What is acupuncture and how does it work?

Acupuncture is the stimulation of specific points and meridians on the body by insertion of thin, sterile, stainless steel needles to elicit a physiological response. A meridian is a pathway that is associated with and influences specific nerves, blood vessels, tendons, muscles, and organs. Acupuncture needles can relieve pain by stimulating the nervous system, promoting blood circulation, and relieving muscle tension. Acupuncture can treat internal disorders by balancing the autonomic nervous system to enhance organ function and regulate breathing, heart rate, and hormone production. Overall, these mechanisms promote healing and homeostasis in the body. The specific point selection directs these mechanisms to certain body parts or organ systems.

How do I know if acupuncture can treat my condition?

Acupuncture and Chinese medicine do not treat western diseases per se; they treat individuals based on patterns of disharmony. Theoretically, any condition can be addressed because the practitioner will identity those patterns and aim to balance them. However, there are a few individuals and situations in which acupuncture would not be ideal. Upon first meeting with Dr. Gaffney, she will let you know if your condition is outside of her expertise and will then refer you to the next best option. Note – acupuncture is not appropriate for acute severe pain that has not been examined by an MD.

Does acupuncture hurt?

Acupuncture doesn’t necessarily hurt, but can feel uncomfortable. The first second the needle is inserted, you will feel a pricking sensation, you are of course breaking the skin. But it is good to keep in mind that the needles are very thin, about 1/20th the size of a hypodermic needle. Once you are resting on the table with the needles in, you may feel many different sensations such as movement, tingling, heat, pressure. This is called Qi sensation, its a good thing, things are moving. If ever the needle feels sharp or painful, let the practitioner know and she can remove it.

Do you accept insurance?

No, Katie does not bill insurance, but she is happy to provide you with a “super bill” that you can submit to your insurance for reimbursement which will include fees paid and insurance billing codes. Check with your insurance provider for coverage details.

What should I expect during my treatments?

Katie will perform a full intake including a current and past health assessment, pulse and tongue diagnosis, any necessary orthopedic testing, and basic vitals. A diagnosis and treatment plan will be discussed. Acupuncture will then be performed and typically you will rest on the table with the needles in for about 20-30 mins. Dietary and other recommendations will be given and herbal formulas will be prescribed. Payment is accepted in the form of cash, credit/debit cards, or check.

What should I bring to my appointment?

Please bring a list of your current western medications and any supplements, recent blood work results, and the reports for any recent imaging tests (MRI, x-ray, CT scan).

How long should I expect to need treatments?

Treatment time is different for everyone and depends on how well you respond to treatment and the severity of the condition. Some people get relief right away, others need years of treatment. Katie recommends about 6 treatments before you decide how acupuncture is working for you. There is a saying in the TCM community that as a general rule of thumb, for every year a condition has been going on, it takes a month to overcome it.

What is "dry needling"?

“Dry needling” is acupuncture illegally performed by a non-acupuncturist, such as a physical therapist or a chiropractor who has not had the same rigorous training and testing as a licensed acupuncturist. These professions call acupuncture by another name to get around licensing laws. For your safety, please always check credentials and only get needled by a licensed acupuncturist.

How can I verify my acupuncturist is licensed?

In NV, visit the NV State Board of Oriental Medicine website: http://orientalmedicine.nv.gov/
In CA, visit the Department of Consumer Affairs website: http://www.acupuncture.ca.gov/

Katie Gaffney’s NV license # is 2008 and her CA license # is 16436. Please feel free to check the websites to verify that her licenses are in good standing.