What is acupuncture, anyway? How does it work?
Originating in China more than 2,500 years ago, acupuncture is one of the most thoroughly researched, practiced, and respected forms of complementary medicine available anywhere. It seeks to treat each person as an integrated whole in body, mind, and spirit, as well as to remedy the root cause of illness and disease, not just the symptoms. Acupuncture is a way of adjusting the body’s flow of energy—called “chi”—through the insertion of tiny needles into carefully selected points along the meridians of the body, and then generally left in place for 20-30 minutes. Points and number of needles depend on the condition being treated and the patient’s individual needs. Once the flow of chi is restored, the body is encouraged to heal itself.
What? Needles? I don’t like needles…
Acupuncture needles are only about a hair’s width thick and have a beveled end, so they do not cut into the skin as hypodermic needles do. Most people don’t even feel the needles being inserted, and the sensation is very rarely painful. People sometimes report a tingling sensation; this is a sign of the chi flowing and the treatment working exactly as it should. Many people find acupuncture extremely relaxing, and feel calmed, rejuvenated, and energized at the end of a treatment.
Is it safe?
As with any form of health care, the answer depends on the skill of the practitioner and his or her training. Cheech’s training is top-notch, and he is fully certified by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). To further ensure patient safety, Wen Health and Wellness uses only sterile, disposable needles for all treatments.
Will acupuncture work for my migraines/sciatica/back pain/etc.?
The short answer? Probably so. The National Institute of Health [NIH] and the World Health Organization [WHO] endorse acupuncture’s effectiveness for many ailments, including:
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Headaches (including migraines)
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Seasonal Affective Disorder
Urinary tract infections
Do I have to believe in it for it to work?
No. Although a positive attitude boosts the efficacy of all kinds of treatment, be they alternative or conventional, a “belief” in acupuncture is not required. Studies on “non-believers” have proved acupuncture’s effectiveness. Acupuncture has also been shown to provide relief even for animals and children too young to develop “belief.”
How long before I see results?
Many patients report improvement after the first treatment. For maximum results, Wen Health and Wellness generally recommends approximately four to six weekly treatments. Less frequent follow-up visits may be recommended depending on the specific needs of the individual. We will work with you to determine a treatment length and schedule that is right for you.
Do I have to stop seeing my doctor/taking my medication?
NO. Acupuncture is not an opponent of conventional medicine, and is usually a very effective complement to whatever treatments you’re already receiving. Communication is essential, however; please come to your appointment with a list of any medications you’re taking, and tell your doctor that you’re also receiving acupuncture. In some cases, with the patient’s permission, Wen Health and Wellness may consult with your regular physician.
What kind of insurance do you accept?
Kansas law does not currently require insurance companies to cover acupuncture. However, more and more companies are recognizing the efficacy of alternative treatments, so check with your individual company to see whether your treatment is covered. Payment is due at the time of service, and Wen Health and Wellness does not deal directly with insurance companies. However, we are happy to prepare a statement for you to submit to your insurance company to see what they will cover.
If your insurer does not cover acupuncture, and you find it beneficial, ask them to start covering it. The more patients ask, the more likely insurance companies will be to cover alternative treatments in the future. Now is the time to advocate for your own health.
Do I need a referral from my doctor?
That depends on your insurance company. If they cover acupuncture, they might require you to get a referral from your physician. Otherwise, no, no referral is necessary.
My chiropractor offers acupuncture. Why can’t I just see him?
Most states only require a chiropractor to have 100-200 hours of clinical continuing education to offer acupuncture; Kansas does not even have this minimal requirement. By contrast, Cheech has over 3,000 hours of clinical education and a Master of Science in Traditional Oriental Medicine from the Kansas College of Chinese Medicine. His training comes from the top acupuncturists in Wichita and Chicago. In addition, Cheech has completed the rigorous requirements of the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) and is fully certified by that organization.
If you want to see your chiropractor for acupuncture, go right ahead. But make sure he or she has the proper training.
What should I expect at my first appointment?
We begin with a complete intake, including medical history, surgeries, major illnesses, and current medications/therapies. We recommend that you wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing that provides easy access to your arms, lower legs, shoulders, and neck.
What about massage, gua sha, cupping, and those other things I saw listed on the home page?
In addition to acupuncture, Wen Health and Wellness specializes in other forms of traditional Chinese medicine, and will work with you to determine a unique course of treatment to optimize your results. These modalities include:
- Tui Na Massage
Tui Na is an ancient form of bodywork that is based on the principles of Traditional Chinese
Medicine. It uses a variety of pressures and strokes along the meridians of your body to both
relax your muscles and also stimulate the flow of energy throughout your body. By treating both
the physical (musculature) and energetic (chi) levels of your body at the same time, results can
be far beyond what you’d receive from a conventional massage therapy session.
- Chinese Herbs
Chinese herbal medicine is a 2,000 year old tradition using naturally occurring substances to
enhance one's health and vitality, as well as to support the body’s natural self-healing mechanisms. Since each patient has different needs, we carefully select and combine a variety of herbs that will synergistically blend together to achieve optimal results for your unique situation. We prescribe high-quality, professional-grade herbal medicines that are available only to qualified licensed professionals.
Cupping has been a part of Chinese Medicine for over 2,500 years. It relieves aches and pains,
improves circulation, and also helps with respiratory and digestive issues. We simply place a
specialized "cup" onto specific points on your body, and then use suction to draw your skin up
into the cups. It doesn't hurt — it simply draws fresh blood to that area of your body, which
facilitates the cleansing and strengthening of your Qi (energy). The end result is a greater overall
sense of health and well-being.
- Gua Sha
Gua Sha is recognized throughout Asia as a highly effective treatment for chronic pain
conditions, stress, fatigue, and a host of other ailments. Treatment consists of the application of
Gua Sha oil along the necessary meridians of the body, followed by the use of a smooth, round-
edged object (such as a spoon) to apply short, brisk strokes to the area.
This creates red patches of skin (called "Sha"), detoxifying your blood and restoring the healthy
flow of chi to the area. There is no pain involved, and the Sha will fade in 2 to 3 days, but
the sense of health and vitality you experience from it will last much longer.