What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), a complete, professional medical system that has been continuously practiced in China for over 3,000 years. Acupuncture utilizes fine, sterile needles inserted at specific points called acupressure points to rebalance the flow of energy and naturally heal the body. How does acupuncture work? It works by rebalancing the chi, restoring the flow of energy. Acupuncture is one of the natural health care solutions at CNMA.
What is acupuncture used for?
Acupuncture has been used to treat a variety of conditions including the following:
• Acute and chronic shoulder, neck & back pain
• Acute muscle strains & joint sprains
• Arthritis pain
• Chronic Pain
• Migraine & tension headaches
• Anxiety & depression
• Weight loss
• Irregular and/or painful menstruation
• Constipation & diarrhea
• Post-stroke paralysis
This is not a definitive list – there are many other acupuncture benefits and treatment can be tailored to your specific needs.
What happens during an acupuncture treatment?
In your initial acupuncture session, the acupuncturist will spend up to 30 minutes asking about your complaint, such as how long you’ve had the problem, your current symptoms, your health history, your diet, your sleeping habits and bowel movements. This information may seem irrelevant to you, but TCM is a holistic medical system that recognizes the link between body, mind, and emotions. Your physical ailment may well have an emotional component too which is one of the reasons why we offer holistic counseling at our practice.
Depending on your health condition, you will either lie facedown on the treatment table, on your back, or on one side. Typically, 4 – 12 acupuncture points are selected. The most common points are on your arms below your elbows, on your legs below your knees, and along either side of your spine from your neck to your sacrum. Each point is swabbed with alcohol before the needle is inserted.
The acupuncturist may ask you to report any sensations of tingling or warmth around the site of the needles. These sensations indicate that the point has been correctly located. Generally, the needles are left in place for about 20 minutes, but painful health conditions may require longer treatment time. A common acupuncture benefit is that it’s usually very relaxing. All you have to do is lie still and it’s quite common for people to fall asleep during their treatment.
TIP: As you lie there (eyes closed) breathe slowly, smoothly, and deeply through your nose. As you exhale RELAX and let go of your ailment. Imagine it leaving your body.
Does acupuncture hurt?
If you’ve never had acupuncture before this is probably your first question! Acupuncture does not hurt. The needles are extremely fine and you typically feel a light prick when the needles are being inserted. The sensation does vary depending on where the needles are being inserted, but very few people say that acupuncture hurts. Acupuncture is safe too. The needles are sterile, single-use disposables so the entire process is clean.
How many treatments will I need?
Overall treatment time is dependent upon many factors such as the nature and severity of your complaint, how long you’ve had it, your age, your general health, your lifestyle, and how much you are willing to do to assist the healing process.
TCM views each individual as unique. Your acupuncturist will recommend a treatment schedule customized for your unique health condition. They may also suggest Chinese herbal medicine and dietary/lifestyle changes to help facilitate healing.
How much does it cost? Will insurance cover it? Is it expensive?
At Colorado Natural Medicine, we have one Licensed Acupuncturist. Please see Services below for Dr. Graves’ individual pricing for initial and follow-up treatments. Our practitioner also offers packages for a percent savings on return follow up visits.
Acupuncture is quickly gaining ground in the US as a viable, complementary medicine. Some insurance companies may cover your treatments. It’s always worth asking. Many medical/health flexible spending accounts allow acupuncture. Our practitioners insurance policies vary slightly, so check with us first if you’re interested in using insurance to pay for your treatment and we can advise you on how to proceed.
Is acupuncture expensive? A study in six clinics in five states demonstrated the effectiveness and cost savings of acupuncture. Of the patients treated with acupuncture, 91.5% reported disappearance or improvement of symptoms; 84% said they see their MDs less; 79% said they use fewer prescription drugs and 70% of those to whom surgery had been recommended said they avoided it.
Is acupuncture safe?
When performed by a competently trained, licensed professional, acupuncture is extremely safe. All licensed acupuncturists today use individually packaged, sterile, disposable needles, so there is virtually no chance of infection or contagion. Talk with us to learn more about why acupuncture works.
Is Chinese herbal medicine safe?
Chinese herbal medicine is safe when prescribed by licensed acupuncturists, based on comprehensive traditional Chinese medical diagnosis. It utilizes naturally occurring leaves, twigs, seeds, minerals, and bones. There is a very low risk for side effects. In fact, Chinese herbs often can help reduce the side effects of many western medications.
Many people choose Chinese herbal medicine as a safe alternative to antibiotics, anti-inflammatory medications and chronic pain medications. Ad added benefit is that herbal medicine comes with a very low risk of dependence.
Chinese herbal medicine can be used to treat acute ailments like a cold or injury as well as chronic ailments such as respiratory and gastrointestinal disorders, migraines, insomnia, and diabetes, just to name a few. Remember, Chinese medicine is a wellness medicine. It is meant to keep you balanced and healthy to prevent illness.
Do I have to stop taking my prescription medications?
Please don’t. In our culture, acupuncture is best used as a complementary medicine, meaning done along with standard medical care. It is important to inform your acupuncturist of all the medications you take so that they have all the information necessary for designing a beneficial plan and avoiding negative interactions.
Most western medications will not react adversely with Chinese herbs, but if we feel it is not safe, you will not be prescribed herbs. The biggest factor to successfully taking western medications and Chinese herbs is the amount of time between doses. For example, if you take a western drug in the morning, we would ask that you take the Chinese herb two hours later.
After a few treatments, you may need a medication adjustment because your body is doing its job better and needs less support from medication. This decision is one you and your physician will make, but your acupuncturist may recommend that you see your doctor to review your medications.
What criteria should I use in choosing an acupuncturist?
If you are considering acupuncture, ask about the prospective practitioner’s certification. Acupuncture is a licensed and regulated health care profession in 40+ states in the US. In addition, the National Certification Commission of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine certifies both acupuncturists and Chinese herbal practitioners.
Acupuncturists who have passed the NCCAOM exams are entitled to add Dipl. Ac. (Diplomate of Acupuncture) or Dipl. C.H. (Diplomate of Chinese Herbs) after their name. Acupuncturists and herbalists with additional hours of western biomedical training may use Dipl. OM (Diplomate Oriental Medicine).
You might also want to know how long the practitioner has been in practice. Perhaps most important, find out how experienced the practitioner is in treating your specific health concern.
What should I know about the proposed treatments?
Keep in mind that the intent of acupuncture (and Chinese medicine) is to treat the whole person, not just an isolated symptom. This makes it possible to discover underlying causes of the original complaint and to treat the root of the problem.
Your practitioner will explain the nature of your problem in Oriental medical terms and the treatment they are recommending. Your practitioner will tell you the benefits and risks to the proposed treatment. They should also outline other treatment options that are available to you, either through this practice or by referral to another practitioner or physician.
What should I do before receiving an acupuncture treatment?
- Wear loose clothing. Women should not wear one-piece dresses.
- Avoid wearing tight stockings.
- Avoid treatment when excessively fatigued, hungry, full, emotionally upset, or shortly after sex.
- Eat something 1-2 hours before your appointment.
- Avoid brushing your tongue the day of treatment.
- Avoid alcohol or other treatments before your treatment.
What should I do while receiving an acupuncture treatment?
- Turn off your cell phone. This is your time to focus on yourself.
- Relax, breathe, and tune into your body.
- Ask any questions you have along the way so that you can get the most benefit possible from your treatment.
- Do not change your position or move suddenly.
- Report sensations. Tell your practitioner if you experience discomfort. Pain is your body’s way of letting you know that something isn’t right.
What can I expect after treatment?
Immediately following a treatment, you may feel a bit fuzzy-brained, blissful, or ungrounded. Take a few moments to bring yourself back to earth. Have a drink of water. Give yourself a bit of time to readjust to “real life”.
Patients often experience dramatic results in the first treatment. Some patients will experience immediate relief of pain or other symptoms. This relief may last, or some pain may return. In some cases, relief may not be immediate and the pain may diminish over the next few days. Rarely, the patient will experience a worsening of symptoms over the next 48 hours, only to enjoy significant relief thereafter.
I’ve tried it before without success. Will this be different?
The most successful acupuncture treatments bring together the skillfulness of the practitioner in connecting with the patient, an accurate diagnosis, and an appropriate treatment plan. An often-overlooked aspect is the readiness of the patient to heal. If you’ve tried acupuncture before and did not experience positive results, one or more of those aspects may have been missing.
There is a wide range of skill, styles, and personalities among acupuncturists, just as there are with most helping professions. It may take a couple of attempts to find a practitioner with whom you feel comfortable. It’s worth the effort.
Also, many states, including Colorado, allow MDs and chiropractors to offer acupuncture after minimal training and, possibly, licensing through their respective boards. An acupuncturist licensed by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine has completed a three- or four-year program of full-time study and hundreds of hours of clinical internships to receive their Master of Science in Traditional Oriental Medicine. Like other highly trained professionals, they maintain this license with annual continuing education. Check with your practitioner for details about their primary training and focus.
Acupuncture Services (Melissa Crum, LAc or Dr. Adam Graves, ND, LAc)
Initial Acupuncture Appointment (Dr. Adam Graves, ND, LAc or Melissa Crum, LAc)
Your first appointment with Dr. Graves or Melissa Crum will be an in-depth assessment of your health including your Present Health Concerns, Medical History, Medications & Supplements, and Nutrition & Lifestyle so they can make an accurate diagnosis and determine how acupuncture can best benefit you.
Here is what to expect from this appointment:
- Depending on your health condition, you will either lie facedown on the treatment table, on your back, or on one side. Typically, 4 – 12 acupuncture points are selected. The most common points are on your arms below your elbows, on your legs below your knees, and along either side of your spine from your neck to your sacrum. Each point is swabbed with alcohol before the needle is inserted.
- The acupuncture needles are extremely fine and you typically feel a light prick when the needles are being inserted. The sensation does vary depending on where the needles are being inserted, but very few people say that acupuncture hurts.
- Your acupuncturist will ask you about any sensations of tingling or warmth around the site of the needles. These sensations indicate that the point has been correctly located. Generally, the needles are left in place for about 20 minutes, but painful health conditions may require longer treatment time.
- A common acupuncture benefit is that it’s usually very relaxing. All you have to do is lie still and it’s quite common for people to fall asleep during their treatment.
Return Acupuncture Appointment (Dr. Adam Graves, ND, LAc or Melissa Crum, LAc)
Your acupuncturist will recommend a treatment plan depending on a number of factors such as the nature and severity of your complaint, how long you’ve had it, your age, your general health, your lifestyle, and how much you are willing to do to assist the healing process. Since Traditional Chinese Medicine recognizes every individual as unique, your treatment schedule will be customized for your unique health condition.
Your acupuncturist will continue to work with you on your treatment plan to make progress toward healing your health concerns.
4 Return Acupuncture Treatments Package (Melissa Crum, LAc or Dr. Adam Graves, ND, LAc)
Colorado Natural Medicine offers 4 return acupuncture treatments for patients on a treatment plan ($40 discount). This package can be purchased at our office for $440.
8 Return Acupuncture Treatments Package (Melissa Crum, LAc or Dr. Adam Graves, ND, LAc)
Colorado Natural Medicine offers 8 return acupuncture treatments for patients on a treatment plan ($165 discount). This package can be purchased at our office for $795.
Smoking Cessation Package (Dr. Adam Graves, ND, LAc)
Are you ready to quit smoking for good? Acupuncture helps alleviate the symptoms associated with the chemical withdrawal from quitting smoking. This package includes your initial treatment session plus four additional sessions for $595. The sessions should be spaced three in the first week and two in the second week to get you through the most challenging part of quitting. Please call 303.688.6698 to inquire about this package and for additional instructions.
At Colorado Natural Medicine and Acupuncture, we provide acupuncture services to patients and clients from many areas south of Denver including: Castle Rock, Parker, Highlands Ranch, Castle Pines, Greenwood Village, Lone Tree, Franktown, Elizabeth, and Larkspur.