What is the function of acupuncture?
While the perception of acupuncture’s effect here in the west is that it is solely for temporary pain relief, it is far more than this. Acupuncture has been used for more than 3500 years on ¼ of the world’s population to intercede in a wide range of diseases. It facilitates your body’s own internal healing mechanisms to re-establish and preserve balance. Those who receive acupuncture heal physically and experience new and profound states of peace, clarity and harmony through treatment which often has long lasting impact.
How effective is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is highly effective not only as a preventive medicine, but as a drug free treatment of signs and symptoms. It facilitates homeostasis; the body’s ability to balance itself. Studies indicate that acupuncture influences the central and peripheral nervous system. Evidence shows it stimulates the release of endorphins from the brain which make acupuncture particularly effective in pain control and stress relief. Among a host of factors, acupuncture affects blood sugar, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels in the blood, the functioning of the gastrointestinal system and the activity of the endocrine system. It is highly effective in reproductive system disorders, including infertility.
Acupuncture works with the body, strengthening and balancing energy. It improves circulation of blood and energy and allows the body to heal itself more quickly and more completely. It puts the patient’s internal environment in balance with itself and with the outside environment.
Is Western Medicine incorporating acupuncture into its system?
Western medical doctors have developed great interest in incorporating acupuncture, particularly as they have noticed its impact and success with addictions, AIDS, sports injuries, trauma, and pain relief. The National Institute of Health has approved the use of acupuncture for a wide range of conditions.
How does acupuncture work?
As a system of medicine it uses natural laws of biology and quantum physics with classical energetic principles to direct the application of needles, energy, warmth or pressure to specific points on the body. The acupuncture points are like fine tuning controls on a delicate piece of electronic equipment. Each point provides a specific function in the body in regulating the free flow of vital energy for health and wellbeing.
Dr. Bonnie or Dr. Amanda will open or close specific “gates” or points grouped along certain pathways of energy flow called channels, which go deep into the body. Disease, for example, is prevented or treated by stimulating or reducing the flow of vital energy or “Qi” (pronounced chi) through specific points in the body. Vital energy then is strengthened or sedated, monitored, and balanced to achieve the desired result.
Western doctors are discovering medications which can suppress or stimulate electrical impulses within the body but they cannot regulate or manipulate it in the way in which acupuncture can.
Oriental diagnosis and examination
Drs. Bonnie and Amanda use a highly developed system of understanding from both energetic and biomedical disciplines to diagnose, treat, and test the immediate success of treatment.
On your first visit, your doctor will listen carefully to you in an extensive interview which provides vital clues to an overall picture of health or disease. She may ask detailed questions about your current illness as well as previous illnesses or injuries. She will feel the subtle variations in the pulses in the wrist to determine a wealth of information about how the body is functioning. Sound of voice, the condition of the tongue, body odors, overall appearance of face and skin, emotions…all are important indicators of your condition.
How does Dr. Bonnie or Dr. Amanda use acupuncture?
Your doctor may use her refined skills while utilizing several techniques to administer effective treatment. The principal techniques and their functions are described below:
- ACUPUNCTURE as described above. Only one-use, sterile disposable needles are used.
- ELECTRICAL STIMULATION through the needles can improve pain relief.
- ACUPRESSURE (the use of finger pressure instead of needling the point)
- LASER uses a “cold” laser to activate the points. This is used on children and those who are afraid of needles
- MOXIBUSTION involves the burning of moxa (an herb) over the point in order to activate the energy, promote circulation and relax muscle spasm.
- ORIENTAL HERBS provide material for healing and treating symptoms.
- NUTRITION programs also provide raw materials within the body.
- EXERCISE, such as Qi Gong or Tai Ji strengthens and circulates vital energy. This affects both your strength and motivation during activity
What does acupuncture feel like?
Most people receive acupuncture treatment lying down comfortably on a treatment table in a quiet room. Acupuncture needles are gently placed at the specific gateways of the body we spoke of earlier. These may not be felt at all or may be felt as a mild initial sensation upon entering followed by tingling, numbness, ache or traveling warmth. Once the needles are all in place, you will rest on the table for 20-30 minutes, after which the needles will be removed. Acupressure or laser on these same points is often successfully used with children or those afraid of needles.
What can I expect from acupuncture?
Most people are surprised at the depth of relaxation, the intensity of energy which occurs, and sense of well-being and healing which occurs from the rebalancing of energy.
Relief from symptoms may be felt immediately or gradually in the following days (or weeks) depending on the severity of symptoms and how long you’ve had it. You will find you will look forward to treatment for the many benefits that are received from acupuncture.
Many who have lived with their condition for so many years believe they will just have to make do. Others live with pain thinking that “someday” it will go away. Acupuncture has succeeded in many cases where other treatments have not. We have seen people achieve complete relief of decades old problems after just a few visits.
Why should I consider acupuncture?
Acupuncture should definitely be considered if you have already been everywhere & done everything else to relieve your condition, to no avail. If you haven’t tried acupuncture, then you haven’t tried everything! However, it probably makes more sense to try acupuncture not as a last resort, but as a first line of defense as soon as you notice your health going out of balance. It’s much easier to resolve a condition at its onset than to fix it after it’s settled in and lots of other therapies (medications, surgeries, etc.) have been done. Often our initial treatments have to be spent undoing the effects of previous treatments before we can address the original problem.
If your pain or problem is from a recent accident or injury, or involves high fever, severe pain, uncontrollable vomiting, severe cuts or bleeding or similar symptoms, you should be evaluated at a medical facility before trying acupuncture. DO NOT expect acupuncture to replace competent medical care if that is the care you need. Even the best acupuncturist cannot set a broken bone or stitch up a gaping wound. If Dr. Walker or Dr. Peters feel your health needs would be better served at a western medical facility, she will refer you there.
What if I am healthy? Can acupuncture help prevent future problems or enhance health?
Yes. Acupuncture has traditionally been used as a preventive medicine. In ancient China, the physician was on retainer, & got paid if the patient stayed well. If the patient got sick despite the doctor’s care, the patient was treated for free! Research has verified that acupuncture stimulates immune functions which increase your resistance to bacterial and viral infections. Acupuncture can dramatically increase overall vitality and energy. It can stimulate profound changes in peoples’ lives on the emotional level as well. Many people find that an occasional acupuncture tune-up is the best medicine to feel “in sync” and insure continuing health. Once your body has achieved balance, we recommend you come in around the change of seasons to maintain that balance.
Is acupuncture safe?
Yes. Because acupuncture treatment is drug-free, you avoid the risk of drugs which can cause side-effects or dependency. During each acupuncture session your doctor will adjust the treatment according to your progress, so you receive constant monitoring of any changes.
Dr. Bonnie and Dr. Amanda have received extensive training and testing and are licensed and certified by strict state and national regulatory boards. They work closely with medical doctors in local communities who regularly find that the integration of treatments is very effective and beneficial for the patient.
Is acupuncture recommended for emergency situations or acute medical problems?
It is strongly recommended that you first seek immediate medical attention at a nearby hospital for such conditions as difficulty in breathing or shortness of breath; dizziness, fainting or feeling faint; pain or pressure in the chest or upper abdomen, sudden weakness or severe pain; sudden bleeding; injuries, falls, and when surgery, tests, x-rays and life support equipment may be needed.
Are there any other conditions for which acupuncture is not recommended?
Yes. Acupuncture is generally not recommended for the primary treatment of severe infection, cancer, and heart failure. However, acupuncture has been found useful for easing the effects of chemotherapy and relieving pain in advanced cancer patients. It can also help with your recovery after your acute medical crisis is over.
Who should I see first? An MD or an acupuncturist?
This is at your discretion. Have you already been to your MD and are not feeling any better? Are you concerned that the medications may just be masking symptoms or causing dependency? Have standard medical tests failed to reveal a cause for your problem? Wellspring offers a “no charge” consultation, either over the phone or in person. Get a feel for our approach to care and understanding of acupuncture. You will be given some direction as to how to best proceed. We can also tell you if referral is required to a western medical doctor who understands integrative medicine. We can also consult with your physician to integrate your care.
Can acupuncture improve athletic performance or treat sports or work-out injuries?
Absolutely yes. Many high-performance athletes utilize acupuncture for their injuries or to promote stamina, flexibility, and recovery time. Acupuncture can speed healing and eliminate the discomfort of most sports injuries. We can also direct you in the proper way to prepare for an event and what is important after events to maintain your health and performance.
Can I continue taking my regular medication while receiving acupuncture?
Yes. In most cases, acupuncture treatment may be used along with other medical care to great advantage. It has also been used for pain control after other medical or dental procedures, for improving healing, and to lessen the side-effects of some drugs. If you are taking medications “as needed”, you may notice you need them less; but always check with your medical doctor before discontinuing any prescription medications. Wellspring will not recommend you stop any medications prescribed by a licensed MD, but you should discuss with your doctor any changes.
Can acupuncture be used with infants or children?
Yes. Treatment without needles is primarily used for young children. Studies have shown that it is useful for treating jaundice in newborns. Infants and babies can also be successfully treated for colic, earache, cerebral palsy, myopia, and bed-wetting. Many parents have found that by introducing their children to acupuncture, many childhood diseases are avoided. In the Orient, parents are encouraged to have their children treated every month as a preventive measure.
Can acupuncture help senior citizens?
Yes. Acupuncture is for people of all ages, but the elderly can often experience great benefits from enhanced circulation and energy. It can assist with insomnia. It can increase mental clarity and regulate blood pressure. It can improve balance and prevent injuries. A recent article in the Lancet stated that acupuncture is very beneficial for osteoarthritis of the knees. In the Orient it is recommended for stroke patients as soon as possible after their diagnosis because it is helpful in eliminating or decreasing related paralysis.
Can acupuncture be effective when other treatments have failed?
Yes. Often each system of medicine has its own areas in which it has its greatest effectiveness. Acupuncture’s advantage is that its diagnostic and treatment system has a broad and deep understanding of our energetic nature, as well as the impact of energy in healing. It is not limited by western medicine’s assumption that disease is based in biochemistry. Acupuncture is powerful medicine which works, despite belief or unknown factors. Acupuncture is effective in treatment of animals and coma patients, who are unaffected by the placebo effect.
Does acupuncture hurt?
As one patient described it, “It’s a little worse than a mosquito bite but not as bad as a bee sting.” Most people are surprised (and relieved!) to learn that acupuncture needles are very thin… not like hypodermic needles which are big and hollow. 10-20 of these needles can be inserted into the bore of a typical blood draw needle. Acupuncturists practice a high level of skill in gently placing these tiny needles and often the insertion is barely felt. Often you feel an immediate sense of calm and relaxation. After the needle is inserted you may feel nothing or sometimes a vague numbness, “heaviness” or slight tingling. The treatment is effective whether this is sensed or not. After treatment, many experience a euphoric feeling and often profound peace.
How will Wellspring’s treatment be different from other types of therapy?
Our approach, based on Classical Chinese Medicine, is to treat “the whole person first”, not just the symptoms. We treat the “root and the branch”; the cause and the symptom. Dr. Bonnie or Dr. Amanda will interview you extensively regarding your current condition as well as your history and lifestyle. Then she will perform any diagnostic tests indicated to evaluate your problem and your overall state of health and vitality. We are trained to observe and interpret subtle signs and symptoms which are often disregarded or overlooked by Western medicine.
In addition to western medical diagnostic tests, we use the oriental diagnostic system. This considers many factors to determine the correct points or gateways along the vital energy pathways of the body, called channels. These points are used to regulate the vital energy in the body thereby quickening healing, enhancing health and the feeling of well-being.
Your doctor will explain to you about the types of therapies she can use to treat you. This may include acupuncture, acupressure, herbal medicines, moxibustion, nutrition, exercise, tai ji quan, chiropractic, breathing exercises, etc. She may recommend other treatment based on the type, severity and duration of the condition, and your physical state at the time of treatment. For best therapeutic results, she will talk with you about home care recommendations, so you can get as well as possible as quickly as possible.
What if my regular doctor isn’t familiar with the benefits of acupuncture?
Most westerners have had very little exposure to Chinese medicine. With your written permission we can speak and work with your MD personally, so you receive the best of both worlds. Acupuncture and oriental medicine has stood the test of time for well over 3,000 – 6,500 years! The most well renowned and respected major medical centers such as the Mayo Clinic and Duke are using acupuncture nowadays. The far-reaching impact of this ancient cost effective medical system for healing, wellness, and transformation could well herald the medicine of the future. We encourage you to proceed with confidence into new possibilities for health and well-being.
What chiropractic techniques do you use?
Activator Method, National Diversified, Sacro Occipital Technique, Flexion Distraction Technique, Applied and Clinical Kinesiology and Craniosacral Technique.
Do you require x-rays?
X rays, just like other comparably invasive diagnostic procedures, are only ordered when clinically justified, if the case warrants it. Dr. Walker maintains privileges to order such diagnostic tests at Watauga Medical Center in Boone. If you have had x-rays taken recently, we can usually use those if you bring them with you.
Do you require a long series of chiropractic treatments?
Every case is unique and the course of treatment is determined based on your needs. However, our integrative approach, combining structural (chiropractic) corrections with acupuncture, nutrition, and home exercises usually results in quicker and more complete resolution of your problem. We work with you to get you as well as possible as quickly as possible.
How much will it cost?
As every condition is different, a treatment plan will be designed for you to address your unique condition and achieve maximum resolution of your problem. The average number of treatments required to stabilize most acute conditions is ten to twenty treatments.
Does my insurance pay for acupuncture?
Many insurance carriers still exclude reimbursement for acupuncture but some will consider it if it is prescribed by a physician. Our insurance specialist will help you to find out what your plan will cover. Many employee Flex plans can be used to pay for acupuncture.
Do you accept insurance?
The question should be, does insurance accept us? But if you mean do we accept insurance assignment, the answer is no. This would be the same as our extending credit to multibillion corporations. Payment is expected at time of service.
Do you file insurance?
Yes, we will print the appropriate forms and file them for you, and follow up to be sure the claim is processed in a timely fashion. Any reimbursement will come directly to you.