Acupuncture FAQs

How does acupuncture work?

Acupuncture is based on the movement of Qi (pronounced ‘chee’). Qi is the lifegiving energy that circulates along channels to all organs of the body and enables them to function.

If your Qi is depleted or obstructed, symptoms may arise. Because nature’s tendency is to self-correct imbalances, we usually recover over time. Persistent symptoms indicate an imbalance on a deeper level. The acupuncturist focuses treatment on both the root cause and symptoms of the imbalance.

How is acupuncture performed?

There are about 360 points that acupuncturists use to influence Qi. This is done with acupuncture needles or by smoldering an herb over the area. The needles used are pre-sterilized, single-use disposable stainless steel, and are barely larger than the thickness of several human hairs.

What do the needles feel like?

The acupuncturist gently inserts the needle just beneath the skin’s surface. The sensation varies from person to person. You may feel nothing, a quick pinch or perhaps a dull ache or tingle. Most treatments involve only two to six needles.

What happens during a treatment session?

At your first visit, the acupuncturist will gather information about your medical and family history, likes and dislikes. A brief physical exam will be performed. Sharing your concerns, life situations, stresses and symptoms is an important part of your treatment.

Your information will be updated at each visit. Typically, you'll be seen weekly for about six weeks; after that, treatment times are spaced out to help you maintain energy balance.

What's the relationship between conventional medicine and acupuncture?

Acupuncture is easily integrated into and used with conventional medicine. We recommend not altering medication or other therapies without consulting your provider.

Do I have to believe in acupuncture for it to work?

Acupuncture has been used successfully to treat children and animals, neither of which have preconceived beliefs about its effectiveness. As with any healing system, a positive outlook and lifestyle can reinforce the effects of treatment.

What about insurance coverage?

The Student Health Benefit Plan covers acupuncture at UHS. Treatment is also available on a fee-for-service basis; if your insurance plan covers acupuncture, you may submit claims to them for reimbursement.