What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is among the oldest healing practices in the world, particularly for treatment of injuries and pain, and has been used throughout eastern Asia since 300 BC. Acupuncture involves the stimulation of points on the body by penetrating the skin with tiny, solid, metallic needles that are manipulated by hand or by electrical stimulation.
According to this traditional Chinese medicine, stimulating these points can correct imbalances in the flow of “qi”, or vital energy, through channels within the body referred to as meridians. Imbalances in qi are considered to be the cause of disease and the result of injury. This stimulation appears to regulate the activity of many systems in your body, including production of some neurotransmitters and natural painkillers. Acupuncture also increases blood flow, relaxes muscles, and promotes healing.
What is acupuncture an appropriate treatment for?
Acupuncture has been shown to be effective in many clinical studies. The following conditions are commonly treated with acupuncture but is not an exhaustive list.
Complications from treatment for cancer
Cancer related pain
Musculoskeletal conditions including:
Back pain from many causes
Neurological conditions including:
Headaches, tension and migraine
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Cubital Tunnel Syndrome, thoracic outlet syndrome and other nerve compression syndromes.
Gastrointestinal conditions including:
Complications of inflammatory bowel disease
Irritable bowel syndrome
What is an acupuncture treatment like?
An acupuncture treatment starts with a brief check-in about the condition being treated. The patient is then comfortably positioned on a cushioned table. The doctor then places needles one at a time in the chosen acupoints after cleaning the skin with alcohol. There may be a slight pinch when the needles are placed. Sometimes there is a mild pressure sensation around the needle that usually subsides in a few minutes. The needles are left in place and the patient rests for 20 to 40 minutes. Acupuncture is usually found to be a relaxing experience by most patients.
A course of treatments usually includes four to eight weekly to twice weekly visits followed by a re-evaluation. At that point the decision on the next course of treatment will be made by you and your doctor.
Does insurance cover acupuncture?
The initial office visits and subsequent re-evaluations can be billed to your insurance. The following health plans cover acupuncture in VT:
City of Burlington Employees
Middlebury College employees
State of Vermont Employees
Workers Compensation and Personal Injury coverage will pay for acupuncture when an injury occurs at work or as a result of an auto accident.
If you receive acupuncture at one of these covered visits, you will be eligible for a reduced acupuncture visit price for that day. Our office staff is happy to assist patients in determining whether they have insurance coverage for acupuncture. Acupuncture is eligible for coverage under Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) and Health Savings Accounts (HSAs).
If you have a question about acupuncture treatment, contact us.