Q: How does acupuncture work?
A: Balance is the key word we like to use to describe the outcome of acupuncture. Acupuncture has and always will be explained many different ways, but they are basically saying the same thing just using different words. It simply rebalances the neuro-chemicals in your body to react properly to the needs of your current state. For example, if you are experiencing pain in your body, by using acupuncture we are able to intercept something called substance-P, thus slowing down the transmission of the pain impulse along the nerves of pain, the C fibers. This directly decreases the effect of substance P on pain and inflammation (and indirectly decreases histamine, bradykinin, and prostaglandin). Acupuncture also increases your endorphin levels causing your body to relax and your mood to change in a positive way. In summary, if your pulse shows an imbalance of blood flow in an organ and/or meridian this will lead to any number of manifestations in your body. Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine are the main tools we use to re-balance your pulse, which reflects the state of your internal blood flow and thereby decreases symptoms and corrects the causative factors.
Q: Do you run laboratory exams, if so what types?
A: Yes. Salivary and serum levels are often needed to evaluate the current biochemical markers before treatments begin to have a framework established to compare to later and make treatment adjustments accordingly.
Q: What is a Doctor of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine (DAOM) and Licensed Acupuncturist (L.Ac.)?
A:One of the most confusing concepts for patients is the difference between “getting acupuncture” and going to see a Licensed Acupuncturist and receiving a treatment. The difference? Simply put, it is the education and clinical experience requirements set by state laws. Medical doctors, podiatrists, dentists, and chiropractors are all able to practice acupuncture with as little as 100 hours of training in acupuncture. However, Licensed Acupuncturists (the hours vary state by state) on average have to have over 2,000 hours. April & Stacy received 3,510 credit hours of theory and clinical practice in order to qualify to complete their MSTOM and take the California and National board exams from a 4 year graduate school. Once these boards are completed then the title given is a “Licensed Acupuncturist”. In addition to that degree and licensing, both Dr. Frerking Radatz and Dr. Welch have a specialty doctorate degree in Women’s Health. The DAOM (Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine) is a 2 year clinical doctorate. Original research was conducted by both physicians and defended orally to a panel of Western and Eastern Medical Doctors. The DAOM program is another 1,220 hours-570 didactic and 650 clinical hours. Drs. Frerking Radatz and Welch have set a high standard for themselves to give their patients the best care possible with the highest degree attainable in their field totaling 4,730 hours in specialized classroom/clinical education. There are less than 1,000 individuals in the nation with a DAOM degree, and very few with a specialized one in Women’s Health. Anyone can “stick a needle” in, however, knowing when, where, safety precautions, and for how long is why patients need to be selective when choosing their practitioner. A sign advertising “acupuncture” does not mean the same thing as going to see a Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine/DAOM.
Q: What is the quality of the herbs that you use?
A: All extracts from the manufacturer that we use are derived from nature. They do not contain harsh chemicals, alcohol, or preservatives, and are very gentle to your system. Each batch is checked for safety against bacteria, fungus, and heavy metal.
Q: Do you accept insurance?
Q: Is there a cancelation policy?
A: Yes a $25 fee will be billed if we do not receive a 24 hour notice unless it is qualified as an actual emergency.
Q: How can I pay?
A: Cash, checks, credit, or debit cards (except American Express).
Q: How many treatments will I need?
A: There is not a textbook answer. Each case will vary. Your practitioner will typically want to see you more in the beginning to reduce your signs and symptoms while getting to the root cause, and then maintenance treatments to keep you from getting out of balance again. A rule of thumb, is that the longer you’ve had a condition the longer it takes to fix. Although, we have definitely seen this rule broken more than once.
Q: How long is a treatment?
A: First visits take longer than follow ups. We recommend allowing 90 minutes for initial visits, and plan for 60 minutes for follow up appointments. Appointments include: questions/history intake, pulse and tongue diagnosis, an acupuncture treatment, herbal recommendations, laboratory recommendations, and gua sha or cupping if needed. We keep the intake questions on returning visits to a minimum to allow the patients’ treatment to be longer.
Q: What does acupuncture feel like?
A: Sensation of heavy, dull, and achy locally at the site of needles are good signs which your body will eventually grow to enjoy. On initial insertion of a needle, experiencing a brief “prickly” feeling can occur, however it does not last more than a couple seconds and if it does notify your acupuncturist and they will adjust the needle. Functional MRI’s in recent studies have shown specific cerebral activity in response to this dull, achy sensation known as “De Qi” in Chinese Medicine. Did you know acupuncture needles are 1/40th of a regular sized needle? The feeling of an acupuncture needle is NOTHING like the stinging pain of a shot or a blood draw.
We use sterile, disposable needles. Pain tolerance varies with the individual but VERY often, treatment can be entirely painless.
Q: I’m a new patient, can you tell me what to expect in a basic summary?
A: If you have not filled out your paperwork previously to your appointment, please bring a list of medications, the medication’s purpose for you, and dosages if you do not have this memorized. If you would like RECENT (performed within last 6 months) labs to be looked at, please email them prior to your appointment to our office: firstname.lastname@example.org. Wear clothes that are easy to adjust. Make SURE you eat some type of protein approximately one hour before your treatment to stabilize your blood sugar and minimize the possibility of feeling light headed or fainting. Do NOT brush your tongue on the day of your treatment as the practitioners will be doing a tongue diagnosis.
Q: How much is a new patient visit?
A: New patient visits are $120. Follow up visits are $65. Any treatments (other than lab exams, herbal formulas, enzymes, or supplements) include: tongue and pulse diagnosis, history, and acupuncture visit. Electro-acupuncture, gua sha, cupping, and/or auricular therapy included when appropriate. The price does not vary based on services, only with additional medicines purchased.
Weekend rates by appointment availability: New Patient $140. Follow up visits $75.