Welcome to 
City Acupuncture

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Frequently Asked Questions

How does acupuncture work?
    There are a number of different styles of acupuncture but they all involve inserting fine needles into points along meridians in the body. Meridians are channels much like tiny rivers that conduct qi (pronounced "chee") throughout the body. Qi can be thought of as the body's ability to carry out metabolic processes, in other words, it is the power behind everything the body does including growth, movement of substances within the body, movement of the body, production of substances, digestion, tissue maintenence and repair, fertility, immune functions, and more.
   Blocked qi, excess or deficient qi, or other pathological influences can effect the body's ability to work properly and can cause pain, discomfort, or disease.  By inserting an acupuncture needle into the proper points, the functions of points are enhanced and optimized and normal flow of qi can be restored, thus relieving pain and retuning the body to normal functions.


Does acupuncture hurt?
   Most people experience no pain with acupuncture. Commonly people describe the sensation of qi flowing in response to the insertion of acupuncture needles as a pulling, a heavy, or a warm sensation either at the insertion site or along the meridian or both. Sometimes there can be an itching sensation at the site of insertion, and on certain points there can be an electrical sensation. When the qi is blocked at a point, there can be a stronger sensation initially upon insertion which tends to subside within one to two minutes. Some people are more sensitive to the sensation of qi being directed by the needles. In these cases, finer needles and fewer points are used.

What does acupuncture treat?
   Acupuncture treats a wide range of conditions. Often acupuncture is used as a relaxation tool or for preventative care. The most common use of acupuncture, however, is to treat pain of all kinds:
acute pain, chronic pain, post surgical pain, pain caused by a trauma such as a fall or other injury, nerve pain, numbness, low back pain, neck pain, joint pain, migraines and headaches. Other common conditions treated effectively by acupuncture and it's supportive modalities include insomnia/poor sleep, weight gain, stress, anxiety, depression, PTSD, infertility, digestive issues, detox, allergies, difficulty breathing, cold and flu, menstrual issues and other women's health concerns, menopause, allergies, men's health, sexual function and more. Contact us to discuss whether acupuncture is right for you.

Can I receive acupuncture if I'm pregnant?
   Women who are pregnant or looking to become pregnant can safely receive acupuncture. Since acupuncture can also be used to induce labor, it is very important to let your practitioner know if you are pregnant or likely to become pregnant. During pregnancy, acupuncture can effectivly treat nausea, digestive upset, back pain, decreased energy and other concerns. After birth, acupuncture is helpful during recovery, and safe and supportive during nursing.


What if I'm afraid of needles?
   The thought of having needles inserted into the skin is disconcerting for many people. For most people, their concerns fade away as soon as the first needle is inserted. Some helpful things to know about acupuncture and the needles used are that the needles are very fine, in most cases they have a smaller diameter than a human hair. For comparison, as many as 15 acupuncture needles can fit inside a needle that is used in the doctor's office to draw blood. Acupuncture needles are solid, nothing is being injected into or drawn out of your body. And, if you are finding it difficult to get past the idea of needles, Chinese medicine has much more to offer and many ways to treat conditions that do not involve needles.

Is there anyone who shouldn't receive acupuncture?
   You should not receive acupuncture if you haven't had anything to eat or drink the day of your treatment, or if you are very deeply fatigued. A small percentage of people find they are so sensitive to the sensation of the needles directing qi flow that they cannot relax during a treatment. In such a case, a different method of treatment would be more appropriate.

Will I feel a difference after one session?
   Most people get off the treatment table after acupuncture feeling markedly different than before their treatment. Usually pain is relieved and other symptoms subside, at least temporarily. However, rarely is one session enough to completely resolve most conditions. There are many factors that contribute to imbalances in the body and often times until dietary and lifestyle choices are changed, the condition may not fully resolve. Your practitioner will help guide you through these other factors by making diet and lifestyle recommendations and by giving stretches and exercises for you to do at home. The more you participate is these ways, the faster you'll see the results you're looking for.

What does an acupuncture treatment include?
   A complete acupuncture treatment usually starts with an assessment. The practitioner assesses the state of the yin, yang, qi and blood in the body and the functioning of all of the internal organs. To do this, she observes the vitality of the person, looks at their tongue, feels their pulses, and asks a wide range of questions about pain, sleep, sweat, bowel movements, urine, temperature, digestion and more. From the information gathered, including the person's chief complaint, a treatment is designed to specifically treat that person that day. The treatment involves the inserton of acupuncture needles into a combination of  points while the receiver relaxes on the treatment table. Needles generally remain in for 30-50 minutes. Sometimes the practitioner might add or remove needles or stimulate them to enhance the effect. Treatments may also include moxibustion (burning of the herb moxa near a point or over an area of the body), cupping, gua sha, tuina, craniosacral, recommendations for herbs, stretches and/or exercises, and lifestyle recommendations. For images and definitions of some of these techniques, see the SERVICES page.

How often should I receive acupuncture?
   Often people receive treatments once a week, but sometimes better results are attained with more frequent treatments. When symptoms are relieved by a treatment, it is best to receive the next treatment before symptons return to the severity they were before the first treatment. In this way, treatments build on each other and resolve the problem more efficiently. This is especially true when treating pain. When treating pain the ideal sequencing might be every 3-5 days for the first 2-4 weeks, then every 5-7 days for a few weeks, then every 10 days to 2 weeks until treatments are only needed monthly, then not at all. The goal of acupuncture is to resolve your pain, discomfort or illness, not to keep you coming back weekly for years.
   When acupuncture is being supported by herbs, treatments can be a week apart or more because taking the herbal formula is like receiving a treatment daily. Your practitioner can advise you of the best regimen for your condition.

What education does an acupuncturist have?
   Acupuncturists who have received their education in the United States have either a Master's in Acupuncture or a Master's in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. Some practitioners have additional training and hold a PhD. In Arizona, to be a licensed acupuncturist, practitioners must graduate from an ACAOM (American Council of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine) accredited school. ACAOM has specific curriculum requirements including extensive study in Chinese medicine theory and practice, Western medicine, and hundreds of supervised clinic hours over a 3 or 4 year program. Addittionally, practitioners must pass multiple national board exams overseen by NCCAOM (National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine) in order to attain a license to practice acupuncture. Additionally, yearly continuing education credits are necessary to maintain a license.

What is the difference between acupuncture and dry needling?
   Dry needling is done by a physical therapist who has undergone training in the techniques involved. It is the insertion of acupuncture needles into muscles, often around joints, to release muscular tension to alleviate pain caused by tight muscles. Acupuncture is done by an acupuncturist who has a Master's degree in Chinese medicine. Acupuncture is the insertion of acupuncture needles into points along meridians to regulate the flow of qi and/or the functions of the points.

Will my insurance pay for my acupuncture treatments?
  If your insurance offers out of network benefits, it might cover acupuncture or physical therapy done by an acupuncturist. For more information go to our insurance page. Or, fill out our insurance verification form and we'll contact your insurance company for you. We'll be in touch with you within 2 business days to let you know what benefits you have. 

How much does it cost?
   If your health insurance doesn't cover the cost of your treatments, your cost will range from $40-$80 depending on what condition is being treated. The breakdown is this: $40 acupuncture only (20-30 minutes with therapist, no additional modalities, 1 hr session), add $25 for moxa, cupping, tuina (30-40 miutes with the therapist, 1 hr session), add $25 for herbal or nutritional consultation (30-40 minutes with therapist, 1 hr session). If acupuncture, additional modalities and herbal or nutritional consultation are required or requested the cost is $80 (40-50 minutes with the therapist, 1 hr session). $80 is also the cost for a 1 hr craniosacral session, 1 hr nutritional consultation, or a 1 hr tuina session. Packages are available. Cost of herbs is not included in the price of the treatment. Hebal formulas range from $12-$60 for a 10 day supply, most being $30-$40, plus tax. For more information see our services page .

What should I wear?
  Wear comfortable clothing that you can relax in and that can be moved if necessary to above the elbows and above the knees. You'll remove shoes, belt and some jewelry during your treatment and you may need to remove some clothing, depending on the treatment. If clothing does need to be removed, you'll be draped with a sheet for privacy.

Can children receive acupuncture?
  Children can be treated. The techniques used will vary depending on the age of the child. From infancy to age 7 or 8 we primarily treat by brushing meridians to optimize function. Treatment for children in this age range may also include using small metal beads stuck to the skin like a small bandaid to stimulate a specific point. From age 7 or 8 to teens, kids are treated somewhat like a younger child and somewhat like an adult. They might receive small needles if needed but in few points for a short duration. Largely, tuina, brushing the meridians, and mild stimulation of points through acupressure or the use of small metal beads provides adequate treatment. As children enter their teens, they are progressively treated more like adults. Needles are used more often, more points are stimulated and needles are retained longer. Children of any age can be treated with herbs. Dosages are altered based on the size of the child.