Frequently Asked Questions About Acupuncture

Fort Myers acupuncture physician Graydon Snow, AP, DOM knows that you have questions about acupuncture and he has answers. If you don’t see your questions answered call or e-mail us and we will be happy to help!

What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a medical technique of inserting & manipulating fine, sterile needles into specific points on the body. Yes, we said “needles” but our needles are extremely thin, about the diameter of a cat’s whisker, which means they don’t tear through you like an injection needle or blood draw. These needles stimulate processes within your body to promote healing as well as enhance physical and emotional health. Acupuncture is safe, painless and effective in treating a wide variety of medical conditions.

Because of the proven effectiveness of acupuncture throughout the ages; it has evolved into a complete holistic form of health care. Practitioners of acupuncture have used this non-invasive medical system to help countless people get well and stay healthy for thousands of years.

How does acupuncture work?

Acupuncture works on the body in several ways, these are just some of them:

    1. Acupuncture stimulates the release of endorphins and enkephalins which create an immune system response.
    2. Acupuncture stimulates the release of norepinephrine and other neurotransmitters that work to reduce pain and promote healing.
    3. Acupuncture increases blood flow to the treated areas. This allows your body to heal injured tissues more quickly.

What is Qi (chi) and how does is travel?

Practitioners of acupuncture believe that Qi (pronounced chee) is a life energy that travels through 14 pathways within the body. Meridian pathways transport energy to every cell, organ, gland, tissue and muscle in the same way a river carries water which makes the ground fertile.

When energy and nutrients flow freely, the body functions properly. A blockage of qi is similar to a dam in a river causing a blockage of flow. As a result of the restriction, the body doesn’t receive what it needs to function well and stay healthy.

What can affect Qi & our health?

Most of us recognize that we are affected by a variety of things including: 0verexertion (physical or emotional), injury, stress, lack of exercise, diet and seasonal changes. When our bodies are exposed to any of those triggers for too long we experience symptoms. We consider these to be warning signs for us to make changes in our lifestyle.  We might experience digestive problems, headaches or insomnia when we are stressed out. Accidents and injury can cause pain, swelling and decreased mobility. Winter often bring us colds and flu and even sadness. We recognize it is virtually impossible to never get sick, however, we can reduce the length of time we are sick, how severe our symptoms are, and avoid some of the bugs people like passing around.

Do the needles hurt?

NO! Okay, mostly no. Some areas are a little tender but we always warn you first. The needles are tiny, a little larger than a cat’s whisker or a human hair. They are designed to gently push the skin aside rather than tear through the skin (like an injection needle). Most patients do not feel any pain and those that do say the feeling is similar to a mosquito bite. Luckily, once the needles are out you won’t suffer from constant itching. Patients that do feel the needle insertion regularly tell us the results are well worth it!

How safe is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is extremely safe when performed by an experienced, board certified acupuncture physician rather than someone with minimal hours of training. It is drug-free, all natural, and has very few negative side effects. We can’t see through your skin so every once in a while you may notice a small bruise at the insertion site. This is perfectly fine and is not an indication of a problem. A quality physician only uses sterile needles, and only one time before they are discarded them into a bio-hazard container.

What will my acupuncture physician do?

When you come for your first visit Dr. Snow will take a full health history and discuss your symptoms, overall health and lifestyle. He may also conduct a physical exam and check your pulses and your tongue. We like to gather lots of information so we have an accurate diagnosis and complete treatment plan. You will typically receive an acupuncture treatment after the initial exam. Your first visit takes a little longer in order to give us time to be thorough and answer your questions. Regular visits may last from 30 to 60 minutes. If you need shorter treatment due to time constraints, please let a staff member know and we will be happy to accommodate.

How many treatments will I need?

The number of treatments necessary to achieve optimal health is different for everyone. Some experience immediate relief; others may take months to achieve results. The longer a condition has been affecting your body, the longer it will take to resolve. Expect to receive at least a month of treatments to see significant changes. We may suggest one or two treatments per week, then reduce the frequency as you improve. Some patients may always require weekly or bi-weekly treatment do keep their condition managed. Most people eventually move to monthly or quarterly visits for health maintenance or seasonal “tune-ups”.

What should I expect during treatment?

It is common to feel numbness, heaviness and/or tingling where the acupuncture needle has been inserted. Sometimes patients notice a sensation of energy moving around the needle. These reactions are a good indication that the treatment is working, however, patients that don’t feel anything during treatment still receive great results. After a treatment, you may either feel energized or relaxed and peaceful, both are perfectly normal.

How should I prepare?

  • Wear loose, comfortable clothing for easy access to acupuncture points.
  • Don’t eat large meals just before or after your visit.
  • Refrain from overexertion, working out, non-prescription drugs and alcohol for up to 6 hours after the visit.
  • Avoid stressful situations and be sure to get plenty of rest before your treatment.
  • Between visits, take notes of any changes that may have occurred such as; alleviation of the pain, pain moving to other areas, or changes in the frequency and type of problem.

Does Axis Natural Medicine accept insurance?

YES! We bill insurance daily and are proud to be in network with Cigna, United Healthcare and American Specialty Health. We continue to work on earning “in network” status with other companies. If your insurance need us to be in network for you to use your benefits, let us know.

Ask your insurance the following questions to verify coverage:

  • Has my deductible been met?
  • Do I have a deductible?
  • Do I have a co-pay?
  • How many visits per year?
  • Does my plan cover acupuncture?

What are my payment options?

We happily accept: Visa, MasterCard, Discover, Cash, or Personal Checks Credit Card Logos