What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a system of complementary medicine that involves puncturing the skin with solid, hair-thin, sterile, single-use, disposable needles. It is used to alleviate pain and to treat many different physical, mental, and emotional conditions. It has been used as a modality of healthcare throughout Asia for more than two thousand years to treat a variety of ailments, such as menstrual irregularities, acute injuries, chronic pain, chronic diseases, and psychiatric disorders. Today in North America and Western Europe, the scientific basis and understanding of acupuncture is growing and gaining more appreciation for its capabilities than ever before. 

How does Acupuncture work?

According to traditional Chinese medical theory, acupuncture works by balancing the life energy, or qi (chee), that flows through the body. It can be influenced by stimulating particular points on the body in combination, which are located on channels of energy known as meridians. These meridians connect all of the major organs and extend to the tips of the limbs. When qi is not flowing properly through the channels or is blocked,illness or pain may arise. Acupuncture is then used to restore the proper flow of qi, as well as increase blood circulation, reduce inflammation, and stop pain.

How does acupuncture affect hormones and endorphins?

According to modern scientific research, acupuncture points are areas of specific electrical sensitivity. By inserting needles into these points, particular sensory receptors are stimulated and signals are sent to the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA axis), which is located at the base of the brain and the adrenal glands (near the kidneys). The HPA axis is a neuroendocrine system that governs reactions to stress and regulates many body processes (digestion, immune response, sleep, mood, emotions, sexuality, and how the body's energy is used). The HPA axis is in charge of releasing endorphins (natural pain killers), neurotransmitters (epinephrine, norepinephrine, serotonin, dopamine, etc.) and hormones (cortisol, prostaglandins, thyroid hormone, melatonin, estrogen, progesterone, etc). The neurochemicals that are released during acupuncture not only relieve pain and relax the body, but  additionally affect mood, contributing to acupuncture's amazing
ffects on mood disorders, such as depression and anxiety. 

What happens where a needle is inserted?

Locally near the needle insertion site, a myriad of chemicals are released, such as white blood cells, prostaglandins, red blood cells, serotonin, and pain modulators (substance P, glutamate). All of these chemicals work together to heal local tissue. By creating a micro-trauma, the body's healing energy is focused to the area of pain to induce a quicker and more efficient healing response.

As a new patient, during your first treatment you can expect a thorough intake and examination regarding your chief complaint. Your appointment is typically one hour in length, and during that hour, your acupuncturist will ask you a series of questions that will help determine a diagnosis and treatment plan. You will then have needles inserted into various acupoints, after which you will be able to sink into deep relaxation for 30-40 minutes to allow acupuncture's effects to go to work. Depending on your chief complaint, other modalities may be included in your treatment, as well as an herbal formula prescription.

What can I expect during my first treatment?

The amount of treatments required varies greatly on what the condition being treated is. Generally, acute musculoskeletal disorders have a quicker healing time, ranging from 3 visits to 10. Other disorders, such as hormonal imbalances, sleep disorders, menstrual disorders, emotional disorders, digestive disorders, etc., require a longer treatment plan, and will be discussed during your first visit. 

How many treatments will I need?

Yes! Dahms Acupuncture accepts personal injury cases and is in-network with Blue Shield of California PPO, United Healthcare, Premara Blue Cross, California Schools VEBA, Easy Choice Health Plan, Sutter Health Plus, and Spring Hill School-The Advanced Elementary School. We are also able to bill for all out-of-network PPO plans. However, we do not accept Medicare or Medical as acupuncture is not approved. If you would like to see if your insurance plan includes acupuncture, please go to the Patient Info tab and enter your insurance information to find out.

Do you accept insurance and personal injury (auto accident/slips and falls)?

Yes. Please inform your acupuncturist that you will be paying with an FSA or HSA card, and they will provide you with a bill to present to the proper entity. Payment is due at the time of treatment. 

Can I use my FSA or HSA to pay for services?