Frequently Asked Questions about Acupuncture
The goal of medicine, Eastern and Western, should be to help the body do best what it already knows how to do. Our bodies are a “system of systems” and so too, should our approach to health be. We work with each patient’s “systems” as needed: their doctors, family members, diets, and lifestyles, to help them achieve their best health.
Acupuncture is a non-surgical, non-pharmacological modality that uses fine, sterile needles to stimulate the body’s nervous system to release neurotransmitters and endorphins and regulate signals to effectuate health and healing.
Western clinical trials have proposed a number of theories as to how acupuncture works including: increasing endorphin production for pain relief, promoting circulation, modulating anti-inflammatory and immune responses, stimulating collagen and more. If you think of the body’s nervous system as a large electrical circuit board, acupuncture works to modulate signals to ensure smooth transmission, allowing the sympathetic (“fight or flight” response) and parasympathetic (“rest and digest” response) nervous systems to be balanced.
To the contrary, most people report that acupuncture is painless and relaxing. One can experience a quick “moving” sensation, movement between various needles or a dull, heavy sensation upon insertion. Occasionally, a needle may feel uncomfortable when first inserted or leave a bruise when removed, but needles should not be painful. Cupping feels more like a deep massage on a specific point or set of points, but is typically painless.
During your consultation, Dr. Lauren will perform an extensive review your medical history and discuss your chief complaint. If she feels you can benefit from acupuncture, she will outline a treatment plan customized to your specific needs. Consultations last approximately 20 minutes. Acupuncture treatments last approximately 30-45 minutes. We suggest wearing loose-fitting clothing with sleeves that can be rolled up and pant legs that can be rolled above the knee or shorts. When your back or abdomen need to be exposed, you will be provided with a paper gown to ensure your comfort and privacy. Please be sure to eat a snack about 15 minutes prior to treatment.
Restoration Health is considered an out-of-network provider and can provide you with a completed superbill that you can submit to your insurance company for reimbursement or to be applied to your out of pocket deductible. Acupuncture is considered a covered medical expense for most health savings account (HSA) and flexible spending account (FSA) plans and HSA and FSA Visa and debit card payments are accepted.
During your consultation, Dr. Lauren will review your medical history and discuss your chief complaint. If she feels you can benefit from acupuncture, she will outline a treatment plan customized to your specific needs. Generally speaking, chronic conditions require more treatment than acute conditions.
Acupuncturists receive extensive training. The state of New Jersey requires ALL of the following in order to become a licensed acupuncturist:
- A 4-year Bachelor’s Degree from an accredited college or university
- Graduation from an acupuncture program accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM), which is typically a Master of Science program that takes approximately 4 years to complete
- NCCAOM Board Certification, which requires passage of clean needle technique, a Bioscience Board exam, a Foundation of Oriental Medicine Board exam, an Acupuncture & Point Location Board exam, and an Herbology Board exam if seeking licensure for herbs.
You can confirm an acupuncturist is licensed and in good standing by going to www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/acu.