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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Does acupuncture hurt?
    Not really. Sometimes you feel them, sometimes you don't. You may feel a slight pinch right when the needle goes in, but that goes away in a matter of seconds. Sometimes there might be a slight achy or dull sensation, which is considered to be therapeutic. In essence, it is okay to feel something but we want you to be comfortable and relax, so if anything is bothering you, just let us know!
  • How does acupuncture work?
    Good question! According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, acupuncture works by effecting Qi (pronounced chee). Qi is a difficult concept to define- English definitions never quite capture its meaning. The literal translation from Mandarin is something along the lines of “steam rising from rice as it cooks.” With this image we can say that Qi is a weightless substance (steam) arising from a dense material (rice). It also implies the process of heating up or transforming. One way to describe Qi in relation to human health is: the activity, function, or warmth (steam) arising from our bodily systems (rice). Every organ has its own Qi that enables it to uphold its function and bring balance and health to the body. Our body’s Qi is affected by its physical, emotional and spiritual environment. Symptoms reflect imbalances in the body’s Qi. We use acupoints along specific pathways in order to access and change the Qi in the body. In a more modern perspective, acupuncture causes a release of a myriad of natural chemicals in the body that help to decrease inflammation, increase circulation, regulate the function of the musculoskeletal system, decrease pain signals, regulate hormone expression, calm the nervous system, stimulate the immune system, along with a cascade of other effects.
  • What conditions does acupuncture treat?
    To answer simply: everything under the sun! If you would like to read more about what conditions we commonly treat visit our blog post: What Does Acupuncture Treat?
  • I'm new to acupuncture at BAC. What can I expect?
    We've got most of your answers covered here!
  • How can you treat my back/hip when I’m in a recliner?
    We are one being and our body is all connected. The pathways that run through the back and hips run down the arms and legs. Acupoints with the strongest physiological effects are closer to your extremities and are called distal points. These points are located where there is a higher concentration of nerve ending making them super good at sending messages to the brain and body via the nervous system. We use acupoints in your legs, arms and head to treat all types of aches and pains. Want to read even more about the reason we use distal points? Check out our blog post: Why BAC Goes The Distance
  • How do you know where to put the needles?
    As Licensed Acupuncturists in the State of Idaho, we have been trained to recognize over 400 acupuncture points located all over the body. Some of these points are very specific in what they do, and some of them have several functions. We observe you, listen to your history, talk about your current complaints and check your pulse (and sometimes tongue). Each of these clues are pieces to the puzzle and help us figure out what parts of the body are not functioning optimally. Then we insert acupoints based on your individual needs.
  • How long is an acupuncture treatment?
    At BAC we let your body determine the amount of time it needs to rest. For most of our patients, treatments last 45-60 minutes.
  • How many treatments do I need?
    How often you will need acupuncture for your particular ailment is often determined by the intensity of the health concern. Some people have relief in 1 treatment, for most it's several treatments. Acupuncture works cumulatively and can take several treatments to build up in the body. Generally within 8-10 treatments you should be noticing some kind of change. We suggest giving it at least that, and re-evaluating at that time if need be. If you want more information about treatment frequency check out our blog post: Acupuncture Treatment Frequency
  • Are there side effects?
    Most of the time side effects include improvements in other areas of the body that weren't the main health concern- better sleep and digestion, a feeling of relaxation, etc. Occasionally people may notice some small bruises where the needles were, and some achy or sore muscles. Rarely, people may notice an increase in their symptom. When this happens it is temporary as the body kicks in and starts the healing process.
  • What does it mean when I feel one point more than another?
    That depends on the situation- sometimes it's related to what you are coming in for, sometimes it's not. Some points and areas of the body are just naturally more sensitive. Some people are more sensitive than others. Occasionally you may feel some aching, throbbing, heaviness or floating feelings with acupuncture- these are all good signs that your body is responding to the treatment.
  • Can you work on multiple things at once?
    Sometimes. Often, symptoms that seem unrelated are related in Chinese Medicine. So it's a good idea to tell your acupuncturist all you have going on. We will let you know if we need to address your symptoms one at a time. Of course, we will do this in the order most concerning to you.
  • Was I snoring?
    "The sound of a happy customer," as we like to say. If you are over here sawing logs, your acupuncturist will kindly sit you up so you can breath better and quieter. Most people, most of the time, are in their own little acuworld and don't notice soft talking and snoring. Everyone is welcome to bring headphones to listen to music and we offer ear plugs. So please, don’t sweat it if you snore!
  • Do you take health insurance?
    To keep our costs low, we do not bill health insurance. Our sliding scale is often under the copay anyway. If your insurance covers acupuncture, we can provide you with insurance billing forms for you to send to your insurance provider and get reimbursed. We do accept Health Savings Accounts.
  • Do you reuse the needles?
    No. We use thin, solid, sterile, one-time use, disposable needles.
  • What are you looking for when you check my pulse?
    In addition to the speed of your pulse, we are also checking the quality of your pulse. We feel for 3 different positions, and 3 different depths on each wrist. Each pulse position correlates with a different traditional organ system and reflects the quality of each system’s function. The pulse gives us a glimpse into the body to help us confirm or change our diagnosis and treatment plan. What we find isn't necessarily good or bad, it is just showing us where the body is out of balance at the moment.
  • Do I need to make an appointment?
    Most of the time yes. We do accept walk-ins, and if we can accommodate you we will. It’s better to be safe than sorry- we are often booked out a week or more.
  • What am I missing by doing community acupuncture instead of private acupuncture?
    Acupuncture will provide you with the most benefit when you come in frequently. We keep our pricing affordable to enable you to come in as frequently as you need. We cut out what is not necessary for the treatment of acupuncture to work. Some one-on-one acupuncture sessions will give massage, fire cupping, gua sha, moxibustion and discussions about diet and lifestyle. Those things are all great and have helped many, many people. If we feel like you would benefit from any additional services, we will happily provide you with referrals. Fundamentally, we believe that just acupuncture is just enough.
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