Racine Community Acupuncture Ė Affordable, Accessible Acupuncture
Christie Kern L. Ac., MSOM, BS Nutrition

Acupuncture Frequently Asked Questions

Needles! Iím afraid of NEEDLES! Why would I want to have acupuncture?

This we understand completely. We’re all very accustomed to the hollow, hypodermic needles of the Western medical world. They draw our blood, shoot us in the rump and in the arm or worse yet, tap into our veins with the dreaded IV. (The thought of all of that makes me cringe, too.)

Acupuncture needles are very small, solid needles inserted superficially into some of the less sensitive parts of the body. The needles we use are a much smaller gauge than a sewing needle, so it doesn’t even feel like being pricked by a sewing needle.

Many of the patients we see are trying everything to avoid a surgery. So, they figure that they may as well try these needles before facing the big ones. And many are happy with the results.

Often patients come in with one major complaint, and discover that while we’re focusing on that major injury or illness many of their aches and pains are resolved along the way. Because acupuncture works to resolve the root cause of the illness or injury, the body often resolves other imbalances along the way. It’s a pretty exciting side effect!

And, acupuncture is generally relaxing. Many patients, even those who feared needles upon arrival, fall asleep during the treatment and find their anxiety replaced with relaxation and contentment.

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Does acupuncture hurt?

Every patient is different. Most would say that acupuncture is painless or nearly painless. Some patients feel a little more than a needle prick. If any lasting sharp sensation occurs we will adjust the treatment for a patient’s comfort.

As acupuncture’s goal is to manipulate qi, there is often a distending or heavy sensation around the needles. Many patients have said they could feel warmth within their body’s meridians. Some feel tingling or numbness. Many patients find acupuncture is so relaxing they sleep through the treatment.

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Are the needles sterile and safe?

The needles we use are sterile, single-use disposable needles. We use them one time, and throw them away in a hazardous waste container.

We use a very small gauge needle for patient’s optimum comfort.

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How long does a treatment take?

Because diagnosis is based on the entire body, the first treatment will take 60-90 minutes. After that, each treatment is about 30-45 minutes, depending on the circumstances.

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How many treatments do I need?

This is a difficult question to answer as every patient is different. The course of treatment for patients with chronic pain is different than that for patients with a common cold or internal diseases. We’ve heard some practitioners mention it’s about one treatment per year of disease, but it’s hard to say. Generally, we work in courses of 10 treatments. If the root cause of a patient’s symptoms subsides before 10 treatments, we’ll recommend slowing to a maintenance treatment strategy. If the root cause takes more than 10 – 12 treatments, we’ll recommend a one to two week break between treatment courses.

Many people continue with maintenance or “tune-up” treatments at their discretion. Some choose once or twice a month, some once or twice a year. It’s a very personal choice.

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How many needles are used at one time?

Every patient is different. I’d love to say it takes one magical needle and everything is better. But, each treatment generally uses more than one needle, varying from 5-30 needles. The needles are very small.

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Do you need my medical records?

No, but we will send you forms to fill out. Traditional Chinese Medicine views the person as a whole, so we need very detailed patient health history for a proper diagnosis.

We try to get these forms to you at least a week before your scheduled treatment to help cut down on the time of your office visit.

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Is acupuncture safe for children?

Acupuncture and herbs are safe for children. We generally use acupressure for children under 12 years old. Reiki is a fantastic alternative treatment strategy for children. Children are much more easily influenced by the energy in their environment, so Reiki is simple, effective method of returning a child’s body to a balanced state.

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Will my insurance cover the cost?

Acupuncture is covered by some insurance companies. We will happily provide a receipt for you to submit to your insurance company.

Sadly, Reiki is not covered by insurance. But, we’ll happily give you a receipt for your records.

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Will it work?

Again, every patient is different. Some patients feel marvelous after the first treatment. Some patients don’t feel any significant change after the first treatment, but by the third treatment they’re feeling better. And, some patients feel great after the first few treatments and then feel badly for a few more treatments, then feel better than ever.

We have never had a patient unresponsive to every modality (acupuncture, reiki, cupping, gua sha, etc.). We’re willing to keep trying different methods until we find something that really helps each patient return to balance and a pain free lifestyle.

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Does TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) interfere with other medical treatments or medications?

Acupuncture generally does not interfere with other medical treatments or medications. There are patients we cannot treat such as those in shock, suffering a heart attack, experiencing a seizure, among others.

We will adjust your treatment strategy according to each patient’s needs. If, for instance, a patient has a pace maker, we will not use electrical stimulation. This is one reason we require detailed patient health history.

Herbal formulas may interact with medications. We will check and double check the compatibility of formulas with patient medications. Most herbal formulas are so well balanced that they do not affect other treatments or medications, but your health is my focus. So, we continue to check and double check. Again, the detailed health history will provide the details of current medications for compatibility.

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