Frequently Asked Questions

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is the insertion of very thin, stainless steel needles into specific points on the body. By stimulating these acupoints, the body is encouraged to promote healing and improve functioning.

What is Medical Acupuncture?

Medical acupuncture is practiced by a physician. The aim with medical acupuncture is to address pain and relieve medical conditions. Although acupuncture can be used for some cosmetic purposes, like alleviating wrinkles, Dr. Mathews does not provide these services.

How does it work?

The precise reason is not known, but there are 2 schools of thought. The Eastern (Chinese) belief is that an energy source known as Qi (pronounced “chee”) flows freely through the body along channels known as meridians. A blockage in this flow results in symptoms or diseases. Acupuncture helps restore this flow.

The Western (scientific) theory is that powerful pain relieving chemicals and hormones are released after needle insertion. These chemicals affect the nervous system, muscles and bones, spinal cord, and brain. Other nerve paths also communicate with the internal organs and affect their functioning.

Are there any risks or side effects?

There are few side effects or risks with acupuncture. The needles are sterile and disposable, so there is no risk of disease from dirty needles. By being very thin and solid, there is little if any pain with insertion. This is very different from regular medical needles used for blood draws and vaccinations that are much thicker and hollow. There can be some minor bruising and bleeding. This can be increased if you are taking blood thinners like aspirin. Side effects are also rare but include sedation after the treatment. Serious side effects, like organ damage, are exceedingly rare.

What type of medical conditions can be treated?

Acupuncture can be used in many medical conditions including (but not limited to)...

  • Acute and chronic pain syndromes
    • Low back pain/sciatica
    • Joint problems/tendinitis
    • Neck pain
    • Arthritis
    • Headaches (migraine, tension)
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Gynecological disorders
    • Menstrual disturbances
    • Infertility
    • Pregnancy issues (nausea, pain)
  • Chronic medical conditions
    • Irritable bowel syndrome
    • Fibromyalgia
    • Asthma and allergies
  • Smoking cessation

If you have a specific problem you wish to discuss, please contact Dr Mathews.

How many treatment visits will I need?

The number of visits depends on several factors. Acute problems or injuries can be successfully treated in a few sessions. Chronic, long standing medical issues usually require many appointments over weeks to months, or even years. This is similar to how a medical doctor treats such conditions as high blood pressure or diabetes; the condition is not cured but is managed.

Is acupuncture covered by my insurance?

Most insurance plans do not cover acupuncture under their policies, but that is changing quickly. Currently, Dr.Mathews does not accept any insurance. Receipts can be submitted to some companies such as motor vehicle and workman’s compensation for reimbursement. Acupuncture is usually covered under flexible medical savings accounts.

How much does it cost?

The first visit includes full medical history, exam, and treatment plan as well as the first treatment. The cost is $100. Subsequent visits will be $75. This may be reduced for regular patients and discounts are available for referrals. Prices for services are subject to change. Payment is expected at time of service. Those with true financial hardship can apply for assistance.

What if I’m not sure acupuncture is for me?

A free 15 minute consultation at the treatment facility is available to discuss your case and meet Dr. Mathews. You may tour the facility and inspect the equipment.

What should I wear to my first visit?

The points used for acupuncture are located all over the body. Many of the commonly used points are located on the back and upper legs. Access to these areas may be needed. Loose comfortable clothing is recommended. Shorts, scrubs, baggy pants, tank tops are examples of good choices. Sports bras, one piece dresses, jeans, and tight clothes are not so good.

Are there any specific instructions before or after the treatment?

You should not eat a large meal before or after; a snack just before is a good idea. Do not over-exercise, drink alcohol, or have sex 6 hours before or after the session. Plan to be able to rest after. It’s also recommended to keep well hydrated.

How will I feel after the acupuncture treatment?

Many patients feel very relaxed after a treatment. Some may experience dizziness or slight nausea, but this is usually mild and short lived. A strong emotional response may also be experienced. The effect of the treatment on pain may not be apparent for a few days. As more sessions are completed, the therapeutic effect tends to last longer.

May I have acupuncture if I’m pregnant or may become pregnant?

Yes, but please let Dr. Mathews know at the earliest moment. Certain points are not used in pregnant women. Acupuncture is a very effective treatment for common pregnancy issues like back pain or nausea when medicines are limited due to effects on the baby.

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