Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of training does an acupuncturist have?

A Licensed Acupuncturist (L.Ac.) must hold at least a Master's degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) in order to practice. TCM graduate programs usually take three years and include hundreds of classroom and clinical hours. After that the acupuncturist completes four national board exams and must apply for a license in each state where he or she intends to practice, agreeing to complete a designated amount of continuing education hours in each state. Some Licensed Acupuncturists choose to maintain a national certification as well as their state licensing; these practitioners also have "Dipl." after their names.

 

What is a treatment like?

Treatments at Beachside Community Acupuncture may be different from what you've experienced before and can be broken down into two parts. First, the acupuncturist will discuss your chief concerns and ask questions about your health in a private office. At this time, she will also look at your tongue and feel your pulse; from all of this the acupuncturist will have a good idea of how your body is balanced. Next, you'll take a seat in our community treatment room where you'll relax for up to an hour while the needles do their work.

 

How does acupuncture work?

Acupuncture works by evening out imbalances in the body. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, symptoms of pain, insomnia, infertility, etc. result when imbalances (or what we call patterns) occur from our lifestyles, diets, injuries, and other factors. In Western medicine, acupuncture regulates hormones and neurotransmitters, improves circulation, increases white blood cell activity, and more. 

 

For example, a lot of research in TCM focuses on acupuncture for pain relief. Studies have shown that acupuncture improves circulation and white blood cell activity in areas of pain, which means acupuncture can increase healing time. Think of when you first injure yourself, say by spraining your ankle. The joint will become swollen and hot, as the body sends more blood to the area to work on the injury. As time goes on, circulation decreases in the injured area, and the body just learns to cope with it. Acupuncture tells the body to wake up and get back to work, giving it a gentle nudge to increase circulation and heal that old injury. At this point it's like breaking a habit: The body is used to compensating for the injury - it's accepted it and moved on - and we need to consistently tell it to get moving with our acupuncture needles, acupressure, and other tools. Each person's body responds to this differently. Very, very few people just need one treatment - one kick in the right direction and their body is back on track - but most bodies need that reminder at least once a week.

 

For more information on how acupuncture works for specific conditions, click through the buttons on our homepage.

 

What does acupuncture treat?

The short answer is almost anything. Acupuncture is best known for treating pain, but because Licensed Acupuncturists look at how all of the body systems interact, they can treat everything from insomnia to infertility to indigestion and more. 

 

Is acupuncture painful?

Most of the needles you won't feel at all because they are so small (about the diameter of a hair), but some may feel like a mosquito bite when they are inserted. Some patients feel sensations of heaviness, tingling, warmth, or coolness as circulation starts in the body - some feel these even where there aren't needles - but often patients don't feel anything at all and just go to sleep.

 

Is acupuncture effective for weight loss?

Acupuncture can improve digestion and energy, decrease pain, and regulate cravings, all of which will help a person's metabolism and motivation. That being said, acupuncture should be seen as another tool to help you lose weight, not as magic bullet that will make up for poor diet choices. If weight loss is your goal, your Licensed Acupuncturist will discuss your diet and lifestyle with you in addition to using acupuncture points to help you.

 

Is acupuncture safe for pregnant women?

If you are struggling with infertility, acupuncture can support your body and give it stability, whether you are trying to conceive naturally or are using a medical intervention like intrauterine insemination (IUI) or in vitro fertilization (IVF). If you've conceived and no longer need acupuncture for fertility, still consider receiving regular treatments to maintain your health throughout your pregnancy. Acupuncture and Chinese herbs can help common issues like nausea and back pain, and even improve outcomes for women who have a history of miscarriages or other serious complications. There are a few points that we avoid in pregnant women - for example points in the abdomen and the points that we use to induce labor - but otherwise acupuncture treatments are very similar and just as effective during pregnancy.

 

How many treatments will I need?

Every patient is different and will need a different treatment plan. We usually recommend coming in two to three times per week for two to three weeks and then tapering off from there. Some conditions will require more time to treat depending on their severity and how long they've been an issue. Many patients like to continue coming in regularly even after an issue has been resolved just for the chance to relax. Our goal is to get you to a "maintenance" level in which you only come in once every month or two to keep your body balanced; just keep us in mind if anything else comes up!

 

Do you take insurance?

Because treatment rates vary on our sliding scale, we can't work with insurance companies directly. We are more than happy to give you  a receipt for your treatments, though, so that you may get reimbursed.