Answered by Dr. Kun Liu
To make it easily understandable, acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medical practice that involves gently inserting fine needles into the body. These hair-thin, sterile stainless needles are strategically placed at specific points to elicit positive responses for addressing various health issues.
On a more detailed note, the insertion of acupuncture needles often targets meridian points known as acupoints, creating a micro-trauma at the site. This action enhances blood flow and improves circulation, facilitating the body's natural healing process. You can think of it as a 'switch' that, when activated by the practitioner, awakens your body's innate healing abilities, particularly in areas where there is pain, blockage, or malfunctioning acupoints.
Meridians are energetic highways in the human body that allow the flow of energy, known as Qi, to circulate throughout the body.
Generally speaking, there are 12 Meridians, also called Principal Meridians, are divided into Yin and Yang groups. The Yin meridians of the arm are the Lung, Heart, and Pericardium. The Yang meridians of the arm are the Large Intestine, Small Intestine, and Triple Burner/San Jiao. The Yin Meridians of the leg are the Spleen, Kidney, and Liver. The Yang meridians of the leg are Stomach, Bladder, and Gall Bladder. Additionally, there are also 8 eight extraordinary meridians. you can refer more info here.
Qi or Chi is the vital energy flowing throughout the body. blocked Qi causes pain or illness. In a Western medicine perspective, this blockage can be attributed to poor blood circulation, inadequate lymphatic circulation, muscle spasms, or issues with ligaments and tendons, etc.
Restoring the flow of Qi can be achieved through various methods, including using needles (acupuncture), applying pressure (acupressure/tui na/massage), employing suction (cupping), or using heat (moxibustion) at specific points along the meridians.
To elaborate further, when your entire body's blood circulation, lymphatic circulation, nervous system regulation, vascular system and skeletal system are all functioning harmoniously, your physical well-being is in an optimal state. Additionally, when your emotional, psychological, and mental states are in good health, we say that your Qi/Chi is smoothly flowing, and you have abundant and vibrant Qi/ Chi energy.
Traditional Chinese medicine uses Yin Yang theory to explain diseases. When your body forms disharmony which Yin and Yang are off-balance. different symptoms can be presented such as pain, insomnia, depression, and other physical and mental Symptoms. By getting acupuncture treatment can help you restore those Yin Yang balance and promote your body’s natural ability to heal.
The insertion of acupuncture needles can trigger a cascade of natural bodily reactions. Here's a research article explaining the mechanism of acupuncture. When a practitioner places these needles in the right combination, your body responds by initiating a series of beneficial chemical reactions on its own, which is part of the self-healing process.
In a more intricate explanation, acupuncture initiates by activating a small network of acupoints referred to as the Acupoint Network. This sets off a chain reaction that enhances its effects. Subsequently, the extensive network of meridians within the body, known as the Meridian Network, comes into play. This, in turn, triggers the nerve-endocrine immune system (NEI). The NEI system disseminates information that influences various organs through multiple levels and systems. Over time, this sequence of events impacts the disease network, ultimately leading to the desired acupuncture effects in the self-healing process.
It varies from person to person. For the majority, needle insertion is often described as feeling similar to a "mosquito bite." During needle stimulation or manipulation, you might experience a range of sensations, such as pressure, heaviness, soreness, numbness, mild aches, and occasionally even electrical sensations that spread in specific directions. These sensations are entirely normal in acupuncture and are collectively referred to as De Qi. Following an acupuncture session, most individuals report experiencing a profound sense of relaxation, both mentally and physically.
It depends. Acupuncture treatment results are cumulative. The frequency of acupuncture treatment varies depending on several factors. These factors include the severity of your symptoms, the duration of your condition, your body's sensitivity, and how you respond to acupuncture. All of these factors are considered when tailoring your treatment plan. To illustrate, think of a pain medication. Some people may take one pill and experience immediate relief, while others might need multiple doses over several days to find relief. Similarly, with acupuncture, we have to determine the treatment intensity and frequency to address your specific condition. You can refer to an article explaining how acupuncture increases endorphin levels, which are natural chemicals that contribute to pain relief.
If you consider acupuncture as a "prescribed medication", rather than something you can simply take orally, you'll need to visit my office to receive the treatment dosage. When discussing the "dose" of acupuncture, it encompasses both treatment intensity and treatment frequency, and both of these factors play significant roles in addressing your specific condition.
For acute pain or conditions, more frequent treatment is often necessary in a shorter time frame. In our clinic, we typically recommend 2 to 3 sessions per week for the first 3 weeks. This initial period helps us gauge how quickly you respond to acupuncture. Based on your progress and satisfaction, we may adjust the treatment frequency. If your condition improves, we can space out the treatments. If there's no improvement, we may maintain or increase the treatment frequency.
For chronic pain or conditions, more frequent treatment is required initially, followed by maintenance over a longer period. These conditions often take more time and additional acupuncture sessions. Typically, you'll need more frequent sessions, such as 2-3 times per week at the start, to alleviate most of your symptoms. Afterward, we transition to a maintenance phase, which may involve weekly, biweekly, or monthly treatment.
In short, you'll begin with acupuncture sessions at least twice a week for the first three weeks to establish momentum. If you experience a more than 60%-80% improvement in your condition during this period, your treatment sessions can be reduced to once a week.
Yes, we do take insurance. We are currently an in-network provider with United Healthcare. Besides UHC, we are considered ‘Out-of-Network’ providers for most insurance companies.
If you want to use your health insurance to pay for acupuncture services, please call your insurance company to confirm whether you have acupuncture coverage.
If your insurance plan doesn't cover acupuncture, you'll need to pay in full at the time of service.
If your insurance plan covers acupuncture:
1.If we're in-network with your insurance, we'll bill towards your in-network deductibles.
2.If we're out-of-network with your insurance, we'll bill towards your out-of-network deductibles or provide you with a "super bill" to submit for reimbursement.
Either in-network or out-of-network: if you haven't met your deductible, full payment is due at the time of service. While, if you have met your deductible, you will only pay copay and/or co-insurance.
Our services are eligible for HSA or FSA.
The cost of the initial session is determined by the duration of your visit. If you have insurance, pricing may fluctuate according to specific insurance billing codes, which are tied to different evaluation time intervals and their corresponding rates. Cash-paying patients will also be charged based on these insurance billing codes, but discounts will be applied accordingly. Generally, for self-pay clients, the cost of the initial session can range from $135 to $260. Follow-up acupuncture sessions are typically priced between $90 to $120. A standalone acupuncture session is $90, and additional services like cupping, electroacupuncture, moxibustion, etc., will incur an extra charge of $30. Herbs will be charged separately.
East West Natural Health Care
1110 W. William Cannon Dr. #403, Austin, TX 78745
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