Frequently Asked Questions
What is Traditional Chinese Medicine?

What is Traditional Chinese Medicine?

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is the current name for an ancient system of health care from China. TCM is based on the philosophy that Qi (pronounced "chee"), or Vital Energy, flows throughout the body. Qi is proposed to regulate a person's spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical balance and is influenced by the opposing forces of Yin and Yang. The health of a person is influenced by the quality, quantity and balance of Qi. Disease is proposed to result from the flow of Qi being disrupted and Yin and Yang becoming imbalanced. Other TCM therapies include electro-acupuncture, cupping, moxibustion, herbal supplement, Tui Na massage, Qi Gong and Tai Ji. The right combination of these modalities are specifically selected by your practitioner based on your individual condition(s) for optimal healing and well-being. To learn more about these therapies and our fees, visit our Wellness Treatments & Services page.
What is acupuncture?

What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture was first discussed in the ancient Chinese medical text "Huang Di Nei Jing" (The Yellow Emperior's Classic of Internal Medicine), originating more than 2,500 years ago.  Acupuncture can promote natural healing by placing fine, sterile needles at specific acupuncture points on the body. This can enhance recuperative power and immunity, support physical and emotional health, and improve overall function and well-being.  Acupuncture is a safe, painless and effective way to treat various conditions.

In 1997, the National Institutes of Health issued a report titled: "Acupuncture: The NIH Consensus Statement". It stated that acupuncture is a very useful method for treating many conditions. The report acknowledges that the side effects of acupuncture are considerably less adverse than when compared to other medical procedures such as surgery or pharmaceuticals. In addition, it also stated that "promising results has shown efficacy of acupuncture in adult postoperative and chemotherapy nausea and vomiting and in postoperative dental pain. There are other situations such as addiction, stroke rehabilitation, headache, menstrual cramps, tennis elbow, fibromyalgia, myofascial pain, osteoarthritis, low back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and asthma, in which acupuncture may be useful as an adjunct treatment or an acceptable alternative or be included in a comprehensive management program."

Are acupuncture needles safe?

Are acupuncture needles safe?

Yes, they are safe and only disposable acupuncture needles sterilized with ethylene oxide gas are used. In 1995, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classifed acupuncture needles as medical instruments and assured their safety and effectiveness. Acupuncture needles are extremely thin, about 20 times thinner than a typical hypodermic needle used for injections.  The acupuncture needles are solid and do not remove tissue as would occur with a hypodermic needle. 
Does acupuncture hurt?

Does acupuncture hurt?

Most people who have had acupuncture would describe it as virtually painless. The sensations that follow range from nothing at all, to mild tingling, to slight numbness/achiness, to electrical pulsations in areas distant from the site of insertion. All these sensations usually subside once the needles are removed. Itchiness near the point of insertion may be expected.
What should I expect upon my first visit?

What should I expect upon my first visit?

During the initial consultation, a full health history will be taken. You will be asked questions regarding your symptoms, health, and lifestyle. Your pulse and tongue will be checked and a physical exam may be conducted. This information is then organized to create a complete, accurate, and comprehensive diagnosis of where Qi has become blocked or imbalanced. Following this review, you will receive an acupuncture treatment. Initial visits may last up to 90 minutes.
How should I prepare for treatment?

How should I prepare for treatment?

  • Wear loose, comfortable clothing for easy access to acupuncture points
  • Don't eat large meals just before or after your treatment
  • Refrain from overexertion, working out, drugs, or alcohol for up to 4 hours after the treatment
  • 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 symptoms
What should I expect during treatment?

What should I expect during treatment?

Where the acupuncture needle has been inserted, you may experience slight numbness, heaviness, soreness, distention, tingling or dull ache.  Sometimes people experience a sensation of energy spreading and moving around the needle. This is called the "Qi sensation". All of the above reactions are good and a sign that the treatment is working. After treatment, you may feel energized or may experience a deep sense of relaxation and well-being. These responses will vary from person to person, sometimes the effects are subtle to perceive, usually after 5 to 10 treatments the improvements become more and more apparent.
How many treatments will I need?

How many treatments will I need?

The number of treatments will vary from patient to patient. Some people experience immediate relief, while others may take months to achieve results. Typically, chronic conditions take longer to resolve than acute ones. At minimum, plan on 8 to 10 treatments.
Is acupuncture safe for children?

Is acupuncture safe for children?

Yes. In fact, children usually respond more quickly to acupuncture treatments than adults. If your child has an aversion to needles, the acupuncturist may massage the acupuncture points or use magnets. Children over the age of 10 may receive acupuncture treatments.
Do you accept insurance?

Do you accept insurance?

Yes, we are currently a provider with American Specialty Health (ASH), Hawaii Medical Assurance Association (HMAA), HMSA, Kaiser Permanente, University Health Alliance (UHA) and United Healthcare.  We offer a 15% discount to HMSA and Kaiser Permanente members.

If you are not sure about your benefits, here are a few questions you should ask your insurance carrier to find out about your acupuncture coverage:

  1. Will my plan cover acupuncture?
  2. How many visits per calendar year?
  3. Do I need a referral?
  4. Do I have a co-pay or co-insurance?
  5. Do I have a deductible? If yes, has it been met?
Are discounts for treatments available?

Are discounts for treatments available?

Yes, discounts are available to students, and through our Refer a Friend program.

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