FAQ

Browse the most frequently asked questions. If you do not find the answer you are looking for, please feel free to contact us. Click here to download your patient forms.

What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is the use of tiny needles to stimulate points on the body to repair and re-establish health. The movement of energy throughout the body is brought back into balance because of the micro-stimulation that these needles create.

What are the benefits of acupuncture? What conditions can it treat?

Acupuncture has been used for over 2000 years to effectively treat ailments from acne to more severe conditions like rheumatoid arthritis. Acupuncture treats most conditions and/or side effects of Western medicine. The benefits of acupuncture may include the following:

  • Alleviation of pain
  • An overall sense of improved well-being
  • Better sleep
  • Increased energy
  • Improved moods
  • Emotional balance
  • Feelings of peace and tranquility that help sharpen awareness throughout the body

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the National Institute of Health (NIH) released a report in 2003 titled “Acupuncture: Review and Analysis of Reports on Controlled Clinical Trials”. This report lists the conditions that have effectively been treated with acupuncture, which include but are not limited to:

  • acute and chronic gastritis
  • acute bacillary dysentery
  • acute epigastralgia
  • adverse reactions to radiation or chemotherapy
  • allergic rhinitis, including hay fever
  • biliary colic
  • correction of malposition of fetus (breech presentation)
  • dental pain
  • depression (including depressive neurosis and depression following stroke)
  • essential hypertension
  • facial pain (including craniomandibular disorders)
  • headache
  • induction of labor
  • knee pain
  • leucopenia
  • low back pain
  • morning sickness
  • nausea and vomiting
  • neck pain
  • peptic ulcer
  • periarthritis of the shoulder
  • postoperative pain
  • primary dysmenorrhea
  • primary hypotension
  • renal colic
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • sciatica
  • sprains
  • stroke
  • tempromandibular (TMJ) dysfunction
  • tennis elbow

Does acupuncture hurt?

Most find acupuncture very relaxing. Acupuncture needles are about the width of a human hair and insertion is usually painless. Occasionally, there may be some tingling, heaviness, or an electric sensation near the needle.

Is acupuncture safe?

Yes. All acupuncture needles are pre-packaged, sterile, and disposable. There is no risk of infection because used needles are safely disposed in a biohazard container.

Acupuncture is California State Board Certified.

Paola is a licensed acupuncturist with a Masters of Science Degree from the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine (ACTCM), and has over 10 years of experience in treating a variety of conditions.

How does acupuncture work?

Acupuncture is a form of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) in which a licensed practitioner gently inserts hair-thin needles into specific points on the body. Acupuncture is a holistic approach that examines all aspects of the body: physical, mental and emotional and how they function together. Acupuncture helps facilitate the body into balance and aids in directing Qi (chi) or vital energy to the areas it is needed throughout the body.

Do you use herbs? Can I take them with other medications?

Absolutely! Herbal supplements and acupuncture are complementary modalities which work together to provide optimal health and well-being. Paola may recommend specific herbal supplements or powders that are conveniently available for purchase at our office.

What can I expect during my first acupuncture treatment?

New patients should allow approximately 1-1.5 hours for their first visit. Treatment begins with an in-depth consultation in order to gain a holistic view of your medical history, current condition(s) and lifestyle.

Three diagnostic tools that are used in Chinese medicine include asking questions, examining the tongue and feeling the pulse. Once Paola gets a clearer picture of your ailments, the acupuncture treatment starts, which includes inserting hair-thin needles into the body. The insertion is usually painless, but can sometimes have a prickly or achy sensation. Needles are gently inserted into specific points on the body to balance one’s natural energy, which is known as Qi (pronounced chee).

Our acupuncture treatments sometimes include additional modalities, such as moxibustion – a form of heat therapy, cupping – suction therapy, or gua sha – a scraping technique used for pain.

Are there any forms I need to bring?

Yes! Once your initial visit is scheduled, we will email forms to you. Please complete these prior to your arrival if you can. If not, please come a few minutes before your visit to fill them out.

What should I wear?

You should wear loose-fitting/comfortable clothing. The most common acupuncture points are on the arms, hands, lower legs, feet and back. Pants that can be rolled up and short-sleeved shirts are great for easy access to the acupuncture points.

How should I prepare for my acupuncture treatment?

Make sure to eat a light meal and stay hydrated. Your treatment will be most comfortable if you are not too hungry or too full at the time of your visit.

Please also refrain from brushing your tongue 24 hours before your visit, as tongue diagnosis plays a key role in determining imbalances that we may want to treat. Please also stay away from dark sugary snacks and beverages, such as hard candies, soda, or anything else that may modify the color or coating of your tongue. We also recommend avoiding any caffeinated drinks in the hours that precede your treatment, as these can cause an inaccurate reading of your blood pressure and pulse.

We are an in-network provider with United Healthcare. If you are insured by United Healthcare, please bring your insurance card. For all other networks, we will provide you with a superbill, which is a medical receipt you can submit to your insurance company for possible reimbursement.

We accept cash, check, Visa, AmEx, and Mastercard. Payment is expected at the time of service. If you need to change your appointment, please give us at least 24 hours notice to avoid incurring a charge.

How will I feel after my acupuncture treatment?

People generally experience a relaxed sensation after their acupuncture treatment. Occasionally, patients may experience side effects such as slight dizziness, light headaches, sleepiness or bruising. Staying hydrated after treatment usually helps diminish any of these side effects. If you experience these sensations for longer than a short period of time, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Where should I park?

There are many garages in the area. Please refer to our Contact Page for more information. Street parking is available after 6pm on weekdays and metered parking is available on Saturdays.

What if I have to cancel my appointment?

If you need to cancel, please call, email, or cancel online at least 24 hours in advance to avoid incurring charges.

What is your cancellation policy?

We require 24 hour notice for all cancellations.

Appointments cancelled within 24 hours will incur the full cost of the appointment.

What is cupping?

Cupping is a type of suction therapy in which glass cups are placed on specific parts of the body to relieve pain and stimulate the flow of qi (energy). Cupping improves circulation, removes toxins, and alleviates pain by working with connective tissues.

What is Gua Sha?

Gua Sha is a traditional Chinese Medicine pain relief technique in which the patient’s skin (typically the back, shoulders, and neck) is stroked repeatedly with a ceramic spoon. This technique is also used to stimulate blood flow and relieve cold and flu symptoms.

What is moxibustion?

Moxibustion is a technique that involves heating Mugwort (artemesia vulgaris) which is the deepest penetrating herb in the Chinese Pharmacopoeia. It is highly effective in increasing blood circulation and can be used as an alternative to needles.

Do you accept insurance?

Yes. We are currently an in-network provider for United Healthcare. We are considered out of network for Aetna, Anthem, Blue Cross, Blue Shield and Cigna. We do provide superbills which are medical receipts insurance companies will accept as proof of service. Patients are encouraged to submit their superbills in order to qualify for possible reimbursement. Call your insurance company to check out of network acupuncture benefits.

How do I book an appointment?

You can book your appointment online, by phone: (415) 823-1796, or by email: info@pointoflifeacupuncture.com.

Do you offer gift certificates?

Our gift certificates make great gifts for both current patients or anyone who is interested in health and well-being through acupuncture. Please email info@pointoflifeacupuncture.com to inquire about gift certificates for friends and family!

Do you offer discounts on multiple treatments?

Absolutely! Point of Life Acupuncture offers our patients the following acupuncture treatment packages:

  • 5 treatments: $550 ($110/treatment)
  • 10 treatments: $1050 ($105/treatment)