What conditions are commonly treated by acupuncture?

Chronic Disease –  obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, premature aging, chronic fatigue
Psycho-emotional –  depression, anxiety, PTSD, insomnia, stress, grief
Addiction –  drug dependence, opiates, nicotine, stop smoking, alcohol, food, sugar
Pain –  back, neck, hip, knee, tennis elbow, fibromyalgia, arthritis, migraines, TMJ,
Neurological – restless leg syndrome, Bell’s palsy, neuralgia, peripheral neuropathy
Respiratory – asthma, cough, allergies, sinus congestion, sore throat
Digestive – IBS, constipation, diarrhea, gas, bloating, gastritis, GERD, indigestion,
Circulatory –palpitations, hypertension, high cholesterol, stroke, anemia, edema, dizziness
Reproductive – PMS, fertility, erectile dysfunction, menopause, painful periods, fibroids
Urinary – urinary tract infection (UTI), kidney stones, stress incontinence
Regenerative – post surgery, sports injury, car accident, common cold, illness

How should I prepare for a treatment?

  • Write down and bring any questions you have.
  • Bring any lab work or test results relevant to your condition.
  • Wear loose, comfortable clothing for easy access to acupuncture points.
  • Avoid eating a heavy meal, skipping a meal or drinking alcohol before coming to your appointment.
  • Refrain from overexertion, working out, drugs or alcohol for up to six hours after the visit.
  • Avoid stressful situations. Make time to relax, and be sure to get plenty of rest.
  • Let us know if you have issues with blood clotting, a pace maker, or may be pregnant.

Between visits, take notes of any changes that may have occurred, such as the alleviation of pain, pain moving to other areas, or changes in the frequency and type of problems.

How does it feel?
Different sensations such as soreness, numbness, distending, warmth and pressure may be felt, but the energetic sensation differs from pain. Some points are more sensitive and people may feel a slight prick upon insertion, but the sensation usually dissipates within a few seconds. People often comment that the feeling is unfamiliar but pleasant and relaxing. Some people nod off for a deep and refreshing nap.

What if I’m afraid of needles?
Acupuncture needles are very fine, about the size of a thick hair. They are solid and nothing is injected through them. Over the centuries, refined needle insertion techniques have been developed which enable the skilled acupuncture practitioner to place a needle with little or no sensation. Let’s talk about your fears to so we can find an appropriate treatment strategy that we can be agreed upon.

Is acupuncture safe?
Acupuncturists, by law, are required to use only FDA-approved, single-use needles that have been sterilized by the manufacturer prior to packaging.  After your treatment, the needles are disposed of in a “sharps” medical waste disposal container.  Furthermore, all acupuncturists are nationally certified in Clean Needle Technique by the CCAOM (Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine). Clean Needle Technique is the standard way in which acupuncture is practiced in order to keep patients and practitioners safe.

What if I don’t believe in acupuncture?
The idea that acupuncture only works as a placebo is one of the biggest misconceptions about acupuncture.  You don’t have to believe in acupuncture for it to work.  Studies have shown acupuncture to be very effective in treating a number of conditions in humans, as well as animals such as horses, dogs, and cats.  Animals are incapable of actually “believing” in acupuncture, yet it still works very well for them.  Testing for an acupuncture placebo in humans is much more challenging.  However, there have been studies conducted at major universities that have concluded that acupuncture acts as more than just a placebo.  For more on this subject, please review the following articles:
Acupuncture ‘more than a placebo’  
New Studies Confirm Acupuncture Relieves Pain   
University of Vermont Study First to Confirm Acupuncture’s Effect

What will my acupuncturist do?
During the initial exam a full health history will be taken. Questions will be asked regarding symptoms, health and lifestyle. Your acupuncturist also may check pulses and your tongue and may conduct a physical exam. This information is then organized to create a complete, accurate and comprehensive diagnosis of where Qi has become blocked or imbalanced. After the interview process, you may receive an acupuncture treatment.

How many sessions will I need?
Since each person is unique, the number of treatments needed will vary. Among the determining factors are the type of condition, whether the condition is chronic or acute, and the vitality of the individual. Again, you should discuss your treatment program with your acupuncturist.

How often will I need to come?
I usually recommend two sessions a week for the first two to three weeks. After reviewing the progress of treatment, we cut back to one to two sessions a week for the following weeks for anywhere from 8-12 treatments for any given condition. Acute cases tend to respond quicker. Chronic conditions can talk much longer. It entirely depends on the physical condition of each individual.

How long is a session?
We leave ninety minutes for your first visit so that we have plenty of time to assess your condition and address any concerns you have. Follow up visits can be anywhere from thirty minutes to one hour.

Will I need to stop taking other medications?
No. You should continue to follow your current physician’s instructions. Please remember that acupuncture is used to complement and supplement your physician’s treatments not to replace them. You should discuss this issue with your physician and acupuncturist.

Is acupuncture covered by medical insurance?
Maybe. It depends on your medical insurance company and what type health insurance plan you have. We are happy to contact your health insurance company to check whether your current medical insurance cover acupuncture treatment.

Debra Gorman Acupuncture is an in-network provider with Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, Aetna, Cigna, Sutter Health, United Health Care, American Specialty Health and Kaiser. We are on the MPNs for Workers Comp insurance for Republic Indemnity, Liberty Mutual and Corvel. Most other Workers Comp insurance is accepted. A super bill can be provided for you to submit to your insurance company for reimbursement for any other out of network policies.

You can also contact your insurance provider yourself to learn what kind of care is covered. Here are a few questions to ask:

  • Will my plan cover acupuncture?
  • What conditions does it treat?
  • How many visits per calendar year?
  • Do I need a referral?
  • Do I have a co-pay?
  • Do I have a deductible?
  • If yes, has it been met?

If you your injuries were caused by car accident or work injuries, your auto insurance or work compensation insurance will most likely cover acupuncture treatment. Again, we are happy to contact your auto insurance or work insurance company to confirm the acupuncture treatment coverage.

You can always expect to receive the highest level of care available each time you visit Debra Gorman Acupuncture at the Optimal Health Center of Santa Rosa.