Acupuncture: Frequently Asked Questions
Enloe's weekly low-cost Outpatient Acupuncture Clinics take place in a group setting for a variety of symptoms related to cancer treatment, as well as for other conditions at the discretion of the acupuncturists.
What Is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is the insertion of thin, sterile needles into the body at specific points that are helpful for the treatment of various health issues.
What Should I Expect During an Acupuncture Treatment?
The needles may be placed on the surface of the ear, the head, the arms and legs, or the torso and back. The needles will be left in place for 15 to 45 minutes depending on the treatment. Most people find the experience relaxing.
What Conditions Can Be Treated by Acupuncture?
The World Health Organization has said that acupuncture can help to treat many conditions, including those affecting ear, nose and throat, and respiratory, gastrointestinal, muscular eye, and nervous system issues.
Many studies have found acupuncture very effective, and it can be used alone or with medication treatments. People who have completed radiation treatment some time ago are also reporting some relief. Acupuncture does not take the place of medicines or surgery, but usually helps patients feel better by stimulating the immune system and releasing endorphins in the brain, which initiates the relaxation response. Ideally this treatment is used before an issue is problematic.
How Does Acupuncture Work?
Experimental studies have shown that acupuncture causes chemicals in our bodies (endorphins, endomorphins and enkephalins) to be released. These substances can change the activity of the nervous, hormonal and immune systems and have an analgesic effect. Acupuncture stimulation has also been shown to increase activity in various areas of the brain. There are also anti-inflammatory benefits.
Is the Treatment Painful?
Most people have very little pain when the needles are put in. Some say that it feels like a mosquito bite. While the needles are in, there may be a feeling of heaviness and/or tingling, or sometimes an electric sensation. The acupuncturist will be present during the treatment and available to answer any questions. If you have any discomfort let your acupuncturist know.
How Many Treatments Will I Need?
While some patients experience symptom relief after a single acupuncture treatment, a course of treatments may be necessary to achieve optimal results, as is the case with many other therapies.
How Is Acupuncture Used with Cancer Therapies?
The American Cancer Society reports a study done by Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, which found that acupuncture reduced pain by 36% in patients with advanced cancer and that it reduces post-chemotherapy fatigue. The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reports that acupuncture increased the effectiveness of anti-nausea medications used in cancer therapies. Research done by Raimond Wong, M.D., and Stephen Sagar, M.D., showed acupuncture helps to reduce pain and improve gait and balance in patients with peripheral neuropathy. Acupuncture has been used for many years in China along with standard treatments for cancer. Medical centers such as Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York and the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center in Boston have used acupuncture as supportive therapy for cancer patients to treat pain, nausea, anxiety, hot flashes, fatigue, neuropathy and dry mouth, and to help patients with their overall sense of well-being. Since its beginnings in 2006, Enloe Medical Center’s acupuncture program has found that acupuncture can effectively reduce many of the side effects of cancer treatment.
Do I Need a Referral from My Doctor?
No. Physician referral is not required. Anyone can call to make an appointment. Call us at (530) 332-3857.
How Do Billing and Payment Work?
Insurance billing is not available for outpatient acupuncture services, and payment is expected at the time of service. At your request you will be provided with a statement of charges, which you can submit to your insurance company for possible reimbursement. No further cash discount applies to outpatient acupuncture procedures, as this service has already been priced accordingly.
What Training Does an Acupuncturist Have?
In the state of California, an acupuncturist must be a graduate from an accredited Traditional Chinese Medical School. After receiving their degree, all students must take an exam from the State of California. Once they receive their license, they may treat patients. To keep their license current, acupuncturists must take continuing education classes.
Still Have Questions About Acupuncture or Our Clinics?
Enloe Regional Cancer Center, Acupuncture Clinic
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