Alternative Holistic Therapies
Policies / General
What conditions can be treated by acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine?
Acupuncture is a safe, natural, effective and non-invasive form of medicine that can treat a wide variety of disorders. The National Institutes of Health and World Health Organization recognize that acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine are effective in treating and alleviating dozens of health conditions.
The conditions seen and reported by acupuncturists in the U.S. range from: sciatica, low back pain, bursitis, acute muscular strain, tendonitis, migraine, tension headaches, insomnia, allergic rhinitis, bronchitis, pre-menstrual syndrome, immune disorders, sinus infections, pain from fractures, osteoporosis, muscular atrophy, myocardial infarction, Raynaud’s syndrome, cranial nerve disorders, hyperactivity, attention deficit syndrome, encephalopathy, head injury, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, cardiac murmur, pneumonia, asthma, emphysema, alopecia, appendicitis, ulcers, hernias, hemorrhoids, parasitic infections, kidney infections, bladder infection, infertility, prostate disorder, obesity, pituitary disorder, diabetes, ear infection, measles, mumps, chicken pox, whooping cough, HIV infection, and chemotherapy side effects.
Additionally, acupuncture has been used to help people with the following conditions/concerns:
Addictions (use concurrently with other treatment(s) for addiction)
Anxiety, Stress Reduction & Depression
Insomnia and Sleep Disturbances
Women’s Health Including: Fertility, Menopausal Symptoms (Hot Flashes, Night Sweats), Menstrual Irregularities, Menstrual Pain, PMS, Pregnancy Support and Symptoms (Morning Sickness, Labor Induction)
Chronic Fatigue, Fibromyalgia and Myofascial Pain Syndrome
Pain and Injuries of Musculoskeletal System Including: Low Back Pain, Neck Pain, Ankle Pain, Carpal Tunnel, Elbow Pain, Hip Pain, Sacral Pain, Sciatica, Shoulder Pain, Whiplash, Bursitis And Tendonitis
Arthritic Pain Including: Osteoarthritis, Psoriatic Arthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis
Digestive Disorders Including: Acid Reflux, Bloating, Constipation, Crohn’s Disease, Diarrhea, Gas, GERD, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Nausea, Abdominal Pain and Ulcerative Colitis
Headaches and Migraines
Immunity Boost: Common Cold Relief and Prevention
Hypertension, High Blood Pressure
Respiratory Disorders Including Allergies, Asthma, Bronchitis, COPD and Sinusitis
Acupuncture has been used to help patients with:
Congestive Heart Failure
Hypo and Hyperthyroidism
Cancer Care – before and after Chemotherapy
What is an acupuncturists training?
At Acupuncture Connections all of our Acupuncturists are licensed by the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine. The requirements to become a licensed acupuncturist in the state of Massachusetts are extensive. This includes a minimum of 3 years post-graduate studies in Acupuncture at a school that is recognized by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM). In addition, Massachusetts Licensed Acupuncturist have over 1,000 hours of clinical experience including hundreds of hours of hands-on clinical training.
Are there different types of acupuncture?
Acupuncture originates in China, but as its expanded around the world, many different styles have arisen. All of the practitioners here have training in both Chinese and Japanese acupuncture, auricular (ear) acupuncture, and advanced training in Dr. Tan’s Balance Method and Tong style of acupuncture. Here in our clinic we practice a combination of distal type needling, meaning that treat away from the local affected area, but instead use adjacent points on the body to heal that area. This style is extremely effective and treatment points are accessible by only rolling up sleeves and pant legs.
Does acupuncture hurt?
Acupuncture needles are extremely thin and generally do not hurt when they are inserted. However since they are still needles you may feel a small pinch when they go in which should quickly subside. If a point continues to hurt, tell your practitioner so that they can adjust or remove the needle. Our practitioners generally use guide tubes during needles insertions. Since all of your pain receptors are directly below the skin, the use of these tubes will help to quickly bypass the pain receptors making a pain free insertion much more likely.
How many needles do you use?
Treatments vary based upon your condition and the style of acupuncture used. We always strive to have our treatments be as few needles as is necessary to achieve the results we are focused on for the patient. This can allow for a range from as few as 2 needles to as many as 12+. Typical treatments use about 8-10 needles.
Is it safe? Do you use sterilized needles?
Yes, our needles are sterile, used only once, and properly disposed – we never reuse needles. Acupuncture Connections uses FDA-approved, single-use needles that have been sterilized by the manufacturer prior to packaging. After your treatment, the needles are disposed of in a “Sharps” medical waste disposal container. All of our acupuncturists are nationally certified in Clean Needle Technique by the CCAOM (Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine). CCAOM is the only national organization that certifies practitioners in Clean Needle Technique for acupuncture. Clean Needle Technique is the standard way in which acupuncture is practiced in order to keep patients and practitioners safe.
What is the Acugraph and what can it teach me about my health?
AcuGraph is a digital meridian imaging system that is used to analyze and document the energetic status of your acupuncture meridians. It provides us with another measure to help see how to focus our treatments to achieve the best possible results. This along with more traditional methods of diagnosis can give us a very clear picture of your state of health as well as how we are progressing along the way.
What should I wear for my treatments?
You should wear something comfortable (e.g. sweatpants, a comfortable T-shirt, shorts, etc.) for your acupuncture appointment. Please refrain from wearing make-up, perfumes/colognes, and try to avoid eating or drinking anything that stains the tongue before your visit. We will typically ask that bracelets and watches be removed, so you may want to keep jewelry to a minimum. Most of the points are from the knees and elbows down, so make sure to have pants and sleeves that can roll up easily.
How do I prepare for my treatment?
Try to arrive about 15 minutes early for a treatment so that you are not rushed getting here. It is best to avoid vigorous exercise before acupuncture and have a light meal prior to your appointment. You should also try to avoid caffeine before treatments.
How can I get the greatest benefit from acupuncture?
To achieve the greatest benefits, it is important to follow a consistent treatment plan that your acupuncturist will develop specifically for you and with you. The treatment plan will be outlined at your third visit and refined at each progress appointment as your acupuncturist observes your response to care. The treatment plan will encompass your presenting symptoms along with both your short term and long term goals.
Another one of the ways to reap the most benefit from your care, is to prioritize your self-care and make the suggested adjustments to diet, exercise, stress management etc. The people we’ve seen we’ve the most life changing results in the clinic, are the ones who were really ready to shift the lifestyle practices that contributed to their health issues in the first place. Acupuncture is not a quick fix, and it’s only through focusing on all areas of your health and wellness, that lasting change will occur.
Taking our wellness workshops is our suggested route to gaining the inspiration to change your life and health from the inside out!
Can I benefit from acupuncture without having any health problems, pain, or symptoms?
YES! The ideal way to use this medicine is to prevent symptoms and imbalances BEFORE they arrive. The difference between therapy is that when you have persistent symptoms – often acupuncture therapy is required. When you are symptom free regular wellness acupuncture optimizing your body and resets your systems to handle the stress and strains that you put on it daily.
How do I schedule my appointments?
Click here to access our online scheduling, or call us at (508) 687-0629
It is best to schedule several visits in advance to hold your favorite appointment times. You should try your best to stay on the plan given to you by your practitioner and book out the progress appointments with the front desk well in advance, since they require more time. Progress appointments cannot be scheduled on-line.
If you need to cancel appointments we ask that you give at least 24 hour notice so that we may give that time to other patients. Be sure to reschedule promptly to ensure that you’re achieving your health goals.
How many treatments do I need?
Acupuncture has a cumulative effect, so the amount of treatments has a lot to do with what each persons health history is and the severity of symptoms. That being said, the first two months of treatment are usually a relief stage of treatment and patients general come 2-3 times/week during that time. As they shift into corrective and wellness stages of care, the treatment frequency will gradually become less frequent. We do encourage everyone to do regular acupuncture as a way of staying well and caring for the body.
Do I have to do acupuncture forever for my condition?
Once an individual is symptom-free, it can be beneficial to establish a plan to maintain good health.
We strongly believe that yes, you will need acupuncture forever, but not for the reason you came in for. Acupuncture is a powerful medicine for helping the body heal itself and to stay well. Coming in weekly for acupuncture can keep the body vibrant and strong so that you are counteracting stress along the way, instead of letting symptoms and pain build up in the body.
Where do you put the needles?
If you’ve had acupuncture in a private setting, our treatments may be a little different. Here we have advanced training in distal needling techniques so that the points are mainly place on the arms and legs, but also sometimes in ears or on the scalp. These points are extremely effective, and often yield even better results that placing a needle locally to the affected area. Because of this, you will not need to disrobe for treatments, but should simply wear comfortable loose fitted clothing.
How long is a treatment?
The initial three treatments and progress appointment are usually 1 1/2 hours long because they include an acugraph and more consult time, plus a treatment. Follow-up visits are 1 hour, with a quiet check-in at the chair and about 40 minutes of time with your needles in.
What age groups do you treat?
Everyone can benefit from acupuncture, and at Acupuncture Connections we offer our services to people of all ages. Children under the age of 18 must receive written consent from their parent or guardian. The Acupuncturist will determine if the child under 18 years of age is mature enough to receive a treatment with needles. Generally, children older than 7 years of age may be treated in the group room – treatment for these patients is made on a case by case basis. Please check with your practitioner to decide if your child can be treated.
What should I do while receiving acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a rare opportunity to ‘unplug’ and relax. No need to do anything but lay in the chair and enjoy some peace. Some people like bring headphone and listen to their own music, book or guided meditation if laying quietly is challenging. All of those are fine as long as it is calming to you.
What should I expect AFTER the treatment?
Energy levels: In the first few visits a patient can feel either an increase or a decrease in energy. Both are normal as the body adjusts to the improved blood flow that occurs through acupuncture.
Soreness: Soreness at the area of needle insertion is normal. It is only temporary and will pass. Gentle range of motion stretches and keeping the area warm should alleviate minor soreness in a few hours.
Bruising: Any therapy that breaks the surface of the skin can produce minor bleeding. Bruising happens occasionally with patients, especially as we get older due to reduced circulation. As your treatments progress, bruising should become less frequent as your circulation improves.
Healing Reactions: It can sometimes happen that the body discharges toxins and waste products faster than normal due to acupuncture. This is normal and is a sign that the body is improving
Return of your Symptoms: When pain or symptoms relief happen from a treatment, we want that result to last. However, these symptoms did not happen overnight, and so the pattern that the body is in may be resistant to change. Symptoms generally do return, but as your treatments progress, the effects will start to last longer, until a new pattern for the body sets in. Be patient with change and try not to over-do activities when you are feeling good. This can exacerbate the symptoms and set back our progress. Try to be patient with the process, lasting change takes time and can often start slowly.
Is there anything I should do after a treatment?
After a treatment, it is a very good idea to drink plenty of water and try to ease slowly back into your day. There is nothing special you need to do, but it is a great idea to pay close attention to how the acupuncture has affected you so that you can give feedback to the practitioners about how the treatments are working.
Are there any side effects to acupuncture?
Acupuncture is safe and effective, and rarely are there any “side-effects”. At most a small bruise could develop. This may occasionally occur and if you have any concerns, please talk to your practitioner
Is acupuncture effective? Is there any scientific basis to acupuncture?
The NIH (National Institute of Health) has recognized acupuncture as effective for many different health conditions. So now that western medicine is seeing that this medicine works, they have more incentives to study why and how it works. Many research studies are being done to show just how acupuncture works in the body and there are many functional, hormonal and neurological effects. Below is a link showing some of their findings: https://nccih.nih.gov/health/acupuncture
What is cupping?
Cupping is an ancient Chinese method of creating local blood congestion at a site which then stimulates healing in the area. Newer tools and techniques have made cupping easy and safe to use. Cups have a nozzle that attaches to a small pump that is used to create a vacuum. Your acupuncturist simply places small glass cups onto your skin in the area being treated. They then use the pump to create a partial vacuum.
Cupping draws up the underlying tissues. The cup is left in place on the skin for 5-15 minutes.
Cupping therapy is said to open the ‘Meridians’ of the body. Meridians are the conduits within each of us through which energy flows to reach every part of the body, its organs and tissues. Opening the flow of energy, or increasing the circulation, in the body strengthens its ability to heal.
Cupping is used for low backache, sprains, soft tissue injuries, and helping relieve fluid from the lungs for chest congestion or chronic bronchitis, in addition to alleviating menstrual and digestive problems.
Does cupping hurt?
Patients report that the sensation during treatment simply feels as if something or someone is tugging at their skin. It can have the sensation of a deep massage. Even though this can feel somewhat uncomfortable, most people find it very relaxing and not at all painful.
Is cupping safe?
Yes cupping is very safe, the only side-effect is that there will be what looks like circular bruises where the cupping was done.
Should I do anything AFTER cupping?
It is best to keep the area covered and free from drafts and drink a lot of water.
Do you use Chinese herbs in your practice?
Here at Acupuncture Connections we use patent herbal formulas that may be prescribed to take while receiving acupuncture. Patents are very easy to take because they come in capsule or tablet form as opposed to cooking raw herbs or drinking powders. Since herbs often need to be taken over the course of months, this greatly enhances compliance with taking the herbs regularly, leading to better overall results.
Chinese herbs combine synergistically with acupuncture and have been safely used for over 2500 years to accelerate the healing process. The companies we use offer the highest quality ingredients and products are subject to stringent safety testing, they are FDA and GMP compliant. Like acupuncture, herbs work best when taken consistently at the recommended dose. Any recommended dietary supplements are based on modern research and we stock only the highest quality brands.
What do you expect of me?
Please arrive on time to allow yourself an opportunity to relax, or perhaps arrive early and enjoy a cup of tea or glass of water. We ask that you avoid wearing colognes or perfumes as many of our patients have sensitivities to odors. When you are in the treatment area we ask that you speak in a quiet voice to ensure that everyone is enjoying their experience.
Make sure to turn off your cell phone and refrain from talking on the phone in the waiting room. It is our hope that your treatment begins the moment you walk into our office.
Remember to dress in loose fitting clothing – or bring along a pair of shorts to ensure that you are comfortable for your treatment.
We also would like your feedback! Let your acupuncturist know how you are feeling and let all of us know what your experience is like at Acupuncture Connections. Okay, and tell your friends and family too!
We ask that if you need to cancel or reschedule that you give us 24 hours notice (see cancellation policy) or if you’re running late to give us a call.
What forms of payment do you accept?
Cash, checks and credit cards (except American Express) are accepted, as well as FSA/HSA cards. There is a fee of $30 for returned checks.
What is your cancellation policy?
All appointments that are canceled with less than 24 hours notice, or are missed without notifying our office, will be charged one session from your treatment package or membership.
Does health insurance pay for acupuncture?
Some insurance companies are now covering acupuncture sessions. It is important to check with your policy on your specific coverage. However, we do not bill insurance companies. If you have insurance that covers acupuncture, we will be happy to give you a payment receipt to submit to your insurance company for reimbursement. Please note: we are not medical doctors (MD’s) therefore we do not provide ICD-10 codes, we will provide to you an acupuncture procedure code.