Dr. Julie Sutton is a licensed acupuncturist at Belltown Spine & Wellness who sees acupuncture as an integral part of a holistic wellness program. Below are answers to frequently asked questions about acupuncture, and Dr. Julie is happy to answer any other questions you may have.
Nine Questions about Acupuncture
1. What is acupuncture?
Sixteenth century Chinese doctors believed that illness was due to an imbalance of energy in the body. In acupuncture, disposable, stainless steel needles are used to stimulate the body's 14 major meridians, or energy-carrying channels, to resist or overcome illnesses and conditions by correcting these imbalances.
2. How does it work?
Acupuncture is also thought to decrease pain by increasing the release of chemicals that block pain, called endorphins. Many acu-points are near nerves. When stimulated, these nerves cause a dull ache or feeling or feeling of fullness in the muscle. The stimulated muscle sends a message to the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord), causing the release of endorphins (morphine-like chemicals produced in our own bodies during times of pain or stress). Endorphins, along with neurotransmitters (body chemicals that modify nerve impulses), block the message of pain from being delivered to the brain.
3.What conditions are treated with acupuncture?
Acupuncture is very effective in treating several diseased and conditions. Acupuncture is most effective at treating chronic pain such as: headaches, menstrual cramps, low back, neck or muscle pain. It can also be used to treat arthritis, facial pain, pain from shingles, and spastic colon and colitis conditions. Acupuncture has also been successful in treating obesity and addictions such as nicotine or drugs. Acupuncture can also can improve the functioning of the immune system.
4. Are the needles sterile?
Yes. All needles are individually sterilized used one-time-only.
5. Is it safe?
Yes. When acupuncture is performed with disposable needles under clean, sterile conditions, and by a qualified practitioner it is highly unusual to have any complications.
6. What are the advantages of acupuncture?
One of the benefits to acupuncture is that it is a drug-free way to minimize pain. With drugs, people often develop a tolerance, or the need for an increased dosage to achieve the same required effect. However, this does not happen with acupuncture. In addition, acupuncture allows the doctor to immediately examine a person's response to the treatment and adjust it if necessary.
7. Will my health insurance policy cover acupuncture treatment?
Some insurance companies will pay for acupuncture. Because each insurance provider has different restrictions, you can always give us your insurance information andwe can check on your benefit.
8. What happens during acupuncture treatment?
The acupuncturist, the person who performs acupuncture, will swab each acu-point with alcohol before tapping a hair-thin, metal needle into the site. The number of needles used during treatment can vary and are placed at various depths. They are placed under the skin in carefully determined points on the body.
After the needles have been inserted, they stay in place for several minutes to an hour. During the treatment, acupuncture needles are twirled, energized electrically, or warmed to intensify the effect of the treatment.
9. Does it hurt?
You may feel a slight prick when the needle is inserted, but it is much less painful than the prick you feel during an injection because the needles are much thinner. You may feel a heaviness, numbness, tingling, or mild soreness after the needles have been inserted.