Can I receive TCM treatment in conjunction with Western medical treatment?

Yes, absolutely. Acupuncture helps your body help itself, and will not induce negative reactions to other medical treatments you are undergoing. I.e. in China, usually one wing of the hospital will be used for acupuncture and herbal medicine, and another wing will be used for Western medical treatment.

Does acupuncture hurt?

Acupuncture needles are 25-50 times thinner than, i.e. sowing needles, and are equal in diameter to a thick strand of hair. It is not uncommon that you should feel a little prick the moment the needle penetrates the surface of the skin, but usually the acupuncturist’s technique will be such that you will experience a minimum of discomfort. Many people are surprised by how little pain they actually experience during their treatment.

How deep do the needles go?

Most acupuncture points are located directly underneath the surface of the skin. The depth of the needle’s penetration will depend on the condition being treated, the patient’s size, age and constitution. Normal practice is to penetrate the needle to about 0.25-0.5 cm deep. Usually you will not feel the needle’s presence after it has passed through the surface of the skin. The amount of needles used during treatment varies depending on the diagnosis of each individual patient.

What can I expect at my first treatment session?

During your first session, the practitioner will ask you questions about your medical history, note, amongst other things, your symptoms, how long they have lasted, your lifestyle and psyche. We need to form as succinct a picture of your overall health as possible in order to construct an ideal treatment program. It is also important that you inform us of any medications you are taking, whether you intend to undergo additional forms of treatment at the same period of time as your acupuncture treatment, and other relevant information.

How many treatment sessions will I need?

The duration of, and amount of, sessions needed is highly individual. A consultation with a practitioner will vary in duration from 30 to 60 minutes. It is customary to follow this up with one to two treatment sessions a week. As a general rule, acute symptoms need fewer sessions than chronic. There are those that respond immediately to the treatment, but most need a couple of sessions before they can feel any change in their experience of symptoms.

Why does acupuncture work?

Needles are inserted into specific acupuncture points so as to increase the flow of Qi (energy) through one of the meridians, in order to change the balance of energy within the body. Many studies have been conducted, but one has yet to understand why acupuncture works within the framework set up by Western medical research. It has been suggested that acupuncture works through stimulation of the nervous system, thus increasing the release of pain reducing bio chemicals such as endorphins and immune system cells in specific localities of the body.  Also, studies have shown that acupuncture can alter the chemical constitution of the brain, through changes made to the release of neurotransmitters and neurohormones, thus affecting the central nervous system. This can be demonstrated through acupuncture treatment affecting blood pressure, blood flow and body temperature.

What is of importance is that acupuncture does work, and that there are rarely any side-effects to the treatment.

Is acupuncture safe?

In our clinic we use, in accordance with Akupunkturforeningen, sterile disposable needles exclusively. If you are a blood-donor you will be obligated to inform the hospital’s donor facility that you are receiving acupuncture treatment, and they will most likely give you a form for us to fill in where we confirm that we only use disposable needles.

Are there any side-effects?

A side-effect that we often see in our clinic is that the initial symptoms will worsen some after your first or second treatment session. Other side-effects that can occur are changes in appetite, sleep pattern, frequency of urination or defecation, as well as emotional reactions. These are only indications that the treatment is taking effect and has set the energies within your body in motion. It can be explained like this: Acupuncture evens out blocked Qi (energy) within your body. When you have a pinched loop on your garden hose the water will stop flowing. The moment you straighten the loop, the pressure that has been built up in the hose will make the water gush out initially and then resume its regular steady flow after a short while. This can explain what happens when you first start receiving acupuncture treatment.

It is also not unusual that you should feel very relaxed, maybe even to the point of slight disorientation, immediately after your session. This will normally subside after a little while.

Does Trygdekassen refund acupuncture treatment?

Acupuncture treatment gives no rights to a refund through Trygdekassen.

NAV says:

“There is no cover from folketrygden for this treatment. If it is uncovered that a combination of physiotherapy and acupuncture has occurred at Trygdekassen’s expense, this will result in a reduction in your settlement and possibly other stricter reactions.” (NAV, July 2007)