Frequently Asked Acupuncture Questions
There are several reasons for acupunctures rapid rise in popularity. Patients who have tried acupuncture are usually amazed and pleased with the outcome and tell their friends. Also recent clinical research supports the efficacy of acupuncture for a variety of conditions.
In the late 1970s, the World Health Organization recognized that acupuncture and Oriental medicine can be used to treat nearly four dozen common ailments, including neuro-musculoskeletal conditions (such as arthritis, neuralgia, insomnia, dizziness, and neck/shoulder pain); emotional and psychological disorders (such as depression and anxiety); circulatory disorders (such as hypertension, angina pectoris, arteriosclerosis and anemia); addictions to alcohol, nicotine and other drugs; respiratory disorders (such as sinusitis, allergies and bronchitis); and gastrointestinal conditions (such as food allergies, ulcers, chronic diarrhea, constipation, indigestion, intestinal weakness, irritable bowel and gastritis).
Is Acupuncture Painful?
While each person experiences acupuncture differently, most people feel only a minimal amount of sting as the needles are inserted followed by a mild, deep tingling sensation around the point. I use premium quality disposable needles that are hair-thin and are designed not to cut the skin. They are inserted gently and the experience of having acupuncture is in no way like having an injection.
Once the needles are in most of my patients tell me that they experience a feeling of relaxation and well-being that lasts for many hours after the treatment.
How long is a usual treatment course?
Traditional Chinese Medicine diagnosis & treatment is entirely individualized. Factors such as the length and severity of an illness, type of condition, and the patient’s constitution, will affect the number and duration of treatments.
The improvements with acupuncture can be felt straightaway in some cases but is often a progressive improvement over time. If you wish to achieve your goals more quickly, the more frequently you receive treatments the faster the progress will become.
Most patients come in once a week during the treatment course, but it can vary from twice a week in the initial stages of treatment to once every month to manage an imbalance after most symptoms have been alleviated. After the first consultation, I will usually be able to give you a better idea of how long the course of treatment will take.
Are you professionally qualified?
Yes. I hold a Bachelor of Health Science – Acupuncture degree from the Melbourne College of Natural Medicine & I am accredited with the Australian Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Association (AACMA).
What should I expect on my first visit?
During the first visit, I will take a medical history and complete an examination. This will help me determine the imbalance that is causing your condition. During this visit you will have an opportunity to ask questions about your condition and you will receive an acupuncture treatment. We may also discuss Chinese herbs and acupressure as an option in your treatment plan. The first visit takes about 70 minutes, and the follow up visits range from 45 minutes to one hour.
The consultation will then be followed by an acupuncture treatment, and if required, your herbal prescription will be prepared. You can usually expect to receive acupuncture at approximately 10 points on various bodily locations. The needles are usually retained for 20 minutes and adjusted as required throughout the treatment. Your comfort is monitored and maintained at all times.
How Can Acupuncture Relieve Pain?
Pain is present in the majority of muscle problems & can manifest in many ways: as an ache, dull pain, sharp (stabbing) pain, or a feeling of tightness. However, there are many more indicators of musculoskeletal dysfunction: swelling and/or redness (these indicate inflammation); pins & needles or numbness (these can be symptomatic of nerve involvement); or decreased range of motion (showing problems with joints, ligaments, tendons, or muscles).
There may be a history of trauma, such as an accident or sporting injury; or history of overuse such as long hours of sitting at a computer for work, or repetitive movements. Knowing the cause of the pain will help our diagnosis and treatment, and give you tips on how to avoid it coming back.
Using both western anatomy and physiology with traditional acupuncture gives me a full picture of what’s causing a person’s pain, and allows me to know exactly how to treat it.
Acupuncture improves circulation through areas of pathological muscular tension, reduces inflammation and stimulates the healing process in muscles. These effects help to avoid the development of fibrocytic scar tissue or adhesions where musculoskeletal problems are, resulting in a full recovery and a decreased risk of the problem occurring again.
While traditional acupuncture forms the primary treatment, I regularly use other techniques, such as remedial massage; electro-acupuncture; cupping; guasha and moxibustion. No two patients are the same, so no two problems are ever quite the same. This is why my treatment is always different for each person. These other techniques can, when appropriate, greatly complement and strengthen the effect of the acupuncture.
How long does it take to fix muscle pain?
A general rule is that the longer you’ve had the problem the longer it takes to sort out. For example, in the case of acute neck pain (torticollis) – when someone wakes up and can’t turn their head, usually only 1-2 treatments are necessary. However, for a person who has OOS (Occupational Overuse Syndrome – formally known as RSI) of the wrist due to years of long hours of computer use, it’s expected to take longer until the pain is totally gone. Such people may need 6-8 treatments or more.
It’s important to be aware of this though: that although you might have experienced the pain for a relatively short time (say, for example, 3 weeks), the knots in your muscles may have been developing over a much longer period. I can always tell if this is the case by palpating (feeling) and sometimes just looking – muscles which have been in distress for a long time are hard and tender to touch and usually have multiple knots.
Do you give your patients exercises or stretches to do at home to help with their treatment?
Yes, absolutely. And these stretches are simple and take very little time to do, so my patients can easily fit them into their busy schedule. As my patients improve I give them more advanced stretches to do.
Do you take appointments after hours?
Yes, we may arrange suitable times outside normal working hours.
Will I be able to claim a health fund rebate?
Yes, most health funds now offer cover for acupuncture and remedial massage. Please check with your health fund to be sure. The amount you get back varies and will depend on your coverage with your fund.
For eligible patients my HICAPS facility means you can claim on-the-spot & only pay the gap amount. You won’t need to make a seperate claim, or join the queue at your health fund office.
Do you accept credit cards?
Yes, I accept MasterCard and Visa, but not American Express
What if I need to cancel?
I understand that at times it may be difficult to keep your appointment. To be fair to me and my other patients, all I ask is that you provide me with at least 24 hours notice if you are unable to attend. This way I can accommodate other patients who also require treatment.
For short-notice (less than 24 hours) cancellations or missed appointments you may be charged 50% of your appointment fee.