Frequently Asked Questions
Questions about City Pulse Acupuncture
What types of conditions do you treat?
Our practice focuses primarily on hormonal health, reproductive health, fertility, prenatal and postnatal care. We treat infertility for both menstruators and sperm producers, dysmenorrhea, endometriosis, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), diminished ovarian reserve, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), and we support hormonal changes associated with perimenopause, and menopause. Our care utilizes an integrative and collaborative care approach where we work directly with your Reproductive Endocrinologist and Infertility Specialist (REI), OB/GYN, midwife, doula, pelvic floor physical therapist, and/or primary care physician (PCP).
What can I expect during my first visit?
An initial visit for takes between one and a half and two hours. We spend a great deal of time discussing your concerns and your health history in order to formulate a diagnosis and create a treatment plan. Your treatment will include acupuncture as well as other modalities as needed, including moxibustion, cupping, gua sha, and lifestyle and nutritional counseling. We have a full herbal pharmacy, and herbal formulas may be prescribed for an additional charge. We also spend time answering your questions and, if you are new to Chinese medicine, explaining what you can expect to feel during and after your treatment. Follow-up treatments are approximately one-hour.
What are your fees?
Our fees are available to view on our online scheduler. We also offer pre-paid treatment packages. Our pre-paid packages help reduce the cost of treatment.
What forms of payment do you accept?
We accept cash, checks, debit/credit cards, Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA), and Health Savings Accounts (HSA).
Do you accept insurance?
We are out-of-network with all insurance carriers. Upon request, we can provide you with a Superbill, a coded insurance receipt, that you can submit to your insurance carrier for reimbursement. Please note that cosmetic and fertility acupuncture are not deemed medically necessary by insurance plans and are not eligible for reimbursement.
What is your cancellation policy?
You will be charged for the full cost of your visit if you do not cancel or reschedule within 24 of your appointment. Please keep in mind that another patient could have filled a late cancellation or missed visit.
If you are experiencing any symptoms related to COVID-19, please call our office, and we will help you cancel without penalty.
Questions about Chinese Medicine & Acupuncture
What is Chinese medicine?
Chinese medicine is a complete system of medicine with a history spanning thousands of years. Rather than treating symptoms, Chinese medicine seeks to uncover and correct imbalances, deficiencies and blockages in the body as a whole, which leads to the alleviation of symptoms. This system of medicine recognizes that our bodies have the innate ability to overcome disease and illness. Through acupuncture, herbal medicine, proper nutrition, exercise and other treatment modalities, Chinese medicine stimulates natural healing and maintains health.
How does acupuncture work?
Acupuncture is based on a comprehensive system of medicine known as traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and has been in use in Asia for thousands of years. Acupuncture treats health conditions by stimulating “acu-points” found at specific locations on the surface of the body. Acupuncture Physicians stimulate the acu-points by inserting very thin needles through the skin to produce physiological effects. Other methods are also used to stimulate acu-points, such as heat or finger-pressure. The general theory of acupuncture is that proper physiological function and health depend on the circulation of nutrients, substances and energy called Qi (pronounced “chee”) through a network of channels or meridians. This network connects every organ of the body, providing balance, regulation and coordination of physiological processes. Pain and ill-health result when the flow of Qi through the body is disrupted or blocked by many things, including disease, pathogens, trauma/injuries and medication (side effects), as well as lifestyle factors such as overwork, poor diet, lack of rest and stress. Stimulation of the appropriate acu-points through acupuncture treatment helps to restore sufficient, continuous and even flow of Qi and other nutrients throughout the body, thereby restoring health and balance to the body, while relieving pain and other symptoms.
Is acupuncture safe?
Acupuncture is very safe. We use sterile, single-use disposable needles, which are sealed by the manufacturer and opened immediately prior to use. Acupuncture has relatively few side effects, if any, which may include slight bleeding, soreness or bruising at the acupuncture site. The National Institute of Health commented that “adverse side effects of acupuncture are extremely low and often lower than conventional treatments.” They also stated:
“The incidence of adverse effects is substantially lower than that of many drugs or other accepted medical procedures used for the same condition. For example, musculoskeletal conditions, such as fibromyalgia, myofascial pain, and tennis elbow… are conditions for which acupuncture may be beneficial. These painful conditions are often treated with, among other things, anti-inflammatory medications (aspirin, ibuprofen, ”etc.”) or with steroid injections. Both medical interventions have a potential for deleterious side effects but are still widely used and are considered acceptable treatments.”Each person experiences acupuncture differently. Unlike hypodermic (injection) needles, which are used to draw blood or administer medication, acupuncture needles are solid, surprisingly thin, and therefore cause very little pain. In fact, as many as 40 acupuncture needles can fit into the head of a standard hypodermic needle. The acupuncturist selects between 2 to 8 acupuncture points to needle during a single session. When the needles are inserted, some people feel nothing while others notice a slight twinge. This is often followed by a tingling sensation, numbness, heaviness or warmth. The needles generally remain in place for 20 to 40 minutes depending on the individual. During an acupuncture session, people often describe a feeling of calm and relaxation. At the end of a session, the acupuncturist quickly and painlessly removes the needles and disposes of them safely. Symptom relief may occur immediately, or in the few days following a treatment. For complex, longstanding complaints, more than one treatment may be required before symptoms start to alleviate.
What types of needles do you use?
We use thin, sterile, filiform needles made of superior quality stainless steel. Each needle is used one time and then safely disposed. Most people are surprised to discover how thin acupuncture needles really are. Unlike hypodermic (injection) needles, which are used to draw blood or administer medication, acupuncture needles are not hollow. In fact, as many as 40 acupuncture needles can fit into the head of a standard hypodermic needle.
Are Chinese herbs safe?
Chinese herbs are effective and safe when prescribed by a well-trained herbal practitioner. Our comprehensive training in herbal medicine guides our careful attention to dosage, combinations of herbs and any known drug-herb interactions. We only purchase our herbs from reputable suppliers who adhere to Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs). GMPs are guidelines that govern the manufacturing process of a product to ensure that the quality and safety of the product is consistent. By documenting the manufacturing process, validating the equipment used, and following preset guidelines, the quality of the herbs is ensured.
Herbs are typically gentler and have fewer side effects than pharmaceutical drugs because of their balancing or regulating effect on the body. The most common side-effect, if any, is gas and bloating due to slight difficulty digesting the herbs. Patients who experience this or any other side effect should notify us immediately so we can alter the dosage or modify the formula.
What types of modalities are used during a Chinese medicine treatment?
Chinese medicine encompasses a number of different modalities including acupuncture, herbs, moxibustion, cupping and gua sha. In addition, proper nutrition, exercise, and other lifestyle factors are evaluated and discussed with each individual. The degree to which we use each modality completely depends on the individual and the nature of the condition that is being treated.
What is Qi?
There is no direct translation for the word “Qi” (pronounced “chee”) although the concept exists, to a certain degree, in every culture. In Chinese medicine, Qi is the energy or life force present within everybody. Qi is the force behind our awareness, the functioning of our internal organs, the circulation of blood and lymph throughout the body, and many other things. We are able to access and manipulate qi using acupuncture needles, herbs and other modalities in order to prevent and combat disease. If you’re interested in learning more about Qi, we highly recommend this interesting article by Arthur Rosenfeld.
What is Cupping?
If you’ve ever noticed perfect circular-shaped hickeys on the backs of friends, strangers, or even (more recently) celebrities, then you are familiar with the side-effects of cupping. This ancient healing modality uses suction created by thick glass cups to promote circulation and expel certain pathogenic influences. We most often use this modality for respiratory conditions, gastrointestinal disorders and pain. Cupping can also loosen muscles and sedate the nervous system, making it an excellent treatment for high blood pressure.
To create this suction, we light an alcohol-soaked cotton ball on fire, insert it into the cup and then remove it quickly before adhering the cup to the skin. This process expels the oxygen from the inside of the cup, creating a vacuum. Sometimes the cups are moved gently across the skin, and other times we might leave them in place for up to 10 minutes.
Although the practice of cupping is very safe, the suction can often result in circular bruising. While these bruises are not typically painful, they can leave you with some explaining to do! Cupping is often used in combination with acupuncture during a treatment, but can also be used on its own depending on the condition being treated.
What is Moxibustion?
You might notice an herbal scent lingering in the building as you make your way into our office suite. “What is that smell?,” is a common statement from first-time visitors.
Moxibustion (also referred to as “moxa”) is a form of heat therapy that is used in Chinese medicine to invigorate the flow of “qi” (energy), blood, lymph and other body fluids while dispelling certain pathogenic influences. The substance is an herb called mugwort or Artemisia vulgaris, which we burn and hover close to the skin over specific acupuncture points. This herb is so integral in Chinese medicine treatments, that the ancient Chinese character for acupuncture (“zhenjiu,” which is pronounced “juhn-jee-yew” ) is translated literally as “acupuncture/moxibustion.”
Moxibustion is a very warm and relaxing addition to an acupuncture treatment, and is often used instead of acupuncture for those who are especially sensitive to needles. In fact, there are some properties to moxibustion that exceed the capabilities of the acupuncture needles. Depending on the condition being treated, we might use more moxibustion than acupuncture or vice versa. Moxibustion is so good at boosting energy and improving immunity, that we sometimes teach patients how to moxa themselves and send them home with the tools and instructions for doing so.
What is Gua Sha?
Gua sha is a technique that involves scraping or gently rubbing the skin in order to resolve blood stagnation which refers to when blood circulation is not able to reach all areas of the body. This lack of circulation can cause pain, tightness, stiffness, or pain along the body. Gua sha helps restore blood circulation to resolve pain and stiffness.
Gua sha can be performed on both the body and the face. When performed on the face fibroblast cells are stimulated which produces natural collagen and elastin. Increasing fibroblast activity thickens the skin back to its youthful state. Your face will appear tighter and toned and the lymphatic system of the face and neck will function significantly better.
Meet Dr. Rachel Hemphill
DACM, L.Ac., Dipl.O.M., FABORM