Closeup of painted wood carving of the Tai Ji symbol encircled by the Wu Ji symbol.

Get Answers To Some of The Most Frequently Asked Questions Before Starting Acupuncture Treatment @ ATOSC- Modesto & Stanislaus County.


There are two basic ways to explain how acupuncture works- either using the traditional or biomedical theories of acupuncture.

In the traditional sense, acupuncture works by balancing the flow of Qi (vital life-force), Xue (blood), Jing (essence), and Jin-Ye (fluids such as digestive juices, mucus, and phlegm) within the body, unblocking where there is accumulation and replenishing where there is depletion.

In the biomedical sense, studies show that acupuncture may reduce pain and inflammation and normalize other bodily processes by regulating the natural balance of hormones and neurotransmitter levels, and stimulating the immune system.

Acupuncturists primarily use traditional Chinese medicine diagnostic methods. At your first visit, your acupuncturist will ask you about your primary health concern, perform an in-depth medical history intake, and make observations about various parts of your body- your skin, hair, eyes, face, and tongue- all to help paint the picture of your condition and the best approach to treatment. Some acupuncturists may also refer you for further testing, such as blood work.

Scientific studies have shown acupuncture can be used in the treatment a wide variety of conditions, such as reducing all types of pain, protecting the body against infections, regulating various physiological functions, and providing relief from disease as well as altering its progression.

However just like other forms of therapy, acupuncture does not work for everyone, nor for all conditions, all of the time. Yet most people that receive acupuncture regularly typically report feeling better overall health.

Everyone responds to acupuncture differently but in general the acupuncture needles are so thin that most people won't even be aware when the needles are inserted. If they feel anything at all, it may be a slight pinch at the site of needle insertion followed by a brief dull ache that dissipates within seconds. Other common sensations felt during treatment include slight tingling, subtle muscle twitching and spasms, heaviness, extreme relaxation, and warmth in the hands and feet.

Acupuncture itself is very safe. It rarely makes a condition worse and generally presents no severe adverse effects. However danger exists in the inappropriate application of the therapy by poorly trained and unskilled non-acupuncture therapists and physicians, many which do not receive the same instruction and training as licensed acupuncturists.

To ensure safety when receiving acupuncture, it is highly recommended to use a practitioner who has received proper education and schooling in acupuncture, and is certified and licensed to practice acupuncture by an official governing acupuncture board, agency, or organization.

It depends. As an out-of-network provider, we are willing to work with you to help you take advantage of your health insurance plan. We understand that most insurance companies now offer plans with some form of acupuncture coverage. However, many of these plans have specific guidelines and restrictions  that often times make it very difficult for us to bill and collect fees owed to our office in a timely and reasonable fashion.

For this reason we generally will not bill insurance companies directly. Instead, for those interested in using their insurance we will provide the correct documents for you to open a claim directly with your insurance to receive direct reimbursement of fees you paid to our office. Please contact us to learn more about using your insurance with our office.

Similar to other modern medical therapies, the placebo effect is in play to some degree. However you do not need to "believe" acupuncture works in order for it to actually help. There is decades of modern scientific evidence documenting the beneficial physiological effects of acupuncture on the immune system, endocrine system, nervous system, and the brain, and there is thousands of years of documented evidence showing the positive effectiveness of acupuncture in the treatment of a wide variety of poor health conditions.

Acupuncture works regardless of your religious beliefs or spiritual attunement. And acupuncture will not interfere with your religious practice. For more information please read the article, "Acupuncture: Science, Myth, or Religion?"

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