FAQ

Q. Does acupuncture really work?

Q. Does my insurance pay for acupuncture?

Q. What does the State of California think about acupuncture?

Q. What is a primary care provider?

Q. I am afraid of needles - isn't there another way to be treated?

Q. Is acupuncture safe?  What about catching a disease from the needles?

Q. Do all acupuncturists use these safety techniques?

Q. Are you insured?

Q. Do you accept credit cards?

 


Q. Does acupuncture really work?

A. Patients in Asia have been receiving acupuncture treatments for thousands of years because they believe in it, and what's more, many American insurance companies agree with them.  Medical studies have found acupuncture to be effective in treating pain and nausea - so much so that insurance companies now consider acupuncture to be "medically necessary"  for several different conditions.

Q. Does my insurance pay for acupuncture?

A. In many cases, it does. Not all policies do, and not all conditions are covered, but check with your plan to see if it covers acupuncture.  Or let us do that for you - we can easily determine your eligibility.  We work with an insurance clearinghouse and are able to process claims with nearly all insurance companies.

Q. What does the State of California think about acupuncture?

A. In California, acupuncturists are considered to be primary care providers.  Within the Department of Consumer Affairs, California has an Acupuncture Board that is responsible for determining the skills, knowledge and experience required in order to practice in this state.  A Master of Science degree in Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine from a university recognized by the California Acupuncture Board is required before a prospective acupuncturist is allowed to take the state's licensing test.

In order to protect consumers, California's licensing test is considered to be significantly more demanding than in other states.  Additionally, ongoing professional education is required in order to renew the California license.  For more information on this subject, you can also visit their webpage at www.acupuncture.ca.gov.

Q. What is a primary care provider?

A. Primary care providers are medical and healthcare providers who can generally be seen by new patients without a referral from a doctor.  It means that they have the diagnostic skills and knowledge needed to evaluate and treat a new patient's medical condition, and to refer the patient to an appropriate specialist when needed.

Q. I am afraid of needles - isn't there another way to be treated?

A. Definitely! Traditional Chinese Medicine is more than just acupuncture.  Medical acupressure massage treats the same points as acupuncture, but without needles. Electrical stimulation of these points is a modern variation of traditional treatment.  Herbal medicine that is prepared according to the needs of each patient is often used as well.  Cupping and moxa are two other treatments that are effectively used in treating certain conditions.

However, we have found that many people who are afraid of acupuncture have an incorrect understanding of what acupuncture needles actually are.  To many people, a medical needle brings to mind the hypodermic needles used by western doctors or even worse, those huge metal monstrosities used by dentists!  Those needles tend to cause pain because they must be hollow and big enough in diameter to allow the liquid to pass through it.  You have probably also noticed that the pain from an injection is often caused more by the medicine being injected than by the needle itself.

On the other hand, acupuncture needles are solid, not hollow, because they are not used to inject medicine. They are also much smaller in diameter than hypodermic needles, so most people find that they actually feel little to no pain when the needles are inserted. The next time you visit us for other Traditional Chinese Medicine treatments, ask to look at an acupuncture needle and see for yourself.  We will be glad to show you.

Q. Is acupuncture safe?  What about catching a disease from the needles?

A. Yes, it is safe for several reasons. 

First, all acupuncture needles used in our clinic are FDA approved, sterile, disposable and are used once and only once.  They are then safely disposed of according to California medical waste disposal requirements, and according to the requirements of our Santa Clara County Environmental Health Permit.

Second, we always use the Clean Needle Technique (CNT).  This is a set of methods that ensure the safety of both patients and acupuncturists.  Passing a CNT class is required prior to licensing and a section of CNT questions is included on the state licensing test.  Among other things, following the CNT guidelines means we always clean the patient's skin with alcohol before inserting a needle, which protects you against any germs that are already on your skin. It also means that we always wash our hands thoroughly before treating each patient, thoroughly disinfecting our hands using the sink, soap, and running water that we have in each of our treatment rooms.

Third, you can determine how safe a type of healthcare is by how insurers price their malpractice insurance.  For acupuncture, it is very inexpensive!

Keeping the patient safe is more than just a nice goal or a state requirement, though, it is why we are in this business in the first place.  We want to increase your wellness, make you healthy, and keep you healthy.

Q. Do all acupuncturists use these safety techniques?

A. Unfortunately, no, some don't, but most do and all are required to, both by the state and by their insurance companies.

Some acupuncturists who received their license years ago, before the stricter standards were required, did not learn these techniques in their former country and didn't take classes here.  That sometimes occurred before all acupuncturists had to earn a Master's Degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine from an approved university regardless of their previous experience.  Other acupuncturists may just ignore the requirement as being unnecessary.  We don't agree!

If your acupuncturist inserts needles through your clothes, it may be time to find a new one.

Q. Are you insured?

A. Yes we carry both malpractice and commercial liability insurance.  Note that acupuncture malpractice insurance is much less expensive than that for physicians.  There are far fewer risks to the patient, there are very few injuries, and very few malpractice claims, so the insurance companies can afford to provide the coverage at a greatly reduced price.

Before seeing a new acupuncturist, be sure to check for both malpractice and commercial liability insurance and check that the policies are current.  If not, and if something unfortunate should happen to you in their office, they may not be able to compensate you.  Perhaps worse than that, if the acupuncturist has no malpractice insurance because of being denied a policy due to previous claims or sanctions, or due to the use of unapproved techniques, your risk may be much higher than with acupuncturists who do have current policies.

Q. Do you accept credit cards?

A. Yes, we do.  We accept Visa, Mastercard and Discover cards.

 

 

Attain Wellness!