10 Frequently Asked Questions
Ann Belinkoff, Acupuncture Physician
(1) Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine (OM) are often used interchangeably. At over 3,000 years old, it's the oldest continuously practiced health care system on the planet. It's still going strong because it delivers results. In "eastern / oriental medicine" we look for "patterns of disharmony" rather than "isolating disease" as found in "western medicine." Also, many western drugs try to control "symptoms" but, do not alter the disease process. So antibiotics may eliminate bacteria but don't improve a person's resistance to infection; or diuretics may rid excess fluid but don't improve kidney function. In the eastern system symptoms and underlying patterns are treated together, plus, we rarely have unwanted side effects.
(2) How does acupuncture work? We use the body's energy (Qi) to interact with two polar principles (Yin & Yang) to achieve balance. Within the Yin/Yang framework, we assess the 1) "Constituents" of Qi, Blood, Moisture, Spirit, Essence, the 2) "Organ Networks" of Heart, Spleen, Lungs, Liver, Kidneys, and the 3) "Body Climates" of Wind, Damp, Dryness, Heat, Cold. We treat points along 14 Meridians which comprise of 6 yin/yang pairs and 2 center line pathways. Your licensed acupuncturist has spent thousands of hours in training working within this framework which includes interpreting your 18 pulse points, and 27 possible tongue presentations to arrive at a diagnosis and treatment strategy for your unique "pattern of disharmony."
(3) Why use Acupuncture? It can reduce or eliminate many painful conditions, including:
OM views all illness as a result of either depletion or congestion. Depletion may lead to weakness, fatigue, frequent illness, poor digestion or inadequate circulation. Congestion may result in aches, pain, tension, tenderness, irritability, or swelling. While western medicine may have little to offer for nagging or chronic complaints, acupuncture can often help! These two approaches, eastern & western, are not a substitutes for each other. They are often complementary and can be successfully integrated.
(4) Will acupuncture conflict with my medications? No, acupuncture is often a part of an overall integrated approach to healing. You continue your western medications. But, if your goal is to reduce medications, we will work with you & your prescribing physician to achieve your goal.
(5) What is Japanese Style? This office mostly uses the Japanese style of acupuncture because it is very gentle, effective, and doesn't rely on expensive herbs. In Japan, the acupuncture specialist is often a blind man, his wife provides shiatsu massage, and the herbalist is in a special shop. In the States, all acupuncturists are trained in Traditional Chinese Medicine because licensing exams are on TCM concepts. Many TCM practitioners do all three things.
(6) How long is an acupuncture visit? Our office visits are usually an hour. We often treat you on your first visit. A few established patients opt for a series of focused half hour sessions for either “pain or stress reduction” or to treat "addictions" using National Acupuncture Detoxification Association (NADA) protocols.
(7) How much does acupuncture cost & is it covered by health insurance? We charge $80/hour; $45/half hour, and we accept cash, checks, + credit cards. If you have a health savings account (HSA) it's 100% covered. If you have lot's of medical / dental expenses you may be able to deduct part of the cost on a 1040 Schedule A. If you have health insurance, call your plan to verify if it’s covered. If yes, we’ll give you a “superbill" to file for reimbursement. Medicare, at present, doesn’t cover us unless we are working under an MD. We keep lobbying our congressional representatives for this benefit.
(8) Do you make house calls for acupuncture treatments? Yes, within a 15 mile radius of Vero's Riverside Park.
(9) Where can I learn Yoga, Tai Chi, or Qi Gong? There are good venues, locally, in Vero. Youtube videos may be helpful: try Hatha Yoga or Lilias Yoga for beginners; or Supreme Qigong by Jeff Primack.
(10) Recommended links:
a. PeoplesPharmacy.com - latest results, worldwide, in medical research & interviews with experts, hosted by The Graedons out of University of North Carolina.
b. DrFuhrman.com - Joel Fuhrman, M.D. is a Harvard trained board certified family physician, nutritional researcher, and a six-time New York Times best selling author. He specializes in nutritional solutions to reverse many chronic conditions.
c. Get started with hatha yoga, the classical system brought to the United States in the 1930s. Try some YouTube classes or get your own DVDs through Amazon or other sources: Lilias Yoga and You. Barbara Benagh. Iyengar Yoga. Sivananda Yoga.