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Does my health insurance cover acupuncture and massage treatment?

Many major health insurance policies and plans cover acupuncture and massage treatments. We are a provider for many major insurance companies. If your plan covers acupuncture, we can file insurance claims for you. If you are not sure about your coverage, we can check whether your plan includes our services and file out-of-network claims for you.

If you would like us to contact your insurance company to verify your benefits, please call us at (204) 946-5970 or e-mail us with the following information.

1) patient's name

2) patient's date of birth

3) patient's phone number

4) patient's major reason for treatment

5) name of insurance company

6) customer service phone number for insurance company

7) insurance policy ID number

8) insurance policy group number

Frequently Asked Questions

What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is one of the oldest, most commonly used medical procedures in the world. Originated in China more than several thousand years ago, acupuncture is getting more and more popular in Canada. Acupuncture is a medical procedure involving stimulation of anatomical points (called acupoints) on the body by a variety of techniques. The acupuncture technique that has been most studied scientifically involves penetrating the skin with thin, solid, metallic, hair-thin needles that are manipulated by hands or by electrical stimulation.

Is acupuncture safe?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved acupuncture needles for use by licensed practitioners in 1996. The FDA requires that sterile, nontoxic needles be used and that they be labelled for single use by qualified practitioners only. Very few complications from the use of acupuncture have been reported to the FDA. Practitioners should use a new set of disposable needles taken from a sealed package for each patient and should swab treatment sites with alcohol or another disinfectant before inserting needles. Only sterile disposable needles are used in our clinic.

Is acupuncture painful?

When people talk about needles, they think of needles used by nurses for injection. In the case of acupuncture, the needles that are used are drastically different (in a good way). Acupuncture needles are metallic, solid and hair-thin. If your treatment is provided by an experienced acupuncturist, you feel little or no pain. So you never have to worry about pain at our clinic.

Are the needles clean?

Only sterilized, individually packaged, disposable needles are allowed to use by licensed acupuncturists according to FDA requirement. This eliminates the possibility of transmitting a communicable disease by a contaminated needle.

What does acupuncture feel like?

People experience acupuncture differently, but most feel no or minimal pain as the needles are inserted. Some people are energized by treatment, while others feel relaxed. Improper needle placement, movement of the patient or a defect in the needle can cause soreness and pain during treatment.

How might acupuncture work?

Practitioners of Chinese Medicine seek to promote or restore health by diagnosing and treating "disharmonies" or "imbalances" in the Qi, or vital energy of the body. In the Chinese Medicine system, the body is seen as a delicate balance of two opposing and inseparable forces: yin and yang. Yin represents the cold, slow or passive principle, while yang represents the hot, excited or active principle. Among the major assumptions in TCM are that health is achieved by maintaining the body in a "balanced state" and that disease is due to an internal imbalance of yin and yang. This imbalance leads to blockage in the flow Qi (vital energy) along pathways known as meridians. It is believed that there are 12 main meridians and 8 secondary meridians and that there are more than 2,000 acupuncture points on the human body that connect with the meridians.

Acupuncture produces its effects through regulating the nervous system, thus aiding the activity of pain-killing biochemicals such as endorphins and immune system cells at specific sites in the body. In addition, studies have shown that acupuncture may alter brain chemistry by changing the release of neurotransmitters and neurohormones, thus affecting the parts of the central nervous system related to sensation and involuntary body functions, such as immune reactions and processes that regulate a person's blood pressure, blood flow and body temperature.

How many treatments are needed?

The number of treatments necessary depends on a whole host of factors relating to the specific individual. For example, the duration of the illness, general state of energy, constitution and lifestyle are all taken into consideration. Generally speaking, the more acute the disease, the sooner it will respond to treatment, although there are instances where acupuncture has brought quick relief to many chronic problems. The initial treatments will usually be twice a week and their frequency will be decreased as the person progresses, to once a week, twice a month etc., until there is only need for an occasional preventative check-up.

What can I expect during my first visit?

During your first office visit, the practitioner will ask you about your health condition, lifestyle and behaviour; she will also look at your face and tongue, as well as take your pulse. The practitioner will want to obtain a complete picture of your treatment needs and behaviours that may contribute to your condition. Inform the acupuncturist about all treatments or medications you are taking and all medical conditions you have. After the practitioner takes all the information from you, she will make a TCM diagnosis, then start the first treatment. It will take about an hour for your first visit and treatment.

What are Chinese herbs?

Chinese people have been using natural herbs to treat a wide variety of diseases and conditions. The use of these herbs have progressed to become a discipline called Chinese herbal medicine, and the components include roots, bark, flowers, seeds, fruits, leaves and branches of plants. Chinese herbal medicine is one of most important aspects of Traditional Chinese Medicine. There are over 6,000 different herbs that can be used for medicinal purposes, around 200 to 300 of them are commonly used. The term "herbal" medicine is actually not quite correct. Although about 90% of the medicinal substances used are of plant origin, another 10 % are derived from minerals. Chinese "Materia Medica" lists a total of 5,767 substances.

How are Chinese herbs being taken?

The classic way of ingesting Chinese herbs is to make a decoction from raw dried materials. This means that the herbs are cooked at a low boil for a long time and then drunk as a tea. It is very inconvenient and most Americans do not enjoy the process. Since 1990's, Chinese scientists have developed a more desirable form of herbal medicine called "scientific herbs". The active ingredients of herbs are isolated and concentrated as powders. Each single herb is isolated individually and packed in a single bottle. They are prepared by Chinese pharmaceutical companies and have better effects than the raw herb. All you need to do is put the powder in a cup, mix it in hot water and drink it like a tea.

How are the right herbs selected?

Chinese herbal medicine is prescribed according to TCM diagnosis. The practitioner will take a thorough health history, ask questions regarding all body functions, feel the wrist pulse, look at the tongue and palpate certain body areas to make a clear diagnosis. The herbs will be selected according to the diagnosis and Chinese Medicine theory.

Are Chinese herbs toxic and do they have side effects?

Most of the components of Chinese herbal medicine have a very low toxicity compared to OTC Western drugs. When they are prescribed according to a correct TCM pattern diagnosis, they should have few, if any, side effects; while having only beneficial healing results. Toxic parts of plants are removed or processed to eliminate toxicity. Herbs with potential side effects are combined appropriately and given in small doses only. The most common side effect may be some bloating because of the cloying nature of tonic herbs. This can easily be corrected by adding digestive herbs into the prescription. If you experience any discomfort while taking Chinese herbal medicine, tell your practitioner.

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