Frequently Asked Questions
Below you’ll find the most commonly asked questions about Chinese Medicine. Click on the question to expand the area and see the answer.
If you have more questions, please contact me via the website or at 208-215-2579.
Acupuncture is one of the oldest, most common and dependable medical therapies used in the world. It is by nature simple, safe and effective health care. Acupuncture practitioners use thin, sterile disposable needles inserted superficially into specific areas of the body in order to help the body’s ability to heal itself.
Activation of opioid systems: Research has found that several types of pain-reducing opioids may be released into the central nervous system during acupuncture.
Changes in brain chemistry: Studies have shown that acupuncture may alter brain chemistry by altering the way in which neurotransmitters and neurohormones are released. Acupuncture has also been documented to affect sensation and involuntary body functions, such as immune reactions and processes involved in regulating blood pressure, blood flow and body temperature. Modulation of subcortical structures of the brain may be an important mechanism by which acupuncture exerts its complex multisystem effects.
Changes in blood flow: Acupuncture and Oriental medicine affects the circulation of blood to the affected area, which helps to remove pain-causing chemicals and restore normal function.
Of course from a Chinese Medicine perspective acupuncture is simply a tool that primarily affects Qi (pronounced chee) throughout the body. Acupuncture treatment is rendered based on a Chinese medical diagnosis that includes an assessment of pulse quality, shape and color of the tongue, medical history and whole body evaluation. Following the diagnosis, acupuncture points are chosen on the body along acupuncture meridians, or pathways. The body has approximately one thousand acupuncture points.
That being said, the majority of my patients who are afraid of needles end up receiving acupuncture because they did not realize how different an acupuncture needle is from a needle used to draw blood. Acupuncture are not hollow and much, much smaller than hypodermic needles. They are very flexible and not much wider than a hair.
Chinese formulas are comprised of herbs designed for each individual patient. This special formulation is crucial because these formulas must be delicately composed for the purpose of achieving balance in each disharmonious state of being. Even small deviations in dosage or herb composition can change the entire focus of the formula and therefore, the results.
A herbal consult with me includes the same extensive interview process as an acupuncture treatment. I will observe your pulse, tongue and palpate your abdomen. From these signs and symptoms I will determine the best formula for your situation. The desired outcome with herbal medicine is to restore health without permanently relying on the herbs.
I carry only the highest quality herbs. They are organic when available and always lab tested for heavy metals and pesticides. I do not support the use of endangered or threatened species.
(Some factual information from AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine)
It is sometimes possible to reduce or eliminate your need for a medication with the use of acupuncture and Chinese herbs. This can only be done with the direct involvement of the prescribing physician and you should never stop or alter the dose of a medication without the guidance of your medical doctor.
You may feel a bit of a pinch when the needles are tapped in, but this should ease right away. If you continue to feel a pinching or a burning sensation at the needle site any longer than this, let us know. It means we haven’t placed that needle well. Every body is different and adjustments are often necessary. If on the other hand you are feeling a slight ache or heavy feeling near the needle, this is usually a good sign – a clue that the body is reacting in a productive way.
As long as you can close your eyes and relax, the sensations from the needles are normal. I am happy to stay in the room during your treatment or if I leave, I can give you a doorbell to ring in case you become uncomfortable.
Sometimes there is bruising and sensitivity at the points after needling. After treatment you may feel very drowsy and “out of it” for a few hours. The most common side effect to herbs is mild digestive upset.
It is possible to become “needle sick” or faint from receiving acupuncture. This is usually because of hunger, extreme fatigue and/or high tension. This is why I always ask patients when they ate last.
Most serious complications are usually caused by improper training of the practitioner. Puncture of nerves and organs are rare and practitioners are extensively taught how to avoid these mistakes.
All programs involve the in depth study of Chinese medicine and Western medicine concurrently. Many also include an extensive study of Chinese herbal medicine. In my studies I pursued extra clinical hours in herbal medicine. After graduating I accepted a position as a supervisor in the herbal medicinary at OCOM and became the teaching assistant for first year Chinese Herbology. For about 18 months I continued to study herbs in greater detail.
Most states, including Washington and Idaho, that license acupuncturists utilize national certification (provided by National Certification Commission of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM)) that require the passing of at least 3 board exams (in Biomedicine, acupuncture & TCM theory) to verify competency to practice acupuncture. NCCAOM also offers a fourth exam, Chinese Herbology. When you pass all four of these exams you receive the Diplomate of Oriental Medicine designation.
The NCCAOM and many states require continuing education in our field.
If these providers have a L.Ac. after their name they have the same education and qualifications listed above. If they do not, there’s a wide variety of ways these providers are trained. In almost every case this training is dramatically less than a licensed acupuncturist.
Your First Visit
What can I expect?
Your first treatment will be a total of 90 minutes. The first 45 minutes will be an extensive interview and examination.
During examination I will feel your pulse, look at your tongue and feel your abdomen.
After diagnosis, I will discuss with you the possible treatments and what you would like to do today. Treatment may include acupuncture, moxabustion, massage (Tuina or Sotai) or cupping. I will also discuss the possibility of prescribing a herbal formula, if needed.
If you are pregnant or have an injury making it difficult to lie on your back or stomach, I have many different types of bolsters and pillows to get you in a comfortable position.
How should I prepare?
Please fill out your paperwork online before arriving. If you need to you can do this at the office. I need your full medication list if you would like to take herbs.
Please make sure to eat before arriving. This is especially important in the morning. Receiving acupuncture on an empty stomach can cause dizziness and nausea.
Wear comfortable, loose clothing. Acupuncture doesn’t always require you to disrobe and it is always up to your comfort level. Loose pants and tops help me get to just above the knee down and elbow down – The most common places for points.
Pricing & Insurance
Insurance: I currently am not in-network with any insurance companies in the region. I am evaluating which insurance companies to contract with. If your insurance policy covers acupuncture let me know and I will look into the possibility of becoming in-network with them. In the mean time I am happy to provide you with a super bill that contains all the information needed to be reimbursed by your insurance company (if the treatment is covered by your policy). If needed, I will assist you in submitting a claim.
The rates below reflect a “payment at time of service” discount.
Initial Acupuncture Visit$125
During this appointment Laura will interview you in detail about your current health complaints and your goals for treatment. Depending on your condition, Laura may use different modalities throughout the visit including acupuncture, moxabustion, cupping, gua sha, electro-acupuncture, sotai, tuina and aromatherapy. If you are interested in nutritional therapy or herbs she will also make recommendations based on your needs.
Follow-up Acupuncture Visit$85
In this visit the interview will be much shorten and actual treatment time the same or longer then the initial visit.
Acupuncture – Home Visit$90
Most commonly used for post-partum mamas and those on bed rest. Not available to schedule online, please call 208-215-2579.
Initial Herbal Consult$50-$75
During this appointment Laura will interview you in detail about your current health complaints, lifestyle and your goals for treatment. She will also feel your pulse, look at your tongue and palpate your stomach. You will receive an herbal prescription and dietary recommendations.
Follow-up Herbal Consult$30-$50
This is simply a check in. I will briefly talk to you about your formula and current symptoms, feel your pulse, look at your tongue and feel your abdomen. If necessary I will adjust the dosage and herbs in your formula. It may not take as long as 45 minutes.
Moscow Food Co-Op members (for 1st and 2nd treatments), seniors & students recieve $10 off visits.
Free 20 minute consult
Would you like to get to know me more before you start treatment? Not sure if I can help you? Let me answer all your questions in this free 20 minute session.