Top 10 Frequently Asked Questions...
Some of the most commonly asked questions regarding acupuncture and Chinese medicine are found below. I hope the answers provided will give the information necessary for you to make a well-informed decision about acupuncture and the treatments provided. It is my goal to help you move forward on your path to a better quality of life with health and healing. If you have additional questions, please contact me.
Acupuncture has a long history of treating many diseases and is one component of Chinese Medicine, which has been used to diagnose, treat, and prevent illness. It is based on the concept of bio-electricity which flows through our bodies, and gets diverted for one reason or another. Very fine, filiform needles are inserted into the body at specific points to stimulate the movement of this energy and blood. Acupuncturists identify patterns of disharmony in particular pathways through which these forces circulate throughout the body and connect to internal organs and every cell. By discerning these patterns, points on the pathways can be stimulated to restore harmony at the deepest level to help heal the body. The body works in a three/four dimensional way, so the mind and spirit are also positively affected.
As one of the oldest continuously practiced forms of medical care in the world, acupuncture is used by one-third of the world's population as a primary health-care system. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have both evaluated scientific research and clinical trials of acupuncture and found it to be effective for a wide range of conditions. Case-controlled clinical studies have shown that acupuncture has been an effective treatment for many diseases, symptoms or conditions. To learn more about what acupuncture and Chinese herbs can treat, visit the "Conditions Treated" page. To read what other patients have had to say about their treatments, please visit the testimonial.
Does Acupuncture Hurt?
By far, this is the most commonly asked question. Acupuncture needles are extremely thin. They are 25 to 50 times thinner than a hypodermic needle, they are solid, not hollow and nothing gets injected. Most patients experience very little sensitivity to their insertion and the treatment is virtually painless. Once inserted, one should not feel anything at all. Most patients actually fall asleep during the treatment.
A number of health insurance carriers are now covering acupuncture, and most do not require a referral. Check with your carrier to see if you have coverage. For more information on the acupuncture fees and insurance coverage, visit the Rates and Payment Options page.
Your initial evaluation and treatment will include a thorough medical and physical history. This is followed by examination of the tongue and pulses, as well as palpation of any areas of pain. I will then develop a treatment plan for the session and select specific acupuncture points to be needled. Sterilized disposable needles, which are as thin as a strand of hair, will be inserted into the points and remain from 15 to 45 minutes, depending on the location and desired therapeutic effect. Not a fan of needles? Do not worry! I have other means to accomplish the goal, such as the use of magnets, laser acupuncture or Shakuju. I may also enhance and complement the effect of acupuncture by including other treatments like cupping, gua sha, infra-red heat therapy, and again, magnets and laser. Visit the Adjunct Therapies page for more information.
What Will the Experience Be Like?
Many patients experience a relaxed and peaceful state during the session, in fact, many patients fall asleep during the treatment. Experiences vary for each individual during their acupuncture treatment. Some may feel nothing, while others have sensations of heaviness, a dull ache, warmth and/or tingling. Your comfort before, during, and after acupuncture is of paramount importance. Be sure to communicate any concerns or reservations to me so the treatment can be modified, if necessary, to make you more comfortable.
Please bring your completed Health History, Consent to Treat and HIPPA forms. Everything else will be provided for you at your appointment. It is recommend that you wear comfortable, loose fitting clothing with an under garment. Many commonly used acupuncture points are located on the lower arms and legs, but depending on the treatment and your presenting condition; other points further up the arms and legs or chest and back may be necessary. If you prefer, linens are always available.
How Many Sessions Will I Need?
The number of sessions needed will depend on your age, health, how long you have had the problem and how your body responds to treatment. Some acute problems may respond with just a few treatments to resolve it while other chronic conditions may require multiple treatments. A series of four to six treatments is found to be effective for many common complaints. Chronic conditions may require a series of treatments over a period of time.
Acupuncture assists your body to make changes that alleviate pain, balance your internal systems and restore energy levels. It is important to understand that these changes take time. I will discuss an estimated number of treatments based on previous experience, while also taking into account the individual nature of each client's treatment and response. Once or twice a week is the minimum treatment frequency during the active healing phase. With frequent treatments, cumulative results add up, and strides toward reduced symptoms and improved conditions are usually measurable.
After the body is stronger and the condition is stable, the scheduled treatment frequency is reduced. Time between treatments can be stretched out to 10 days, 14 days, 21 days or just reduced to a monthly maintenance visit. Adjunct therapies and self-care techniques can be used to accelerate progress and reduce the number of treatments required; including Chinese herbal medicine, moxabustion, dietary and lifestyle recommendations, nutritional supplementation, energetic exercises, meditation and relaxation techniques).
What Are the Qualifications of My Acupuncturist?
Licensed acupuncturists have extensive training in both Chinese and Western Medicine. Most states require acupuncturists to pass the NCCAOM (National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine) acupuncture certification exam. This is the gold standard of certification in the Eastern medical field in the United States. The minimum board requirements is the completion of a four-year master's degree program including 3,000 hours of classroom instruction and 1,800 hours of clinical residency. To sit for the NCCAOM exam, one must have graduated from an accredited acupuncture college, and be certified in Clean Needle Technique by the CCAOM (Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. NCCAOM exams test for depth of knowledge and clinical expertise a diplomat must have in order to practice in the various disciplines of Eastern medicine.
Our education includes Biology, Anatomy, Physiology, the pre-med sciences (Chemistry, Biochemistry, Organic Chemistry, Microbiology and Physics), Psychology, Biomedical Science, Pharmacology, Eastern Medical theory, diagnosis and treatment, AcuPoint Location, Etiology and Pathology, Internal Medicine, Eastern and Western Nutrition and an Eastern medical exercise (i.e. Qi Gong or Tai Chi). In some states in the USA, your acupuncturist is qualified to be your primary care physician (i.e. California, Florida, New Mexico). Students from the New England School of Acupuncture qualify to sit for the California Board Exam to become a primary care physician, but we do not granted this privilege in Massachusetts.
Wyatt LaCoss is licensed to practice acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine by the Board of Medicine in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, a Diplomate in Oriental Medicine by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) and certified in Auriculotherapy by Terry Oleson of the Auriculotherapy Certification Institute.