Acupuncture

Content medically reviewed by: Jake Swette, LAc

Enjoy the mental and physical benefits of acupuncture at Essentia Health. Count on experienced, licensed acupuncturists to help reduce your pain, improve mobility, and treat certain diseases.

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is the main physical medicine component of Traditional East Asian Medicine (TEAM). It involves gently poking your skin at specific locations on your body with wire-thin needles. It is a treatment that places importance on the connection between mind, body, and spirit. The practice goes back several thousand years and was created in China. Now, it is a practice that integrates traditional medicine with science.

What’s an Acupuncturist?

Licensed Acupuncturists have specialized training in needling therapies. They are nationally certified in TEAM and Biomedicine, and they are licensed by their state medical board.

Why Seek Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is often used to reduce pain, improve mobility, and treat certain diseases.  It also helps women’s health issues, such as hormonal issues, migraines, anxiety, and sleep problems.

Areas of acupuncture practice include:

  • Needling: Inserting fine needles at specific sites on your body. This is to reduce pain and treat diseases.
  • Herbalism: Ingestion of plant, animal, and fungus.
    • Some you can swallow as pills or teas; others you can apply to your skin.
  • Tuina (twee-nah): Combination of Cupping & Guasha (gwah-saw)
    • Cupping: Placing suction glass cups on specific places on your skin.
    • Guasha: Gently scraping the skin with a blunt tool to reduce pain.
    • Both can improve circulation, reduce inflammation, and treat pain, amongst other things.
  • Lifestyle Guidance: Breathing and movement exercises

Before Your Appointment

Here are ways to make sure you have the best acupuncture experience:

  • Be prepared for open communication about your health
  • Wear loose-fitting clothing
  • Do not wear perfumes or colognes
  • If the appointment is in the morning and you brush your teeth, don’t brush your tongue
  • No alcohol or coffee

What to Expect During Your First Appointment

During your first visit, your Acupuncturist will:

  • Conduct a thorough evaluation
  • Feel your pulse at various parts of your body
  • Discuss your goals for care
  • Explain acupuncture treatment options
  • Work with you to develop a personalized care plan
  • Administer your first treatment

After Your Appointment

For two hours after acupuncture, do not:

  • Exercise
  • Take a shower or bath
  • Drink alcohol, sugary drinks, or coffee
  • Take on strenuous mental tasks

Side Effects

After your treatment, you may notice that you somehow feel different in your body. You may experience mild soreness where the needles were placed. You may have mild dizziness for several minutes after treatment. 

Less common side effects include:

  • Feeling tired
  • Stiffness of your neck and/or low back
  • Fainting. This is rare and happens in the treatment room when patients are dehydrated, exhausted, or very ill.

Be sure to communicate any effects that you may experience with your licensed acupuncturist, so they may modify treatment to accommodate your needs.

Cost & Insurance

Many insurance plans cover the expense of acupuncture treatment.  Before scheduling your first visit, be sure to check with your insurance company to make sure you have coverage and to find out if you have a copay.

Ask for a Referral

You’ll need a referral from your primary care provider or a specialist for this service.

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