old is Chinese medicine?
Chinese medicine goes back over
does it work?
Chinese medicine uses tiny needles
to access and activate qi (pronounced "chee" - most closely
translated into Western thought as "vital energy"), which
helps nurture the body back to health by helping resolve energy
are the needles like?
Acupuncture needles are solid, not
hollow like needles used by doctors. They are small and hair-thin and
can literally be bent with your pinky.
Only sterile, disposable needles
are used so there is no risk of infection. We use a needle once, then
dispose of it.
FDA Regulation of Acupuncture Needles
In 1996, the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration (FDA) removed the experimental status tag on
acupuncture needles. The FDA reclassified acupuncture needles,
regulating them as it does medical devices such as surgical scalpels
and hypodermic syringes. Acupuncture needles must now be manufactured
according to single-use standards of sterility. According to
acupuncture needle manufacturers and the FDA, acupuncture needles are
only to be used by medical doctors or acupuncturists that
meet the required standards (graduating from an accredited
acupuncture college and and passed the acupuncture national board
People experience needling
differently. There are different styles of needling. I needle in
Japanese style which says to gently insert the needle under the skin,
and the qi will rise to the needle. Acupuncture needles are rarely
described as painful, and can be quickly adjusted if the patient
feel's any discomfort. If any unpleasant sensation is experienced
during insertion, it is often compared to a mosquito bite and
disappears very quickly. Once the needles are inserted, they may be
manipulated to obtain a mild "Qi" sensation. This is how an
acupuncturist engages the energy and biochemical responses in your
bode in order to balance it. Often people describe their sensations
as warming, heavy, numb or tingling. I take great care to make my
patients very comfortable so that they can relax while the needles
are in place. The more you can relax during an acupuncture treatment,
the better the results. Many people even fall asleep during
Following treatment it is common to
feel a tremendous sense of relaxation and calm.
I have to believe in it for it to work?
No. Acupuncture works whether or
not you think it will. Acupuncture is even used successfully on
animals and children. They do not understand or believe in the
process yet they get better anyway. Of course a positive attitude
helps with any type of therapy but it is not necessary to believe in
acupuncture (or to feel it working) for it to work.
Since positive expectations and
belief in a particular therapy help to increase therapeutic results,
I encourage you to raise any concerns or doubts you may have about
acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine. I'd like to help you to
better understand acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine so
that you may have the most positive healing experience possible. You
are invited to me today, and I will personally respond to any
questions or comments promptly.
quickly can I expect to feel better?
In general, I tell my patients they
should start to feel the benefits from acupuncture in 2-3 treatments.
If the problem is acute, sometimes improvement is felt after 1
treatment, and may only need 3-5 treatments to resolve. If the
problem is chronic and long term, it may take many treatments to help
often should I be treated?
Typically I treat patients once a
week. If the condition is acute and painful, I may want to do
treatments 2-3 times per week for the first couple of weeks. The
benefits of acupuncture treatments tend to hold longer as you receive
treatments, so what typically happens is that my patients start to
need to see me less and less, so after a while they come periodically
acupuncture always help?
No, but it usually does. If you do
not feel any benefit after 3-5 treatments, then acupuncture may not
work for you.
should I wear for the treatment?
Just wear loose fitting clothes
that can be easily rolled up above your elbows and knees.
insurance cover acupuncture?
Many insurances are covering
acupuncture and related services, including Blue Cross Blue Shield
PPO/EPO, Well Care Medicare, HealthNet, Oxford (with alternative
medicine rider), MVP Gold and MVP Gold Anywhere, and no-fault (auto
accident) insurance. Many health insurance plans have discount
programs that Dr. McCormick may participate with, such as
CDPHP and GHI. Many insurance companies will reimburse you for your
Call your insurance company to find out their
policies and the specifics of your policy coverage. A super-bill receipt can be provided at your visit so that you may be reimbursed.
How are Herbs
Herbal medicine is by itself a
powerful method of healing. Western drugs are usually used to control
symptoms but do not alter the disease process. For example:
antibiotics kill bacteria but do not improve a person's resistance to
infection; diuretics drain excess fluid from the body but do not
improve the kidney function. Chinese herbs can also rid the body of
disease but they also nourish and balance the body in very specific
ways, thereby improving organ function and building up a person's
constitution and immune system.
herbs are traditionally given as a very strong tea. The acupuncturist
will give the patient several bags of herbs. Each bag contains a
formula of about 12 or so raw herbs that has been prepared
specifically for the patient and his or her condition. The patient
then prepares the herbs at home by boiling them in water for about a
half an hour. The benefit of this method is that the formula can be
customized to the patient's particular condition. The acupuncturist
may prescribe herbal pills, powders or tinctures instead because
these are more convenient. However, the raw herbs are usually
stronger and always more adaptable.