Do acupuncture needles hurt and are they safe?
The needles are sterilized, single use, disposable needles, ensuring your absolute safety. Unlike hypodermic needles, which are relatively large and hollow, acupuncture needles are extremely thin. Many people feel nothing upon gentle insertion of the needle, and others may feel a slight pinch. After insertion, sensations can include a feeling of heaviness, ache, warmth, or distention. These sensations are not always present and are not necessary for treatment to be effective. A feeling of relaxation often follows, and many patients fall asleep during the session. Most individuals are pleased to find acupuncture treatments enjoyable and look forward to them.
What can I expect at my first visit?
You should arrive having eaten so that you are not experiencing acupuncture on an empty stomach. The first session begins with a thorough health history, focusing on general health and the complaint for which you are seeking treatment. Following the intake, I use traditional Chinese methods of diagnosis such as examination of the tongue and analysis of the pulse to understand your body’s energy. The physical exam may also include more familiar techniques such as the measurement of blood pressure and temperature. After I have made a diagnosis and explained it to you, I insert the needles and let you rest anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes. At the end of the session, we will discuss any additional therapies such as herbal remedies, dietary modifications, and exercise that may benefit you.
Do you take insurance?
Norah is happy to provide you with a super bill with the information you need to be reimbursed directly by your insurance company, according to your plan’s coverage for acupuncture and related services.
What kind of training is required to be a licensed acupuncturist?
The state of California has licensed acupuncturists as primary care providers since 1976. This responsibility requires extensive training consisting of a minimum of 3,000 hours of study pertaining to the practice of acupuncture. Acupuncturists are trained in Asian medical theory, Western biomedicine, treatment technique and theory, personal development, clinical training, and herbal medicine. An abbreviated list of courses completed includes anatomy, biology, biochemistry, orthopedic and neurological evaluation, clinical counseling, physical exam, clinical science, pharmacology, Western nutrition, Eastern nutrition, tai qi, qi gong, and clinical research and design.
How long will my course of treatment take?
Duration and frequency of treatment varies by the nature of the complaint, its severity, and how long it has been present. Additionally, your lifestyle, diet, and attitude can either help or hinder the recovery of health and can influence how long treatment is required. Therefore, I encourage patients to actively participate in their process of healing. I tailor a treatment plan to each patient, and individual response and progress are the measurements by which adjustments are made to this plan. The great majority of complaints take more than one treatment to change. Sometimes several treatments are required to begin changing the established patterns in the body, especially if the condition is a chronic one. Sessions can be scheduled anywhere from three times a week to a few times a month. As symptoms improve, fewer treatments are required. The course of treatment will be discussed at your first session after I take a complete history, and make a working diagnosis.
Can Chinese Medicine help manage emotional disorders or imbalances?
Yes. The World Health Organization has listed anxiety, insomnia, stress and depression as conditions appropriate for treatment by acupuncture. Acupuncture has also been used as an adjunctive therapy for those going through withdrawal from addictive substances such as cigarettes, alcohol, and cocaine. Acupuncture, herbal medicine, and meditative exercises can all be used in addition to psychological counseling to treat the whole person.
Can acupuncture and Chinese Medicine benefit me if I am not currently experiencing a health complaint?
Absolutely. The Nei Jing, a classic text of Chinese Medicine, states, “To cure disease after it has appeared is like digging a well when one already feels thirsty, or forging weapons after the war has already begun.” Preventive treatment is one of the most valuable aspects of Chinese Medicine. Acupuncture has been found to stimulate the immune system, provide relaxation, and enhance athletic and physical function. Ideally, patients take responsibility for their health by scheduling “tune-up” appointments several times a year (usually around the change of the seasons) to re-establish physical and emotional balance, even in the absence of overt disease.
What if I am taking Western pharmaceuticals?
Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine can be used in conjunction with Western medical care. Acupuncture is not only safe with most pharmaceuticals but can be used to lessen side effects of certain medications. Any potential interaction between medication and herbal prescriptions will be carefully evaluated. You should continue to take medication according to the instructions of your prescribing physician, and any changes in Western pharmaceuticals must be done under the supervision of your MD. Chinese Medicine can definitely play a complementary role with Western medicine to provide the most thorough healthcare possible.
What types of conditions does acupuncture treat?
A committee of the United Nation’s World Health Organization has compiled a list of diseases that lend themselves to treatment by acupuncture. Herbal medicine expands the range of treatable disorders. Common effectively treated disorders are listed below. If you have questions about a disorder not listed, please feel free to contact me.
- Neurological: headache, migraine, neuralgia, post-operative pain, post-stroke paresis, Parkinson’s disease, facial pain, diabetic neuropathies, Bell’s palsy
- Musculoskeletal: shoulder and neck pain, sciatica, low back pain, arthritis, soft tissue injuries, fibromyalgia
- Respiratory: sinusitis, rhinitis, common cold, tonsillitis, bronchitis, asthma
- Eye, Ear, Dental: conjunctivitis, central retinitis, eye fatigue, toothache, post-extraction pain, gingivitis, pharyngitis
- Digestive: hiccough, gastritis, gastric hyperacidity, duodenal ulcer, colitis, constipation, diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome
- Gynecological: infertility, PMS, menstrual cramps, endometriosis, menopausal symptoms
- Emotional: trauma, insomnia, depression, anxiety, nervousness