintenance and overall vitality. 


How Can I Help You?

Connect with me to find out how I can help. I offer all new clients a free 20-minute consultation.