Treatment Sessions & Costs
What will happen on my first visit?
For your initial consultation, the acupuncturist needs to assess your general health. You will be asked about your current symptoms and any treatment you’ve received so far. It is also important to gather detailed information about your medical history and that of your family, your diet, digestive system, sleeping patterns and emotional state. Some of these questions may seem strange or embarrassing, but they are clinically important. The purpose is to identify what needs to be addressed in order to target your specific complaint, and to boost your overall vitality.
Stimulation of specific areas affects the functioning of various organs. However, those areas may not be close to the part of the body where you are experiencing a problem. For example, if you suffer from headaches, needles may be inserted into your foot or hand. There are 365 specific acupuncture points on the body, and an unlimited number of non-specific points. An experienced acupuncturist will use a selection of these for each session. Often during the course of a few sessions, different points will be selected as the patient’s condition changes. Other techniques, such as electro-acupuncture, tui na, cupping, or tapping with a rounded probe, are particularly suitable for small children or for people with a fear of needles.
What should I do before treatment?
We recommend wearing loose, comfortable clothing to receive acupuncture treatment. You should be aware that the acupuncturist may need to access points on your torso, arms and legs. It also helps to be in a calm state. Try to arrive 5 or 10 minutes before your appointment to give yourself a chance to relax. Try to avoid the following:
- Eating a big meal within one hour of your appointment
- Fasting for more than six hours before your appointment
- Taking pain medication, such as Ibuprofen, Acetaminophen Vicodin.
- Alcohol, tobacco, food or drinks that color your tongue (such as coffee) immediately prior to treatment or just following a treatment
- Vigorous exercise or sexual activity within the hour before treatment
We also recommend that you avoid wearing any metallic jewelry, watches, or earrings. Makeup and nail polish should be minimized or eliminated. Please also avoid the use of perfumes, colognes or strongly scented cosmetics.
How many sessions will I need?
Length, number and frequency of sessions vary. For most conditions, a series of several sessions is necessary to achieve the maximum benefit. After an initial consultation, the acupuncturist should provide you with a treatment plan that includes the techniques to be used, as well as the frequency and duration of treatment.
A typical series of sessions consists of 6 to 12 visits, once or twice a week, with sessions lasting 30 to 90 minutes each. Acute conditions, such as sprains, generally require less time and frequency, whereas more chronic or severe ailments may require several (or several dozen) sessions. Appointments are scheduled further and further apart after the optimal response has been achieved. Some people experience great benefits from weekly or monthly sessions.
How long do appointments last?
The length of acupuncture sessions varies depending on your condition. Typically, your first visit will be longer than your subsequent visits. Sessions can be as short as 30 minutes to as long as 1.5 hours.
How will I feel after acupuncture?
Patients normally feel relaxed and calm. You may feel tired or drowsy for a few hours if the experience is particularly strong. You may also experience a short-term flair-up of symptoms in the healing process. After a session, it is a good idea to sit quietly and relax. A gentle walk or very mild exercise can also be helpful. Avoid big meals, vigorous exercise, alcohol and stressful situations.
Do I have to receive acupuncture to be treated?
No. Complete Oriental medical care encompasses bodywork, a combination of acupressure and structural therapeutics. The acupuncture points are worked with fingers and hands, in combination with soft tissue manipulation, stretching and joint rotation techniques. For severe internal disharmonies, however, acupuncture is recommended, as it works on a deeper level.
Should I tell my Doctor?
If you are receiving treatment from your doctor, then it makes sense to tell him/her about your intention to have acupuncture. Likewise, you should always inform your acupuncturist of any treatments you are receiving, such as medications, as this may affect your response to the acupuncture treatment.
Should I continue with my prescribed medication while receiving acupuncture?
Yes, at least until you have thoroughly discussed your options with your doctor or the practitioner who prescribed the medication. Many people seek the help of an acupuncturist because of dissatisfaction with drug treatment – whether it does not seem to be working or there are unacceptable side effects. However, DO NOT stop taking any medication without professional guidance.
Costs and Payment
How much does acupuncture cost?
Each patient has unique concerns. The cost of treatment depends on the types of therapy needed and the length of therapy needed. Your ability to pay should not be a factor if you need to be treated. Please contact our office. Our staff will be happy to answer your questions and to help you in any way we can.
What forms of payment do you accept?
We accept credit or debit cards, checks cash and insurance If your health insurance policy covers acupuncture, you may only be responsible for a small co-pay or no co-pay at all.
Do you accept insurance?
If you have insurance that covers out-of-network acupuncture and related services performed by a licensed acupuncturist, then we would be happy to provide a submissible “Super Bill” for you to receive reimbursement from your carrier after you have paid our fee(s). Call our office if you are unsure about your coverage. Please bring your insurance card with you. Our staff will be happy to assist you.
You can also call the phone number on the back of your insurance card. We recommend asking your insurance company the following questions:
- Is acupuncture covered by my plan?
- Is a referral required from my Primary Care Provider (PCP)?
- Is reimbursement limited to a particular network or panel of providers?
- Is reimbursement limited only to Medical Doctors (MD) who perform acupuncture and not applicable to licensed acupuncturists?
- Is pre-authorization required?
- Am I limited to specific diagnosis codes (only specific sessions)? If so, what are they?
- Is there an annual deductible? If so, how much is the deductible? How much has been met?
- If I am covered for acupuncture, then may I receive written proof/authorization?
- Is there a maximum yearly allowance for acupuncture? Maximum number of visits? Specific dollar amount? What percentage is covered?