Red Leaf Wellness is an Acupuncture and Functional Medicine Clinic in Edmonton, Alberta

Oriental Medicine and Acupuncture Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Below is a list of Oriental Medicine and Acupuncture Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Click on the sections below to learn more about how each can help you.

What is Acupuncture? What Does it Treat?

Acupuncture is an ancient method of medicine that uses the body’s energy or Qi (chee) to treat conditions such as pain, dizziness, nausea, chronic conditions, post-stroke paralysis, drug and alcohol addiction, etc. Acupuncture uses very fine, sterile, single-use needles placed in specific locations around the body to manipulate that energy. There are acupuncture points all over the body, including the face and scalp. Where you will have needles placed will depend on your signs and symptoms. Other modalities used in treatment can include electrostimulation, gua sha, cupping, and “7 Star” needling.

What is Functional Medicine?

Functional medicine addresses the underlying causes of disease, using a systems-oriented approach and engaging both patient and practitioner in a therapeutic partnership. It is an evolution in the practice of medicine that better addresses the healthcare needs of the 21st century. By shifting the traditional disease-centered focus of medical practice to a more patient-centered approach, functional medicine addresses the whole person, not just an isolated set of symptoms. Functional medicine practitioners spend time with their patients, listening to their histories and looking at the interactions among genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors that can influence long-term health and complex, chronic disease. In this way, functional medicine supports the unique expression of health and vitality for each individual.

Do I Need a Referral From My Regular Doctor To See An Acupuncturist? Will My Insurance Cover Acupuncture?

An acupuncturist is considered a primary care provider and a referral may or may not be required for insurance purposes. Many insurance companies do cover acupuncture treatment.

As a value-add we offer web-based insurance claim processing on your behalf for participating insurers.  In addition to convenience, having a direct link between us and your insurer leads to faster claims processing and increased accuracy.

Please note that while many insurance policies do cover acupuncture care, this office makes no representation that yours does. Insurance policies vary greatly in terms of patient eligibility, provider eligibility and percentage of coverage for acupuncture care. Because of the variance from one insurance policy to another, we require that you, the patient, be personally responsible for confirming eligibility and for the payment of any product or service fees not eligible for coverage.  It is your responsibility to research possibilities of any further reimbursement from your insurance company for any services or amounts denied.

Does Acupuncture Hurt?

The acupuncture treatments themselves typically do not hurt. Occasionally you will feel a pinching sensation as the needles are inserted, but most people do not feel anything. With the needles in place, you may feel pressure, tingling, aching, or a heavy sensation. This is called “de Qi” and is a desired response; it means your body is responding to the treatment and energy is moving. It is not expected to be uncomfortable or painful. If you do experience any pain or discomfort, advise your practitioner immediately, as your needles may need to be adjusted or removed.

Are There Any Side Effects to Acupuncture?

After an acupuncture treatment you will be advised to rest and drink extra water. Most people feel very relaxed and energized after an acupuncture treatment. On occasion you may experience a small bruise where a needle was inserted. This may present as an itching sensation after the needle is removed, and can be helped by applying pressure or ice for a few minutes after the treatment. If you experience any pain, large bruises, swelling, difficulty breathing, or dizziness after an acupuncture treatment, advise your practitioner or doctor immediately.

What Can I Expect from An Acupuncture Treatment?

You will meet with your practitioner for an in-depth conversation about your signs and symptoms and your comprehensive health history. You may be asked some questions about your diet, exercise, and lifestyle. Depending on your condition, your practitioner may ask you to lie down on a treatment table and any insertion sites will be cleaned with alcohol.  After inserting  the needles we leave you to rest for 15 to 30 minutes, but may return for occasional adjustment of the needles.  You may receive other treatments such as gua sha or moxibustion at the same time as acupuncture. Undressing is seldom necessary for acupuncture treatments but you should wear loose, comfortable clothes that provide easy access to your knees and elbows.

If you are receiving an herbal formula, your practitioner will explain the formula to you, ask you questions about food and medication allergies, and explain the different pricing options.

At the end of the treatment, your practioner will discuss your treatment plan, which includes any herbal formulas you may receive, nutritional advice, and the plan for your continuing acupuncture treatments.

Are There Any Reasons Why I Should Not Be Treated with Acupuncture?

While there are no contraindications to receiving acupuncture or other TCM treatment modalities, there may be certain conditions or circumstances that may prevent you from receiving a treatment today. Some conditions may mean that certain acupuncture points or treatments are cautioned or contraindicated, and your treatment plan will be adjusted accordingly. It is important to eat a small meal prior to your acupuncture treatment. If you have not eaten, your practitioner may require you to eat a snack prior to treatment.

If you are pregnant or think you may be pregnant, please notify your practitioner immediately. Most acupuncture points are safe to use during pregnancy, but there are a few points that are avoided as a precaution.

Are Herbal Prescriptions Safe? Can I Take Them with Other Medications? Can they be returned?

Chinese herbal formulas are specially formulated combinations of traditional herbs that are intended to compliment acupuncture treatments for most conditions. Chinese herbs can be plants, minerals, sea products, and animal products. Herbs come in pill form, powders that you mix with warm water and drink as tea, and raw herbs that you simmer in water and then drink as tea. Your practitioner will thoroughly explain any herbal formula you may receive, as well as any anticipated interactions with your medications. You should never discontinue doctor-prescribed medications without consulting your doctor.

Please advise your practitioner if you are vegan or vegetarian, and if you have any food/medication/environmental allergies or sensitivities.

You may be advised to utilize supplements, which may be purchased at our clinic or elsewhere. Please be aware that most insurance companies will NOT reimburse for these supplements. Items may be returned by prior authorization only. All products must have their safety seals intact and no markings on the containers. To be eligible for a return, your item must be unused and in the same condition that you received it. It must also be in the original packaging. Several types of items are exempt from being returned. Opened food products are not returnable. Perishable goods such as foods and herbs cannot be returned.

Are Acupuncture results guaranteed?

I do not expect the doctor to be able to anticipate and explain all possible risks and complications. I wish to rely on the doctor to exercise judgment during the course of the treatment which the doctor feels at the time, based upon the facts then known, is in my best interests. I understand that the results are not guaranteed.

Our complete Informed Consent to Treat can be found here.

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