Frequently Asked Acupuncture Questions

  1. Does acupuncture hurt?
  2. What does Traditional Chinese Medicine treat?
  3. Who does Traditional Chinese Medicine treat?
  4. Is acupuncture safe?
  5. What should I expect?
  6. How often do I need acupuncture? How long does it take to work?
  7. What should I do before acupuncture treatment?
  8. Do I need to see a doctor before I see you? What if I’m currently receiving medical treatment?
  9. Will it still work if I don’t believe in acupuncture?
  10. How much does an acupuncture treatment cost?


Does Acupuncture hurt?

Acupuncture uses very fine needles, so it is very rarely unpleasant.  Some patients do not feel the insertion; others may feel minimal discomfort when the needle is inserted, however, this immediately dissipates.  Once the needle is in, the patient may have a feeling of warmth, heaviness, or slight ache around the insertion site.

What does Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) treat?

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a holistic health system that helps the body achieve balance.  Therefore, it addresses a full range of human conditions, both acute and chronic.  It is recognized by the National Institutes of Health and the World Health Organization for its successful treatment of many different diseases and conditions.  To learn more about what TCM can treat, click here.

Who does Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) treat?

Everyone!  From our babies at birth to our elders who are 100+ years old, everyone can benefit from having their body in balance!

Is Acupuncture safe?

Traditional Chinese Medicine is drug-free, avoiding side effects and dependency.  Only sterile, prepackaged, single-use disposable needles are used, ensuring no risk of disease transmission.  As with any medical technique, there are some risks involved. Though these risks are minimal, they are fully explained to you before your consent for treatment is obtained. The most common side effect of acupuncture is bruising or a drop of blood at the site of the needle insertion.

You should always inform any health practitioner about all pre-existing conditions, the names of all medications you are taking, whether you are or could be pregnant, and if you have a cardiac pacemaker or cosmetic implants.  Acupuncture is not contraindicated in most biomedical conditions.

What should I expect?

A holistic approach is taken to determine a treatment plan.  During the initial consultation, Jessica will conduct a comprehensive intake, including information about your chief complaint and a complete health history.  The pulse is taken on both wrists, and your tongue is observed.  (Much information about what is going on in the body can be determined by looking at the color and shape of the tongue body and tongue coating.)  In addition, Jessica may also palpate your area of complaint.  Your treatment plan will seek to address the underlying cause of a problem, not just the symptoms.

The first visit takes approximately one and a half to two hours, and includes your first treatment.  Follow up visits usually take 60 minutes. During treatment, you usually lie on a table or seated in a comfortable position.  The number of needles varies depending on your condition.  You might choose to remove some articles of clothing to access the area of treatment, but will be kept modestly draped at all times.

Typically, needles are retained for 15 to 30 minutes.  You are encouraged to relax during this period, and may even take a short nap.  Each patient is unique as is his/her response to treatment.  Some people feel energized.  Others report a general feeling of tranquility and well being.  It is best to rest following your treatment.  Try to avoid excessive physical activity, alcohol, and caffeine for a couple of hours.

How often do I need acupuncture?  How long does it take to work?

In China, patients see their acupuncturist daily, however in the United States, most patients get acupuncture on a weekly basis.  For acute conditions, two to three times a week may be most beneficial.

The course of treatments can vary widely.  Acute problems may be improved within the first few treatments.  With chronic conditions, at least four to six visits are required to determine whether acupuncture is beneficial for you.  It then may take several courses of treatment for a satisfactory resolution of the problem.  Because acupuncture therapy addresses the whole body, you may notice improvements in other aspects of your health.

What should I do before acupuncture treatment?

Wear loose fitting and comfortable clothing.  Make sure to eat, but avoid big meals immediately before your appointment.

Do I need to see a doctor before I see you?  What if I’m currently receiving medical treatment?  

While a physician referral is not required for treatment, we advise you to receive a full medical evaluation before you begin any complementary therapies.  Traditional Chinese Medicine complements Western medicine.  Do not discontinue prescribed medications or other established medical care without consulting your physician. Throughout the course of your treatment, keep your practitioner and your physician informed of any changes in your health status.

Will it still work if I don’t believe in acupuncture?

Although having faith in your body’s ability to heal itself is important, it is not necessary to feel the effect of acupuncture.  TCM has been used for thousands of years on infants, dogs, cats, and horses who have gotten well — and many of these cannot be said to have “believed” in it either.  Acupuncture is system of medicine and is not based in specific belief or ideology.

How much does acupuncture treatment cost?

It depends on whether you are paying out of pocket or if you have medical insurance offers acupuncture benefits.  Some medical insurance and personal injury policies will cover all or at least a percentage of the costs, however Medicare and Medicaid do not cover the costs of acupuncture treatment.  Jessica is in network with some insurance plans, but not all.  She does not take worker’s compensation.  Please contact your insurance company directly to inquire about coverage for treatment. If you have benefits, you will be responsible for your deductible and co-payment/co-insurance.  If your insurance does not have acupuncture benefits, please call the office at (631) 689-7848 and ask for our current rates.